Watch the Think Bass online guitar lesson by Matthieu Brandt from Modern Mountain Banjo: Clawhammer & Up-Picking

One very basic approach to arranging a banjo part for a tune is to think like a bass player. In many settings, chopping full chords on a banjo in clawhammer style or Pete Seeger up picking just doesn't work. If there's a guitar player, or a dobro or mandolin player, then that will be their job. But since you can't play the melody or solo throughout the song, you need a different tool.

Playing bass lines, and adding additional chord tones and occasional fills is the way to go. In this next example, I'll show you this approach in two choruses of a bluegrass type song. The first chorus will be very basic, the second one a little thicker. We're in the key of C and the banjo is tuned to C major, so CGCE with pedal G.