Watch the Banjo Rolls online guitar lesson by Brooks Robertson from Fingerstyle Survival Guide

Banjo rolls are right hand patterns often used by banjo players and guitar players in a variety of styles. This is the right hand part of the equation in swarming runs and chromatic licks ascending or descending across the strings. It’s good to begin memorizing a few basic patterns using thumb, index and middle fingers. Start with three or four strings in a group, then once you feel comfortable with the basic pattern experiment with moving the banjo roll across different groups of strings.

Combining banjo rolls with all kinds of progressions using different chord voicing can create a nice sound whether it be textural, melodic or rhythmic. Experiment with the chord form inversions on the top four strings combined with some of these banjo roll techniques. Just as you saw with the picking patterns, there are nearly endless variations you could come up with. You can hear this technique in use by Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins and many of the greats.