Learn to play Duelling Banjos

Duelling banjos is the most well known tune on the five-string banjo.  It was featured in the film ‘Deliverance’ and it sounds good with just a banjo and a guitar or you can play it with a whole band.  It’s possible to make an arrangement with just the one banjo but it’s more fun if you can play with someone else and bounce the phrases back and forth, duelling.

Left Hand Fingering

Dueling-Banjos-Left-Hand-Fingering

The Arrangement

The arrangement is a little more complicated than Cripple Creek – there are four short pieces of music that are played round slowly first, then a fast piece and finally you have to play the four short pieces again fast.  The four short pieces are called – the G/C/G strum – the opening lick – the walk up and down – the Yankee Doodle lick.  You can learn to play these pieces in any order you like.

This free instruction video shows you how to play the walk up and down part, which is a good place to start.  This piece needs to be played three different ways, in G, in C, and in D. In this video we only look at playing it in G.

 

Audio Practice Loops

There are five different audio loops for you to practice with.  The slowest is a molasses-like 20bpm and the fastest is at 72bpm, which is the same speed as the Cripple Creek video backing track you can find on another page.  Find the speed which suits you best and once you can play the walk up and down part several times round accurately, try going to the next faster speed.

 

Duelling Banjos Walk Up and Down 20bpm

Duelling Banjos Walk Up and Down 30bpm

Duelling Banjos Walk Up and Down 40bpm

Duelling Banjos Walk Up and Down 60bpm

Duelling Banjos Walk Up and Down 72bpm

learn the rest of Dueling banjos