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So now let’s learn some more rolls. Rolls are really important to the banjo (Demonstration). The rolls we’ve played so far are what I like to call simple rolls, they fir into a measure. There are eight notes in a measure (Demonstration) one, two, four, five, six, seven, eight. Both of those rolls fit right in to a measure.
One of the most important roles on the banjo that was the forward roll (Demonstration). It doesn’t fit evenly in the measure because it is just playing the three notes of three fingers in a row and then repeating it (Demonstration). Let’s play a forward roll on the fifth string, that third string and the first string (Demonstration). The backward roll is just the same strings but we’re gonna play this on the same fingers in the opposite directions. Instead of thumb, one, two, thumb, one, two which is a forward roll the backward roll is two, one, thumb, two, one, thumb (Demonstration). It does not matter what finger you start on. We can start on a thumb (Demonstration) and still go backward. We can start on the middle finger of the first string and go forward (Demonstration).
I’m gonna give you an exercise to try. It is really a triplet exercise it’s just to get control over your fingers in a roll. We’re gonna play a forward roll we’re gonna make the first note louder and the second two quieter (Demonstration). We’ll start on each finger (Demonstration). We can do this on the backward rolls as well (Demonstration). The hard part actually isn’t playing the loud one louder it is to play the two quiet ones evenly—equally quiet. So that’s a little something to try.
Now, we’re gonna try a song that has a forward roll in it. It’s called Cumberland Gap. The roll we’d use is (Demonstration). Notice that thumb, one, two, thumb, one, thumb, one, two (Demonstration) and we’re gonna add a hammer to that (Demonstration). Start with the thumb, but ends with the index (Demonstration). The song also has a slide and a forward (Demonstration) and a reverse (Demonstration). I’m gonna play the whole song now (Demonstration). Now I’ll play it a little bit slower (Demonstration). Notice it does the same lick on the first measure as it does in the last measure (Demonstration).