Learning Guitar from Banjo Legend Earl Scruggs • Acoustic Tuesday 228

What can guitar players learn from one of the best banjo players of all time? In this episode, we’ll take a closer look at Earl Scruggs, his banjo technique, and how guitar players can apply these techniques to expand their tonal horizons!

I am a huge Earl Scruggs fan. His banjo playing definitely cements him in the hall of fame of banjo musicians. Earl Scruggs was filled with wisdom, which is why I wanted to dedicate a whole episode to the legend. Even though he mostly played banjo, I think there are so many life and technique lessons to learn from Earl Scruggs.

One of the inspirations for this episode came from a video clip of Earl Scruggs. In the footage, he swaps his banjo for a guitar. Without hesitation, Scruggs was able to dive right into the role of rhythm guitar. Scruggs’ flexibility and rhythmic prowess allowed for spontaneity and collaboration — something I think all of us could benefit from learning!

As far as specific technique we can learn from Earl Scruggs’ playing, I really want to emphasize alternate chord voicing. Additionally, his use of the Carter scratch and the “rolls” in the picking hand can open up a wide variety of tones and rhythms for you to explore.

If you have any questions about Earl Scruggs, the techniques he used, or anything else, be sure to leave a comment on this episode! I always love to hear what you thought about this episode of the Acoustic Tuesday, and I look forward to reading your comments!

Featured in this Episode…

  • The Earl Scruggs Center
  • Molly Tuttle
  • YourGuitarSage

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  1. I had a banjo in the back seat of my car. I packed in a outdoor lot in downtown Minneapolis. I came back from my meeting and my back window was smashed out. Yup, you guessed it. In the back seat was another banjo!

  2. Loved this video. By switching between the banjo and guitar and showing examples from Earl himself, I really got a clear understanding of what you were teaching. Great job! Love this format.

  3. I play both the banjo and the guitar, not very good at either But Wow, it never dawned on me to use the banjo rolls on the goal. I have a whole new perspective and excitement. Thanks Tony.

  4. I am plugging away at this course and love it but Im not very good. Really like your videos and how you come across. From one goalie to another. I have terrible insomnia and thought why not use those midnight hours productivly and learn the guitar. I would like to send you one of my books as being in the goalie union you might enjoy it. I keep perspective knowing you’d have loved to have played in the NHL as I did but dang, I wish I played guitar like you do. Perspective Right?

  5. I just want to say I love it when you spotlight on folks like Scruggs. Your affinity for great musicians is one reason I want to keep being a TAC member. This is a great video.