When you have finally taken the plunge – and rightly so! – into the banjo-playing world, you will soon find out that there are many facets to this world that many beginners in banjo didn’t even know existed. It’s a fascinating world, all right, and beginners, especially, may find it daunting. But believe it or not, some say that playing the banjo is even easier than playing another popular stringed instrument, the guitar. There are even some banjo songs that you can already play as a beginner. Yes, it may be overwhelming – but the trick is to have patience and fortitude, and you could become an expert before you know it. You can start with a few songs on the list – so here are the best songs to learn on the banjo as a beginner.
If there’s one song that can cement you as a singular banjo player, Cripple Creek it is. Many banjo players consider it a ‘rite of passage’, and if you learn how to play it – and master it – you have definitely arrived. It’s perhaps one of the most iconic – if not the most iconic – songs on the list, and its history dates back to either one of two places – Cripple Creek in Colorado or Cripple Creek in Virginia. Either way, learning it is simple – half of the chorus is the same as half the verse, so you only have three short pieces of music to learn. So if there’s one song any beginner banjo player must learn, this is it.
A song so well known it has been played by everyone from Johnny Cash to U2. The melody is mostly on open strings, and the fingering positions are very easy. The song is normally played slowly, so that’s a big help for beginners. This is a great song for beginning banjo players.
You Are My Sunshine
This song may well be a song that all of us are familiar with, even as children. It is one of the best folk songs of all time, and you can also play it on your banjo. The song was popularized by Charles Mitchell and Jimmie Davis in 1939, although numerous artists have their rendition or version of it through the years. And the best part? It’s a song that’s easily learned, even if you’re a beginner.
Hot Corn, Cold Corn
Although this song may seem like nonsense, it’s a popular song performed by many musicians and artists. Sometimes, people refer to it as Green Corn or Hot Corn, and you may have heard renditions from bluegrass greats such as Flatt and Scruggs or blues artists like Leadbelly. However, because of the song’s straightforward structure and chords that are easily learned and played, it’s truly a song that’s friendly to beginners.
For those who have been playing the banjo for years, chances are that they’ve been asked to play this song at one time or another. However, if you are a beginner, this is an easy song to learn – and you’ll soon learn to play it – whether you like it or not, so you may as well perfect it.