Chris Eldridge

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On and On

Using a Banjo Roll in Flatpicking

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On and On > Using a Banjo Roll in Flatpicking

Hello Everyone!

This week I'll be showing you how to play the intro that I played for On and On. There will likely be some vernacular moves that are becoming familiar to you, but to me the interesting thing thing about this lesson is the Earl Scruggs banjo roll that we get to on the 5 chord. It's a combination of a forward and backward roll and it something you hear Earl do all over the place in Flatt and Scruggs songs.






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of On and On


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:30 Breakdown of On and On Intro

Loop 19:03 Closing Thoughts and Outro





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Markus Rapke
Markus Rapke Jan 17, 2019

Hey Chris, I love your rhytm explanations a lot. I also love this solo of yours. Pretty hard to do the 4 chord rhythm and the backward roll though. Still trying to get rid of tension in my right hand. I beginn to feel better with it and surprisingly the sound seems to get louder as well. 

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 04, 2019

Hi Markus,

Your playing sounds good on here. You've developed a good strong technique that is allowing you to pull good (and powerful) sound out of the guitar while also playing with fluidity. For what it's worth, I thought the backward roll sounded good. But you could lean into the power of the syncopation right there, a la Norman Blake rather than trying to keep it totally clean. It might inject a bit of drama into that little moment of virtuosity that could help. 

I have a few thoughts regarding the rest stroke strum on the 4 chord:

1) It is very easy for your hand and wrist to tense up when doing those Tony Rice rhythm sweeps. Try using gravity and the weight of your entire forearm and hand to help you move the pick through the strings. Gravity is your friend here.

2) You might try looping between a 1 and 4 chord where you are sweeping both chords. It's good to practice this absent-mindedly while you watch tv or do something similarly mindless. Once you are feeling more relaxed with it, bring your attention more directly to the sweep and see what you notice. 

3) Sometimes I find the sweeps to be easier if the pick is flatter against the string rather than rotated. There is more resistence this way but for some reason it can help.

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Sep 17, 2017

Chris -

Could you look at this sometime and tell me if this 1st break is close to resembling what you're playing. You didn't teach it and you play it so fast that even slowed down its difficult to be sure. Obviously it's not close to speed but I've been hoping to get it to a passable musical point.  I'll get to the intro but this break is so cool (at least when youre playing it) that I wanted to try and learn it or something close.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 02, 2017

Hey Kip, killer job of figuring this out! Since you did such a great job on your own with the rest of this I'll point one little thing out. The timing of the last couple of phrases of the solo was just a bit early (but it still worked!). The reason for this is that there is a note or two missing. After the bluesey lick that happens over the C chord at around 17 seconds, the line goes all the way down to the G note on the 3rd fret of the 6th string. I think if you get all the way down to that G, everything will come out evenly afterward. Good luck!

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Aug 05, 2017

Pick direction is weird for me somehow on this ... until now it seems to have come fairly natural ... I'm not even talking about the Scruggs roll yet ... I'm talking about the double stop hammer on's prior to it.  Maybe its me ... I'm gonna watch again. Thx for being super detailed on this lesson ... its very helpful.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Aug 05, 2017

Yeah, I think it matters more on this lesson than some others, although I think that the principle is always important. You really want to cultivate the sense of that machine/mechanism working behind the scenes in your arm, almost like your pick direction is a pendulum keeping time for you. 

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Aug 05, 2017

You're right - it helps with the flow, musicality and speed especily when you don't have to think about it. In my particular case here - I was having trouble because I was playing that F- like 3 note cross pick starting with a downstroke ... which essentially made the following hammer on's start with up strokes and it didn't feel right. I have that straightened out  The Scruggs deal is way cool but I've only scratched the surface with that.

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