For a great many years, singing banjo players were commonplace. Playing and singing wasn’t considered something the occasional player did, it was just an ordinary part of being a banjo picker.
Sadly, in recent years singing banjo players have become less common.
In the world of fingerstyle banjo, this appears to be primarily due to the popularity of bluegrass and Scruggs style.
There, the banjo is part of a band, and typically assigned to play backup and the occasional instrumental break. Plus, the syncopated stylings of Scruggs banjo – which are designed for instrumental breaks – aren’t well suited for playing while singing.
In the world of clawhammer, this trend seems to be explained by the rise of fiddle tunes as the dominant tune format, and the popularity of fiddle tune oriented jams – in spite of the fact that clawhammer is perfectly well suited for playing while singing.
This has been further compounded by the fact that there’s almost a total absence of instructional material on the topic of singing and playing.
It’s time to reverse that trend!
Singing and playing is not only loads of fun, it’s also great for your development as a musician.
But what songs should you start with?
And what exactly should you play while you’re singing?
10 of the Best Songs for Banjo book of tabs includes 10 classic songs for getting started playing and singing, with arrangements clawhammer, 3 finger, and 2 finger thumb lead.
And, it includes tabs for both instrumental banjo solo breaks AND for what to play while you sing.