Why Try 2-Finger Thumb Lead?
There are so many great ways to make music on a 5-string banjo. Pick up, pick down. Use two fingers. Or three. Play with picks. Or play with bare fingers. And so on.
I personally love exploring all of those sounds. Not only do new techniques open up new doors of musical expression, but they always lead to new ideas and skills that can transfer elsewhere.
For the banjoist who already plays clawhammer style, you have a body of material that can be readily adapted for 2 finger, breathing new life and interest into tunes you already play (more on how to do this in the workshop).
For those new to the banjo altogether, and wanting to learn fingerstyle, it is the ideal technique to learn first, forming a foundation that will serve you throughout your playing days (rather than jumping straight into 3 finger Scruggs style, a path fraught with potential peril).
What’s more, with just some simple techniques under your belt, you play some pretty impressive stuff.
In other words, you can start playing great music in less time with this style, and it will make you a better 3 finger banjoist (whether you wish to play bluegrass, old time, country, etc.) should you choose to tackle that at some point.
Here’s a few examples of 2-finger thumb lead style to help whet your appetite:
Pretty Polly (played clawhammer, 3, and 2 finger style):
A 2 finger medley played on the gourd banjo: