Beginner Banjo Lesson: Learn to Play “Blackberry Blossom” Using Barre Positions with Tony Trischka

ArtistWorks
3 min readFeb 24

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“Blackberry Blossom” is a tune that is synonymous with the bluegrass genre. Players of essentially every instrument within bluegrass learn to play this classic tune at some point while on their musical journey.

A fiddle tune most commonly performed in the key of G Major, “Blackberry Blossom” is firmly within the repertoire of bluegrass, old-time, and Celtic musical traditions. In the bluegrass world, “Blackberry Blossom” most famously made its mark as a banjo tune, catching the attention of bluegrass aficionados in the form of an arrangement by the great Bill Keith. Since then, it has been recorded and performed by countless bluegrass artists of various instruments, including Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and more.

In this beginner online banjo lesson, world-renowned bluegrass banjo player and member of our premier faculty here at ArtistWorks, Tony Trischka, teaches how to play “Blackberry Blossom” using barre positions on the banjo. This is a great introductory arrangement for a beginner looking to add “Blackberry Blossom” to their banjo repertoire and is a great stepping stone toward playing the tune using full-fledged melodic-style techniques.

As a member of Tony’s course, students have access to accompanying tablature outlining the tune and all the notes that Tony covers in this lesson, plus the opportunity to exchange videos with Tony to get feedback on their playing and progress.

LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass banjo from a master musician like Tony Trischka? Try some free online banjo lessons now!

“‘Blackberry Blossom’ is one of the all-time great fiddle tunes, and I’ve got three versions of it that I teach in my course,” Tony explains. “This is the simplest of the three versions and is a great starting point from which to learn the tune. It’s a beautiful way to play the tune, working more with chords than melody notes.”

In addition to learning how to play “Blackberry Blossom,” this lesson teaches and will help you strengthen a very important technique fundamental to your banjo playing as a whole. This lesson focuses on playing “Blackberry Blossom” using barre chords, through which you will be required to play the same fret across multiple strings simultaneously. As a result, mastering the material in this lesson will increase your finger strength and understanding of the function of barre chords.

“The main focus of this lesson is going to be the barre position,” explains Tony. “The barre position most often involves the index finger and requires you to push your finger across multiple strings on the same fret at once. It requires some strength, but, with practice, will become second nature.”

To learn how to play “Blackberry Blossom” using barre positions, dive into this online banjo lesson from Tony Trischka:

“Blackberry Blossom” Using Barre Positions with Tony Trischka:

LEARN MORE:

Have you always wanted to learn how to play bluegrass banjo? Through our comprehensive banjo lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Tony Trischka, and get personal feedback on your playing.

Tony’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner banjo to advanced performance techniques, improvisation, and classic bluegrass tunes. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as banjo players and musicians.

Sample some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!

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