• New in Print - Companion to Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus

    Companion to Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus

    Asheville, N.C. — Wayne Erbsen and Native Ground Music have announced the release of their Companion to Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus.

    This friendly workbook is a companion and continuation of Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus! but is NOT a stand-alone book; make sure you have your copy of the original Ignoramus! This book was created with one simple goal in mind: to help you sharpen your skills by creating umpteen ways of playing the songs in Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus.

    The method is as simple as pie. First, you’ll copy the melody onto the no-frills blank tabs provided in this workbook. By using our menu of rolls, you’ll add as few as one, or as many as ten banjo rolls to the melody. The more you’ll work at it, the better you’ll become at creating your own unique arrangements of your favorite bluegrass songs.

    What You'll Find in the Book

    • Fill-in-the-blank tabs for 32 songs
    • 44 play-along audio tracks (CD and online audio included)
    • 10 bonus songs and 3 bonus rolls
    • How to play with other people
    • How to play by ear
    • Using a capo to change keys
    • How to create your own arrangements
    • Where the chords go
    • Quick reference charts

    About the project, Erbsen told us, "Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus has been helpful to a lot of folks because its unique method starts with just the bare-bone skeleton of the tunes (no rolls). It gradually 'dresses' that skeleton with a variety of simple rolls. When the student starts mixing up their rolls, they’re suddenly improvising.

    Recently, I realized there was something missing from the Ignoramus book — space to write out a variety of arraignments of the songs using different combinations of the rolls. With this in mind, I created a friendly workbook called Companion to Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus! It includes fill-in-the-blank tabs for 32 songs, 44 play-along audio tracks, 10 bonus songs, 3 bonus rolls, quick reference charts, and lots of new material. I'm confident this new workbook will really help folks improve their banjo pickin' skills."


    • Why a Workbook?
    • How This Workbook Works
    • Handy Hints
    • How to Read the Tabs
    • Timing of the Tabs
    • Quick Review-Short Rolls
      • Thumb Roll
      • Thumb-Pinch Roll
      • Two-Finger Roll
      • Pegleg Sailor Roll
      • Middle Lead Roll
      • Alternating Thumb Roll
    • Quick Review- Long Rolls
      • Foggy Mountain Breakdown Roll
      • Double Lick Roll
      • Reverse Roll
      • Forward Roll
    • Menu of Rolls
    • Fill in the Blank Tabs
      • Bile ‘em Cabbage Down
      • Down the Road
      • Groundhog
      • Lynchburg Town
      • Poor Ellen Smith
      • Palms of Victory
      • Nine Pound Hammer
      • Columbus Stockade Blues
      • When I Lay My Burden Down
      • Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
      • Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
      • Wabash Cannonball
      • Red River Valley
      • Little Maggie
      • Long Journey Home
      • My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
      • Pass Me Not
      • Pretty Polly
      • Put My Little Shoes Away
      • Shall We Gather at the River
      • When the Saints Go Marching In
      • Man of Constant Sorrow
      • Black-Eyed Susie
      • Do Lord
      • East Virginia Blues
      • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
    • How to Create Your Own Tabs
      • Careless Love
      • Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
      • Old Time Religion
      • Pig in a Pen
      • She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain
      • This Little Light of Mine
    • Important Tidbits
    • Practicing Rolls with a G Scale
    • Short Rolls Practice
    • Long Rolls Practice
    • Playing with Other People
    • Banjo Chords
    • Quick Reference Charts
    • Quick Reference- Short Rolls
    • Quick Reference- Long Rolls
    • Blank Tabs
    • Song Index & Track Finder


    The CD contains 44 tracks; it contains audio tracks of Wayne playing through the rolls and songs in the book. The rolls are played only on banjo, and the songs have banjo and rhythm guitar. I’m attaching a screen shot of the track listing, but it basically matches up with the contents. The audio is also available on the book website to download or stream, along with extra blank tabs and reference charts to print out.

    Information About the Tablature

    Most of the pages in the book do not contain regular tab, but blank tab sheets for each song so that folks can create their own arrangements; they definitely need to have a copy of Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus on hand to reference for the tab. There is quite a bit of tab in the book, though: the rolls, the G scale, on 4 songs there is tab of the choruses (tab for choruses was not included in the original Ignoramus, 10 new songs are tabbed out, and tabbed out practice exercises. Wayne shows different ways readers can write out tab, so that they can use the style that works best for them.

    Additional Information

    Companion to Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus