Fingerstyle Banjo Song and Tab of the Week: “Liberty”

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In a recent workshop on “Branching Out With 2-Finger Thumb Lead Style” banjo (now available in the workshop archive for Breakthrough Banjo members) I reviewed what has become my favorite tuning for playing fiddle tunes in the key of D, and why.

And I’ve had a great time working out many of the classic D tunes in both 2 and 3 finger style using this tuning (and adding these arrangements to The Breakthrough Banjo Tune Vault).

As is often the case, choosing the right tuning can spell the difference between a tune that is awkward to play, and lackluster in sound, to one that fingers easily and sounds fantastic.

Old time banjo players have long recognized the value of using various tunings, including old time fingerpickers. Again, the prevalence of standard G in bluegrass banjo is primarily an artifact of Earl Scruggs’s influence (though Earl certainly availed himself of alternate tunings as well).

REMINDER: I’ll be posting the tab “walk-through” video for this 2 finger version of Liberty on May 24. Click below for the schedule of past and upcoming workshops:

To see the schedule of workshops, click the button below:



aDADF# tuning, 2 finger thumb lead (Brainjo level 2)

Liberty 2 finger thumb lead banjo tab

Note here that I am capo’d at the 2nd fret to bring the banjo to aDADF# tuning, which places the tune in the key of D. You could also tune the banjo without the capo to gCGCE and play it just as it’s shown – the only difference being that the song will now be in the key of C.

Recent Banjo Songs and Tabs of the Week:

Notes on the Tab

For more on how to read the tab, click here for the How To Read Banjo Tabs article.


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