Amazing Grace Lesson
I chose this as my first song lesson because in addition to being beautiful and recognizable it is also very easy to play and it is often left out of beginning banjo books. Im going to run you through a step by step progression to help you learn the harmony and the melody of the song. I’ll start with the most basic version of playing the chords and accompaniment and then walk you through a simple solo. Scroll down to the bottom if you want to just download the PDF of an easy and a less easy Solo that I wrote.
Amazing Grace is in 3/4 time meaning there are 3 quarter note beats per measure. Familiarize yourself with the open position chords and practice keeping time on the form. Strum down with the thumb on each beat and change chords when indicated.
This is a common rhythm accompaniment technique that uses the thumb on the 3rd or 4th string and the index and middle together on the 2nd and 1st string. The thumb picks downward on beat 1 of the measure and the index and middle pluck upwards on beats 2 and 3. The left hand technique is exactly the same as the previous exercise, changing chords with the harmony. The only difference is the right hand.
Connect the chord shapes you already know to the next voicing up the neck and add D major into the mix.
This arrangement of the accompaniment is similar to the first but uses some different chord voicings and some voice leading of the bass notes.
This is the most basic melody of Amazing Grace with no embellishment. The quarter notes are marked with the vertical lines. Pay close attention to the time and hold each note for the appropriate number of beats.
Here is a simple solo that emphasizes the melody while filling in some of the spaces with rolls. Left hand techniques such as Hammer-ons and Pull-offs embellish the melody and make the solo more fun and interesting.
Expanding on the first solo, this example uses the Hammer-on and pull off as well as the slide. Here the melody is more embedded in the rolls with more embellishment and less empty space.