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Feb 19, 2023 - 9:27:43 AM
1071 posts since 6/13/2012

This playing technique is essential in your reso retinue.
Whether forward or backward, mastering this is very rewarding.
And by using a capo, you will learn and hear different sounds very pleasing to the ear.
Josh Graves is credited for inventing it for use on the resonator guitar back in the late forties where he was taught it by Earl Scruggs who used it on banjo runs.
I bring this up to see how many of you have added this to your resume.
Lets hear from you out there with your comments.
I personally prefer using this technique in a backward roll.

Feb 19, 2023 - 10:44:16 PM

1389 posts since 1/14/2011

Originally posted by resotom

This playing technique is essential in your reso retinue.

Retinue: "a group of advisers, assistants, or others accompanying an important person"

I don't have a retinue on my budget, but I play plenty of rolls.

Feb 20, 2023 - 9:33:07 AM



1071 posts since 6/13/2012

Sorry about that Dane .. Wrong word..

Feb 20, 2023 - 11:18:01 AM



654 posts since 8/10/2008

'Repertoire" maybe closer? I play lots of rolls too.

Feb 20, 2023 - 1:07:47 PM



17 posts since 3/28/2022

'Ravenous' is closer for me, I eat a lot of ham rolls ...

Feb 20, 2023 - 1:21:12 PM



1071 posts since 6/13/2012

Hard rolls....soft rolls anyone?

Feb 21, 2023 - 10:13:59 AM

500 posts since 1/29/2013

How about rustic rolls?

Seriously, rolls obviously add movement and excitement to ones playing. I haven’t spent a lot of time practicing 3 finger forward and backward rolls, but can do them at moderate speeds.

What I can do at faster tempos (and use probably more than I should) is a 2 finger forward roll T-T-M, often droning the B or the D high string. I also often use this roll on only 2 adjacent strings, striking the lower string with T, then the next higher string with the T, then the M. Great for creating fast movement when there aren’t 3 strings that’ll work for the chord.

Edited by - BrianMac on 02/21/2023 10:15:15

Feb 21, 2023 - 10:54:35 AM



4 posts since 2/21/2023

I am originally a banjo player ( I have only been *playing* dobro for about a year) but rolls are about all I can do:)

Feb 22, 2023 - 8:00:38 AM



286 posts since 5/1/2012

Starting on the square neck as an "older ( or just plain old) guy, I have noted that my picking hand speed is not what it should be for rolls. However I practice them daily.... Sucks being a hack-especially and old one - hahaha

Feb 22, 2023 - 1:18:12 PM



1071 posts since 6/13/2012

Mike... thanks for your post.
I have a bad time with reverse or back rolls originally but with time and practice maybe with a metronome or some slower tunes on a CD or similar device your muscle memory will pick up with your fingers to accomplish what you need to do..Then progress to faster tunes...

Feb 22, 2023 - 4:38:29 PM

782 posts since 8/8/2008

I was primarily a Spanish style guitar player for many, many years before getting a dobro and spent lots time learning the Travis style rolls and I use those a lot on dobro.

Edited by - Dobrojan on 02/22/2023 16:39:00

Feb 22, 2023 - 5:20:28 PM

705 posts since 1/18/2012

Being a child of the 60’s, I’m very familiar with four finger lids.
Three finger rolls I’ve got to think were the invention of Cheech and Chong.

Feb 22, 2023 - 5:54:30 PM
Players Union Member



192 posts since 4/14/2010

As a long time banjo picker, rolls were a natural for me. Forward, backwards, inside out they all work on the dobro for me.

Feb 22, 2023 - 7:41 PM

500 posts since 1/29/2013

Originally posted by Lounge Primate

Being a child of the 60’s, I’m very familiar with four finger lids.
Three finger rolls I’ve got to think were the invention of Cheech and Chong.

cheeky Ha!

Mar 9, 2023 - 3:23:39 PM

398 posts since 9/9/2016

Yes !

One of the first things I learned , and that I continue to overuse .

Forwards and backwards rolls are the first part of my warm up everytime I pick up a Reso . I first tackled them both together , and they seem equal to me .

I'm going to have to try out BrianMac's two finger rolls .


My default , and Most Used Pattern :

Probably has a name or better description . Back when I was first trying to get up my nerve to play at a Jam , I went to observe a " Jam " at ( local-ish to me LMS , regionally known for their regular guitar selection , but they don't know squarenecks ) .

Only two players , a dobro , and a guitar fingerpicker . The dobro player ( whom don't recall his name , and haven't run into in the local scene ) very graciously let me sit next to him , to blantly steel techniques .

The two gentlemen got into discussion about techniques for background accompanying . Dobro guy shared what he had been working on , and I jumped on it .

T - 6th string
M- 3rd string
T- 5th string
I - 4th string

I worked out a variant for a wider tonal range , plus adaptable for minor chords by being all root or fifths of same fingers , but strings 6 , 1, 4, 3 .

Mar 9, 2023 - 5:43:54 PM

525 posts since 11/28/2012

Speaking of rolls, anyone use a variation of the forward roll as shown in example 2 below? Pretty sure I saw Troy B use this in an instructional video.

While I generally had practiced example #1, which I assume is the “standard” forward roll, I found that I instantly picked up about 10% more speed using example #2 (with basically no prior practice).

i guess in theory, when looped, things should be equivalent...but something about the cadence in example #2 is easier for me.

Edited by - JC Dobro on 03/09/2023 17:55:25

Apr 10, 2023 - 7:38:03 AM
likes this

332 posts since 8/24/2013

Well I like it but my background was pedals and lap with a huge influence of Pete Kirby on the dobro. I admire the style and Josh Graves is the tops. His book was a great read also.

Apr 10, 2023 - 7:53:47 AM



45 posts since 11/27/2019

I don't do a lot of three finger rolling on the dobro, but I do on banjo.

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