18 Slow Songs for the Banjo

So you play the banjo but aren’t drawn to the really fast bluegrass songs?  

I’ve had many people come in to my banjo studio and say that same thing.  The incredible speed that a lot of bluegrass music is played at is intimidating for someone completely new to music, especially those that have never played an instrument before.  Why not start out with some slow songs?

Hopefully this list helps out those wanting to play a slower repertoire.  These tunes are some slow beautiful melodies, that won’t have your right hand playing “catch-up.”

Here is a list of slow songs I’ve heard played on the 5-string banjo through the years; in my opinion, they all work really great on the instrument.  In some cases, I provide links to banjo versions of these songs.  The list includes hymns, Christmas songs, Beatles, Old Classic Country and Great American Songbook Classics.  It has something for everyone-peruse the list and pick out at least two of your favorites to work towards learning:

Slow Banjo Song List

Please keep in mind that just because these songs are slower doesn’t mean they are easier in every way.  Many times the challenge with slow tunes is keeping them interesting and staying in time; in addition, they often require more chord shapes with your left-hand.

Unfortunately, not enough banjo players take the time to learn waltzes, ballads and a few basic melodies in a more chordal style.  Being able to play in a variety of tempos is part of being a well-rounded musician.

If you discovered something on this list today you’ve never heard of, I’d love to hear from you in the comments, what are your favorites?  Many of the banjo songs on the list, I have TABS for on my site, so be sure to look around under my


I highly recommend my Slow Banjo Backup Article packed with free banjo tips on playing behind slow songs.  Free Slow Banjo Videos


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Jody Written by:

Professional Musician of 27 years. I've played Banjo and Acoustic Guitar on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry, and The Ryman Auditorium. I've also played in six different countries.


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