• Multi-Angle Videos 
  • Slo-Motion 
  • Looping 
  • Progress Tracking 


  • 35 Charts (.pdf) 
  • 6 Jam Tracks (.mp3) 
  • 35 Tabs (.gp5 or .ptb) 
  • 2 hr, 11 mins of Video (.mp4) 
  • Download Size: 1.1 GB

Soundslice Enabled 

The streaming version of this course includes the interactive tab & fretboard view.

44 Total Video Lessons: 

  • Bluegrass Banjo Backup Introduction 
  • SECTION 1: Vamping 
  • Basic Vamping 
  • Basic Vamping Playalong 
  • Two Position Vamping 
  • Two Position Vamping Playalong 
  • Syncopated Two Position Vamping 
  • Syncopated Two Position Vamping Playalong 
  • SECTION 2: Rolling Chord Fills 
  • "In the Mood" Fill 
  • "In the Mood" Fill Playalong 
  • 6th and 7th Chord Fill 
  • 6th and 7th Chord Fill Playalong 
  • SECTION 3: Fill-In Licks 
  • D Shape Fill-In Lick 
  • "Six White Horses" Lick 
  • Position Shifting Lick 
  • "Blue Ridge Cabin Home" Lick 
  • Red River Valley Exercise 
  • Red River Valley Exercise Playalong 
  • SECTION 4: Rolling Style Backup 
  • The Ultimate Forward Roll Revisited 
  • G Licks for Rolling Backup 
  • C Licks for Rolling Backup 
  • D Licks for Rolling Backup 
  • Rolling Backup Exercise 
  • Rolling Backup Exercise Playalong 
  • SECTION 5: Up the Neck Backup 
  • Up the Neck Licks for G 
  • Up the Neck Licks for C and D 
  • SECTION 6: Slow Songs 
  • Triplet Style Tremolo 
  • Walk-Ups, Walk-Downs and Passing Tones 
  • Passing Seventh Chords 
  • Faded Love Exercise 1 Playalong 
  • Slow Vamping 
  • "I'll Just Pretend" Lick 
  • Faded Love Exercise 2 Playalong 
  • SECTION 7: Waltz Time Backup 
  • Slow 3/4 Time Backup Licks 
  • Amazing Grace Exercise Playalong 
  • Fast 3/4 Time Backup Licks 
  • Fast 3/4 Time Playalong 
  • Bluegrass Banjo Backup Conclusion

Ned Luberecki's Bluegrass Banjo Backup 

Vamping and Backup Approaches for Banjo Players 

Bluegrass banjo players love to jam and live for their break but in reality, you spend 90% of your time playing back up. Earl Scruggs, JD Crowe, and Sonny Osborne are all known as much for their backup playing as they are for their soloing. Being a great backup player makes you more valuable in any jam and its absolutely essential in a band. You're one-stop-shop for becoming that great backup player is Ned Luberecki's Bluegrass Banjo Backup! 

"In this Bluegrass Banjo Backup course, we'll work on approaches for basic vamping, syncopated vamping, and rolling backup. I'll show you a few of my favorite chord fills and licks. We'll work on up-the-neck moves, using passing chords, and backup styles you can use for slow songs and waltzes. We'll apply these backup approaches to some of the most common chord changes in bluegrass!" 

Ned organized the course into 7 sections covering all of the nuts and bolts of playing backup in a band or at the jam. Ned demonstrates all of the lessons and then guides you through playalongs so that you can put your backup skills to work in a real musical context. 


Vamping Earl Scruggs called this kind of backup "vamping". In other musical genres, vamping means to hold on one chord, or repeat a simple chord turn-around, but in bluegrass banjo playing it refers to this style of rhythm playing. Includes: Basic Vamping. Two Position Vamping, Syncopated Two Position Vamping all with corresponding playalongs. 


Rolling Chord Fills In this section, we'll add some rolling chord fills to the vamping to fill in some of the spaces at the end of a vocal line. Includes: "In the Mood" Fill, 6th and 7th Chord Fill, both with playalongs. 


Fill-In Licks In this section, we'll look at a few more classic bluegrass style fill-in licks. Most of these are pretty simple, it's more about the placement than the complexity. In other words, it's less about what you play and more about when you play. Includes: D Shape Fill-In Lick, White Horses" Lick, Position Shifting Lick, Blue Ridge Cabin Home" Lick, Red River Valley Exercise all with corresponding playalongs. 


Rolling Style Backup In this section, we'll learn how to play some rolling backup licks. When playing rolling backup, it's important to keep the rhythm strong while trying not to make the playing too fancy or complex. Remember, your job is to keep the rhythm strong while not overpowering the lead. Includes: The Ultimate Forward Roll Revisited, G Licks for Rolling Backup, C Licks for Rolling Backup, D Licks for Rolling Backup, Rolling Backup Exercise all with corresponding playalongs. 


Up the Neck Backup Here are a few more up the neck backup gems to use along with the 6th and 7th chord fills, the position shifting lick and the D shape lick. Once you're comfortable with those, you can throw a few of these into the mix and really get creative. Includes: Up the Neck Licks for G, Up the Neck Licks for C and D, both with playalongs. 


Slow Songs In this section, we'll tackle the ever-present question of what to do about backing up slow songs. The banjo doesn't have as much sustain as the guitar or fiddle, but we can use some of the same ideas that mandolin players use to fill the spaces in slow songs. Includes: Triplet Style Tremolo, Walk-Ups, Walk-Downs, and Passing Tones, Passing Seventh Chords, Faded Love Exercise 1, Slow Vamping, I'll Just Pretend" Lick, Faded Love Exercise 2 all with corresponding playalongs. 


Waltz Time Backup 4 time or waltz time is another area where the banjo can play some great backup. While the image of a waltz often brings slow songs to mind, in bluegrass, there are many 3/4 time songs that are uptempo like "Ocean of Diamonds" or "Paradise". In this section, we'll take a look at both. Includes: Slow 3/4 Time Backup Licks, Amazing Grace Exercise, Fast 3/4 Time Backup Licks all with corresponding playalongs. 

Ned's Bluegrass Banjo Backup lesson plan gives you solid examples of everything you might need to play backup in a jam, with a band or just to accompany yourself singing. Once you have the basics down, start putting these techniques to use right away. 

If you need more licks, check out his other TrueFire courses, 30 Bluegrass Banjo Licks You Must Know and Bluegrass Banjo Jam Survival Guide. There's a lot in both of those courses which can also be applied to backup playing. Ned will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. 

You'll get standard notation and tabs for all of the key examples and performances. Plus, you'll be able to use TrueFire's online learning tools or desktop and mobile apps to sync the tab and notation to the video and loop or slow down the videos so you can work with the banjo lessons at your own pace. All of the backing tracks are included to work with on your own as well. 

Grab your banjo and let's get to playing some backup with Ned Luberecki!


About the educator

Ned Luberecki

Ned Luberecki is the banjo player for The Becky Buller Band and also tours with Stephen Mougin (of the Sam Bush Band) as Nedski & Mojo. Ned was formerly the banjoist for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, The Rarely Herd, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, The Gary Ferguson Band, Radio Flyer, Paul Adkins and the Borderline Band and in 2018, Ned was voted Banjo Player of the Year by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association). 

Ned teaches private banjo lessons in Nashville and now over the internet via webcam! Check out nedski.com for more info. Ned is a popular banjo instructor at music camps across the country and around the world, having taught at Nashcamp, Munich Banjo Camp, Camp Bluegrass, B.C. Bluegrass Workshop, Midwest Banjo Camp and many more. 

Ned is also an on-air personality on Sirius XM Satellite Radios Bluegrass Junction (channel 62). Tune in Sunday Afternoons from 2:00 - 6:00 pm (eastern) for More Banjo Sunday. Ned brings his banjo to the SiriusXM Channel 61 studios and plays live banjo tunes during the show! Stay tuned for the Sunday Banjo Lesson every Sunday at 3:00 pm (eastern) when all the breaks in the hour are devoted to how to play the banjo. Ned also hosts the Newgrass/Progressive Bluegrass show Derailed, Saturday nights 7:00 - 9:00 pm eastern.