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Basic Rolls

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3 Finger (Scruggs) style

Below are some rolls common to bluegrass music. Don't worry too much about the names as they vary from player to player. There are many variations to these basic rolls as you will discover when learning more tunes.

I've also included the MIDI files so you can hear them. These MIDI files loop the roll 4 times (4 bars). The file sizes are very small — less then 1kb each.

Basic Forward forward.mid

Basic forward roll

Basic Backward backward.mid

Basic backward roll

Alternating Thumb alter.mid

Alternating thumb roll

Standard Forward standard.mid

Standard forward roll

Foggy Mountain* foggy.mid

Foggy Mountain roll

Forward Backward forback.mid

Forward backward roll

Forward Reverse forrev.mid

Forward reverse roll

Double Backward doubback.mid

Double backward roll

Pause Forward pause.mid

Pause forward roll

Forward Variation forward2.mid

Forward variation roll

Ragtime ragtime.mid

Ragtime roll

* The Foggy Mountain Roll is also often played with the fingering I M T M T I M T depending on the rolls that surround it.

Basic Frailing (or Clawhammer) style

Basic Frailing Pattern frail.mid

P = Pick (pick down with back of index or middle nail).
B = Brush (back of nails brushing down across strings).
T = Thumb (pluck the 5th string with the fleshy edge of thumb).

Basic frailing pattern

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