Derroll’s banjo techniques


Very often, Derroll used a capo on the second position. All samples presented are played without, to keep things simple.
Only Portland town has a instructional video because of too little webspace!
Sometimes repeating verses are omitted in the samples and tabs to save webspace. I am confident you will be able to double them yourself playing Derroll's version...


Portland Town

This is Derroll's most famous song covered by many international artists. It is played using the "double thumbing" technique as explained in the "basics" section. This tab deals with the way Derroll played on the original recordings from “Portland Town”, “Live!” and “De Muziekdoos”.
The song can be found on “Derroll Adams Live!”, “Portland Town”, “Songs of the banjoman”, “Riding in Folkland”, “Banjoman”, “65th Bithday concert”, “America” and “De Muziekdoos”.

Watch Derroll himself play the song!


This song was written by Tucker Zimmerman especially for Derroll. It can be found on “65th Bithday concert”, “Songs of the banjoman” and “Along the way”.

Deep Elm Blues

It can be found on “Feelin’ Fine”.

The Sky

It can be found on “Feelin’ fine”, “Songs of the banjoman” and “Banjoman”.

Dixie Darling

It can be found on “Live!”, “Along the way” and “Banjoman”.

Freight Train Blues

It can be found on “Feelin’ Fine", “Live!" and “Banjoman”.

Watch Derroll himself play the song!

Love Song

It can be found on “Banjoman”, “Feelin’ Fine” and “Songs of the banjoman”.

Mr Rabbit

It can be found on “Feelin’ Fine” and the film by Patrick Ferryn. It is a good example of the drop thumb technique.


It can be found on "Songs of the banjoman”.

Cluck Old Hen

It can be found on “Along the way”.

The Valley

It can be found on “Live!”, “Feelin’ fine” and “Songs of the banjoman”. Here is your opportunity to practice the Hammer on, Brush off technique!

For your inspiration only

At the risk of being considered as a “wrong” folkie I want to show that, using Derroll's techniques, you can play also contemporary "folksongs" like “Egyptian Reggae” by Jonathan Richman or “Things we said today” by The Beatles... or you can play a Derroll song on a fretless mountain banjo ... You can even push it further, this is a version of “The Valley” in a Greek Rembetiko way! (I used a 5-string, a baglama, a bouzouki and an el.bass)

These files are the author's own work and represent his interpretation of the songs. You may only use these files for private study, scholarship, or research.

  Egyptian Reggae   Things we said today   Fretless mountain banjo   The Valley