© Mike Moxcey 2005   

Forward Roll Variations

The basic forward roll: TM TIM TIM
can be modified to go TIM TM TIM or TIM TIM TM

Each of these variations still has the M strokes striking the 1st string
and the "non-melody" Thumb strokes striking the 5th string.

The odd thing about the easy modification is that the first Thumb stroke can start either

  1. on the 5th string in which case the melody notes falls on the 2nd stroke, or
  2. on the 3rd or 4th string as the initial melody note.
Learn them both and fit them in when needed.

First variation:

Second variation:

These rolls can alter the syncopation of the licks, giving a slightly different sound and emphasis:

Here is the first line of Bile starting with the regular roll just to get the song started correctly.

Try making up your own variations for the song using these ideas.

Song Pieces Using Forward Roll Variations

If you're thinking of the forward roll as an entire piece to play over a chord, then it's pretty simple to plug in other types of forward rolls.

Here is the second part of Bile using an alternate Forward Roll:

And here is the third line for Mountain Dew:

You can probably figure out the rest of the lines you need from doing this one.
Play around with it. See what sorts of stuff you like.

Here are the first and second lines to Mountain Dew:
Compare the sounds of this to the regular forward roll version.

I like the way the final line gets those low notes to start the next line.
They're in exactly the right place which makes it real easy to sing along with,

Now add in runs, chords, special effects and you're set.
If you figure them out by yourself, you'll be well on your way to learning how to improvise.

TM vs TI (More Forward Roll Modifications)

The basic forward roll I've presented is the TM TIM TIM.
There are two basic ways you can modify this.
  1. Rearrange the three components (as shown above)
    1. TM TIM TIM
    2. TIM TM TIM
    3. TIM TIM TIM
  2. Change the TM to a TI (played on an inside string instead of on the 1st string)
    1. TI TIM TIM
    2. TIM TI TIM
    3. TIM TIM TI
You can think of these as 6 different rolls,
or three different rolls with slight changes (TM or TI)
or as one roll with changes.

Here are some examples using the tuning notes for emphasis.

Again, experimentation on your part will lead to more learning than mere memorization of rolls presented by others.

Banjo Rolls