Jiri Marlalous is a Czech banjo player and app developer who has merged his two passions in Banjo Rolls Trainer, a practice aid available for Apple iOS devices.
It is designed to make roll drills more enjoyable for banjo pickers, especially as compared to metronome work, by playing the roll for you while you practice, either with or without a rhythm section and metronome beat. The screen displays your choice of 12 common rolls in tablature, and when you click start, you will hear the roll at your selected speed, with each note in the tab highlighted at the moment it should be struck.
Jiri tells us that necessity was the mother of invention in this case.
“I’m a banjo player myself, and I couldn’t find an application or any interactive tool for help practicing banjo rolls, so I got an idea to create it itself.
Practicing with a metronome isn’t fun, so I said myself that it would be better to play with accurate background music, and hear how the rolls should sound.”
Other features include:
- Variable metronome speed
- Speed up feature that will increase the speed after a user-selectable number of repetitions of each roll
- Volume of banjo, bass, guitar and metronome can be adjusted or turned off
- Playback can be set for G, C, or D chords, or changing from one to the other
This promotional video shows the various screens in Banjo Rolls Trainer, but the audio is not from the app.
This video does use the actual audio as it shows some of the optional settings.
Banjo Rolls Trainer is available for $1.99 in the Apple App Store for either iPhone or iPad.