Foggy Mountain Breakdown is the first song Earl Scruggs ever wrote. It’s now almost 60 years old, written in 1948 and remains one of the most popular bluegrass tunes in existence. It is one of those tunes that just about every banjo player should learn.
The first place to start is by hearing the tune enough to get familiar with it. Check out this awesome video with Earl Scruggs and about a dozen other excellent banjo players picking the song. The subtle variations on the melody are wonderful and you get to hear it several times in a row.
If you learn by tab, the song is fully tabbed out in Earl Scrugg’s book. That should be your next step. If you prefer to learn by watching, here are some of the best lessons online:
This video is great for teaching the Foggy Mountain Roll, but sort of flies through the rest of the song:
I think this is the best over-all lesson, there are three parts to the video, here’s the first:
Here’s another with a very slow version of the entire song. Skip to 5:55 for the relevant part, the first half of the video is, well. Just skip it