Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo arm pressure point

Just wondering if anyone else on here suffered this. I noticed recently and now trying to correct it, that I’ve been getting a pressure point on my right arm where it rests on the arm rest. This could be what’s been causing some problems with my picking hand. I read of a similar experience from another player who got carpol tunnel problems from gripping the arm rest too tight. I’m now trying to relax my arm a little more. I think it kind of just happened without me being aware I was doing it, but it always felt a bit bruised after practising. I’ve got quite skinny arms so that doesn’t help.
All in all, there is a heck of a lot physically and mentally you have to be aware of when playing banjo and probably the biggest is tension in the body. Relaxation is key but not always easy.


While I have not had the problem, I have heard others speak of it, including Kristin Scott-Benson. She knows her way around the banjo. She endorses one particular product, so you gotta take it with a grain of salt.
Others here have touted wooden armrests from Nechville.
Deering also sells one.

I cannot tell if one is better than another, but the common thread seems to be they ease your pain.

I think it would be worth your while to drop Jake an e-mail at Banjo Ben’s General Store & find out what he thinks.


I have the same problem that just showed up about 2 months ago. I’ve been playing 8 years and it appeared out of nowhere. I don’t bruise but I’ll have a big indentation on my forearm that hurts. Like you I blamed it on tension but I just don’t know. When I focus on tension what I noticed was my right shoulder raised in the air. So I drop my right shoulder and try to relax. Ain’t helped the forearm denting. I’m not sure what to do. I thought maybe it was my wrist angle and pinky anchor but I sent a picture to Ben and he said it looked fine. Maybe Ben or some of the seasoned pickers can help us. I sure hope so.


Yes, I’ve been thinking about trying a wooden arm rest. I guess it’s not so much bruised but like you say an indentation, but definitely a pressure point on the tendons which could long term effect my hand and fingers.


I find that having my left foot elevated helps a lot with the tension, especially on my back but also on the arm rest. hope that helps mate
I use a little wood block, 20cm tall

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I never play standing up. When I practice at home I sit because what few jams I have been to everyone is always seated. I’m old enough I’ll never be lucky enough to play in a band so no use to stand up. Maybe the seated position puts more pressure on the forearm. I don’t know. Just doesn’t make sense after eight years all of a sudden it shows up.


I practiced about 4 hours yesterday and this morning it still hurts. That’s not a good sign


That’s an idea… I might give that a go. :+1:


I’ve continously started to lift my arm a little while playing very slowly. I’ve noticed less pressure helps free up the motion to move the right hand forward and back towards the neck. I’ve thought about making a velcro arm band that could also cushion the pressure point.


I’ll try both.
Thanks Jono and Frank


I used to practice while sitting all the time, until I went back and looked at Ben’s instruction on “How To Hold the Banjo.”–overview-holding-and-strap-banjo/video/how-to-hold-a-banjo

Good posture is important, and there should not be any difference in the way your hands touch the banjo whether you are standing or sitting. Once I reviewed that, I started practicing (some of the time) standing up. Yes, it was awkward, and that told me I must have been practicing "mistakes’ when I was sitting.

I’m an old guy, and I will never be in a band that gets paid. But I might be at a jam session that’s one chair short, or a parking lot session where they might be three chairs short.

Did you ever see a British TV show called “Detectorists?” Our heroes were going to perform at an “open mic night” at the local pub, but mandolin player Lance always practiced sitting on a stool…so they had to do their show with him sitting on a stool.
You don’t want to be that guy (except on the show he discovered gold!)