Beginner question about right hand position


#1

I’ve noticed on the videos that Ben seems to rest his right hand pinky and/or ring finger on the head. Why is this? And any tips on getting the correct finger/hand position - I’ve tried to duplicate it but just don’t seem to be able to play comfortably with my hand like that. I’m also assuming the right hand ring finger nail needs to be trimmed but I have mine a bit longer for guitar finger picking. Thanks for any suggestions you folks have.


#2

The majority of pickers will rest either the ring, pincky, or both on the head lightly for a reference in hand positioning.
Best practice is to experiment and decide what is most comfortable and useful to YOU.

There is no exact way to do this "correctly. If you study hand positions of different great players you will see they very slightly form one to the other. Some, JD Crowe for example, have even altered their hand positioning, and even the spacing between the strings, that they use over the years.

It is about what best suits you and the way you are wired. We are all individuals and different when it domes to coordination, dexterity, an what is comfortable for us.

Best of luck with your banjo journey!


#3

Thanks for that - It seemed a little awkward at first, but I’m gradually getting used to it.


#4

— Begin quote from "fiddlewood"

The majority of pickers will rest either the ring, pincky, or both on the head lightly for a reference in hand positioning… Some, JD Crowe for example, have even altered their hand positioning, and even the spacing between the strings, that they use over the years.

— End quote

Would you recommend planting a finger on the head though? I am finding I like a ‘floating’ hand. I was used to resting a thumb on the fourth string on my bass so holding a little finger down seems hard.

Interesting about increasing the spacing between strings, I’d like to do this. Is there an article on the site about it please?


#5

Most things about playing the banjo are difficult if you try to use guitar technique. A few players float their hand but most will plant at least one finger. This gives you some stability especially when you start picking fast.

You can get bridges with ‘Crowe’ spacing, where the notches in the bridge are spaced a bit wider than normal. However, you might be thinking more of a banjo with a wider neck. Some banjos have really skinny, narrow necks that can feel pretty cramped for a guitar player.

I have a Nechville which I got partly because I knew they had wider necks. When I had a neck built for my conversion, I got the builder to use my Nechville spec to make the neck as well. I think vintage Gibsons has pretty skinny necks and most bluegrass banjos are going to model themselves after one of these.


#6

A Rich & Taylor JD Crowe model has wider spacing on both ends of the strings. The neck is also slightly wider than a standard spaced Gibson neck.


#7

— Begin quote from "bluenote23"

Most things about playing the banjo are difficult if you try to use guitar technique. A few players float their hand but most will plant at least one finger. This gives you some stability especially when you start picking fast.

— End quote

Yes thanks, I can see that - looks like I will have to stick to convention. :frowning: As a beginner it is hard to switch off things from guitar playing. :wink:


#8

As a fellow guitar player, it felt awkward at first resting my pinky on the head but I’m slowly getting used to it. Same with the picks, took me quite a while to feel comfortable with them but again, I’m gradually finding them easier. There’s a good video on this site about positioning the finger picks at a slight angle which I found helpful, also shortening and ‘rounding off’ the long end of the thumb pick worked for me. For sure though it didn’t come naturally and I had to persevere. But heck, now that we’re retired, we’ve got all the time we need :slight_smile: