Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: D, F, & A Banjo Chords

Learn more major chords. They’re high in protein.

Any tricks for keeping the ring finger off the 3rd string when making these 4 finger chord shapes? My ring finger has very little range of motion on the last knuckle so the meat of the finger tip dulls the 3rd string. I can put my finger tip too far over on the 4th string fretting over the top of the neck but up the neck I touch the 5th string dulling notes there. If I stretch the last digit for a few minutes each note is clear. For a bit. I have also tried stretching the 4th string up while fretting the others living more room for the 3rd to play free and that works but then I get a pull-off sound from the 4th moving between chords, If only white-out worked on this screen I’d get rid of these pesky four finger chord shapes. I haven’t tried my feet yet. :banana:

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If I could see your hand position I may be able to offer suggestions. Perhaps take some video from your point of view and post in the VideoSwap category :slight_smile:

Do you have any suggestions or exercises for people with very small hands? It is very painful and difficult to reach my index and ring finger across 2 frets, my fingers don’t reach without bending my wrist in a very awkward manor.

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Can you take video or picture of your hand? I can probably spot something that is causing the tension.

Hi Mathew, It would help @BanjoBen to advise you if you could post a short video to show what the problem is your having. If your new to the banjo it could be that your muscles are still a bit tight. Like an athlete has to stretch before a run so the hand muscles need to stretch too.

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Hi Mathew, It’s a bit difficult to see how your banjo is angled.

You do have too much bend on your wrist - try moving your elbow forward (away from your body) that should take the pressure off the wrist…

This is how I hold my banjo.

When I try to hammer on the 4th fret from the second on the 4th string, my index finger lays flat, muting the rest of the strings.

This is as far as I can reach while keeping my index finger straight, perpendicular to the fret board. When I watch videos of Ben and other playing these chords and ornaments, their index finger is perpendicular to the fret board, when I do that my ring finger just doesnt have the length to reach.

Hi Mathew, Check @BanjoBen 's hand position in this video clip. See how his elbow is angled and is away from his body. His fingers look relaxed with no tension in his fingers. No tension in the wrist, That’s what your aiming for. Also try to lower the banjo neck a little. I am sure Ben will add more comment when he is available. Hope this is helpful

Hi @ionredline06 , it looks like you have a similar issue that i am trying to fix. I am used to holding the neck deep in the “v” between my thumb and index finger. This sometimes causes me to mute some of the other strings. Mostly what happens to me is i end up muting the 1st string, closest to the floor. I’m trying to put more of the “meat” of my thumb on the back of the neck and let my index finger just ride up and down the bottom edge of the neck for stability. That may not be correct, so maybe Ben or some others have some better instruction on this.