Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Forward Roll Fingers Not Copacedic

Just started the Benjo after struggling for a year. Great lessons. A lot of thought and time went into them. I’m a lower intermediate player. I’m stuck. Forward roll seems so simple but my fingers fight it. If I put my pinky and ring on a table (same on a banjo) and roll my TIM fingers I can backward roll easily, forward is like I just came out of a coma and cant use my fingers. I’ve tried forward roll exercises for hours with no luck. Advice?

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Slow and steady wins the race my freind! it just takes practice ALOT of practice! at a slow pace at first. Dont try to go to fast untill you are profishent at the task that is giving you trouble. It will all come together you must have patience and perserverance! If you want it you gotta put in the work. I know thats probebly not what you want to hear but it might be just what you need! I hope that helps some.:sunglasses:

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I’m trying to find that slow roll zen state but, I’m chunking this out there, Is there a thing like rolling your toung or forward rolling fingers that some folks like me just can’t do?

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@bkbellinger Try using just one of your fingers to anchor and see if there’s a difference. I’m almost willing to put some money on it :wink:

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Yeah, I’d say that might be your issue. I had the same problem too a little bit when I started out.

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Yep. Have tried that too. Pinky only, ring only, both. Hand transplant?

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Try pinky only for a day or two and see what happens (probably won’t be immediate if it’s the issue).

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welcome and as said slow down all the way down if need be 10 bpm what ever it takes I am at about the same point you are but my hard spot is the reverse roll but have worked both up to the same speed it has taken 3 going on 4 weeks and will be something I plan to work on for long time. you got this you have the drive to start invest money and time, when you brake through the block let us know, God Bless and good luck. KEEP PICKING!

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What is the normal string spacing at the bridge? Just swapped out 1 3/4 for 1 5/8 seems to help a little with the 5,3,1 roll which the hardest for me. 1/8" is not much but it’s noticeable (could just be in my head). I’ll give the pinky post some time. Thanks for the tips.

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I don’t know exactly, but you have what’s called “standard” and “Crowe” spacing with Crowe being wider. It may be worth giving it a try, I used to use it and loved it: https://store.banjobenclark.com/products/snuffy-smith-bridge

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As a clumsy beginner, I suggest"Go slow." You are trying to teach you muscles to move in a direction they are not accustomed to moving. It’s not that they can’t do it, they just don’t know how. So it’s up to you to take them to school and teach them the way.
When you get frustrated, try to remember how long it took you to learn to read.
Picking the banjo is easier!
EDIT: One more thing…rolling your fingers in a table does NOT feel the same as rolling on the banjo. Like you, the backward, or MIT, roll comes off smoothly on the table, but if I try to reverse it and go TIM, the speed drops by 70%.
I don’t know why, but I suspect it’s some weird bio-mechanical issue from the tendons and wrist position combined with blood pressure and general mental outlook that makes it impossible to do a forward roll on a table top.
And for sheer , screaming ineptitude, try doing a square, or alternating thumb, roll on the table top. It you can do it, I wanna see the video! :smile:

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