Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Fret banjo

Is it normal that my finger coordination just gets so mixed up??? It’s like my brain won’t move my fingers or my fingers can’t press the frets all the way down like they’re too short. Does this just come easier over time? It’s just messing me up from moving on


The short answer is “yes.” It’s normal and it does get easier over time. The problem is you are asking your fingers to do something they are not used to doing. They have to unlearn old habits and learn new ones.
Back up, slow down, relax and have fun. The more frustration that creeps in, the more the fingers will rebel. They are funny that way.

And, as a Beginner, that’s my expert advice. I think the real experts will tell you the same thing, because it happens to them, too.

And welcome to the Forum! You’ll find it’s filled with folks who are traveling the same path and welcome your companionship along the journey! They might be a little farther along, but I don’t think any of them are where they want to be yet!


Hi Cami and welcome to the forum. I agree with @BanJoe The Resident Beginning Expert. Do you happen to be on the Beginner’s Track? Boil dem cabbage down was the first song I learned. If I recall, it starts you out with fretting with 2 fingers. And it will just built from there.


Yup, @camibundy519, very normal. I’ve been at this for five years and still feel like a beginner. I think I always will as the challenges are endless, but the journey is fun and intoxicating. A couple pointers… A light touch on the fretboard is a good thing—press only hard enough to get a good tone. Pressing just behind each fret gives a clearer tone as well. And practice slow enough to reinforce correct finger placement. Once you’ve practiced a particularly hard section slowly and correctly for a thousand times, it will be easy to add speed. And finally, focus in on sections or chord shapes that give you trouble. It’s natural to practice an entire song when you only slip up at a couple spots. Focusing on just the hard measure will let you get a hundred passes at it pretty quickly. If you’re playing along with a song, use Amazing Slow Downer. It will not only let you slow down (as the name implies) but also let you create focused loops to practice. Sorry for the long post—we’ve all faced similar challenges and like to help. Good luck with your journey.


Hi @camibundy519 Cami welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum. Speaking from 14 years of experience it takes lots of time and practice for your brain to figure stuff out. What seems like a mountain to climb turns out to be a modest hilltop once your head gets round it. You cant rush the process, yes you will see youngsters and others take to the banjo like a duck takes to water but most of us need much more time. The great thing about being a @BanjoBen student is that Ben has taken the time to map out a lesson syllabus for you. All you need to do is follow the beginners learning track. How long it takes is down to how much study and practice you put in each day.