I have large fingers keep muting notes


I have a problem I am a beginner with the banjo and I keep flatning the notes any suggestions?


With practice you can learn to play where your finger isn’t against the open string that needs to ring.

Say I am play a roll on the first, second, and 5th strings (foggy mtn Brkdwn). If I need to fret the second string on the third fret I will place my fretting finger toward the third string enough so the first string will ring clear. this works for most things.

Another option is to take your banjo to a luthier and see if there is room on the neck to separate the strings a bit farther apart. this can be done at the nut, the bridge or both depending on what the player is looking for, but it will also cost some money.

Hope this helps. good Luck!


Thanks for the suggestion anything helps


I am no banjo player, but it’s a common problem starting out on guitar. It takes some time to get used to stacking your fingers so they make contact with the strings you want and not on the ones you don’t want. With time and repitition, the problem will go away for the most part. I have seen some guys with great big mitts play itty bitty instruments (check out Israel Kamakawiwo’ole). After some time you can use it as an advantage by fretting more than one string at a time with a single finger on guitar (I suspect the same would come in handy on banjo).


This happens to everyone at first. Make sure you have a conventional playing posture, and make sure you have the banjo oriented ‘just right’. Try looking at videos of good players, then copy they way they hold the banjo. The more you play, the easier it becomes to fret the chords. When I have problems with the guitar – especially F chords – I find that holding it in a more vertical orientation helps a lot. It helps me get my hand farther around the neck. If sausage-fingered Itzhak Perlman can play a little bitty violin, the rest of us with normal fingers ought be be able to play guitars and banjos!


To comfort you i can confirm what the other have said, just keep practicing and it will go away. I used to have this problem even with quite small fingers. Don’t worry :slight_smile:!


The trick I tell my students, ( I’m a guitar player) is concentrate on using the finger TIPS of your fretting hand. A lot of unwanted muting comes from not having your fingers arched enough. If your fretting with your fingertips, your fingers will arch themselves. Arch also = strength. Second tip: A lot of beginners/intermediates want to see everything that they’re doing on the guitar. Some beginners even start holding the guitar flat like a lap steel! The more you rotate your guitar flat, the harder and harder it’s going to become to play it because your fretting hand can’t rotate with it. Unfortunately, you can’t play with your eyes, so hold your instrument correctly and make it easier for that fretting hand. It might be frustrating not having a clear view of your instrument, but like most stuff with instruments, you get use to it until it becomes normal. If you really need to get a good look at your instrument, do it after your done playing!


Is there an exersice to help with arching my fingers?


Maybe some folks on the forum got some good ideas for banjo exercises. I’d just keep your fingertips in mind. If your using the tips of your fingers, your hand and fingers will be arched naturally, maybe even your whole arm. As with most things in playing, it’s not a 100% rule. You got to do what makes sense. Especially when your dealing with chords. Don’t worry about it too much. The more you play, the more your hand will figure out how to stay out of the way. If you’re playing and you notice that you’re muting something that shouldn’t be muted, ask yourself if using your fingertip will help you clear that muted string. When I was growing up, one of the best guitar players I knew was a huge guy between 6-7 ft. He had big hands,but played heavy metal, shredding kind of stuff on a little tiny Charvel Guitar with an skinny little neck. So playing with large hands is possible. Good luck!


I am a super beginner and one big help for me was making sure my left hand finger nails were cut short so I got good contact with my finger tips. Not “sore/tender” short though obviously! :laughing: Other than that, a ridiculous amount of repitition!! Enjoy the process!! :smiley:



fellas,i used to work with a guy who had fingers as big as link sausages,and if he could hit the strings without muting them anyone and i do mean anyone can learn to do it.i used to think i never would either,but after lots of practice,now it’s second nature.so don’t give up just keep practicing,and i’m sure you’ll get it.