Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Index finger issue


I am a banjo player from England, trying to get back into playing, having real issues with my index finger missing strings mainly in forward rolls, I can remember the tunes, how they should and what I should pick, but my hand doesn’t want to play along.

Seriously becoming a problem as every attempt to get thing working again ends up in a tangled mess of displeasure, anyone have this issue or something similar, looking for a new angle and a way to cure this problem and get my banjo mojo back.



Hey Richard!

Sorry to hear about the issue. Would it be possible to upload some video from a close viewpoint of your picking hand? And, play at various speeds, even and especially really slow?

I don’t know if it’s a form or physiological issue. Usually I hear about this (or experience it) with backward rolls, not forward. It may be possible that you straighten out your pick to help with the problem. I’d like to see a picture of your pick angles if possible.

Hello Ben

Thanks for your quick reponse, it doesn’t happen at very slow speed, and I mean slow, its around mid range speed and above, the G tag kick is a repeat offender, I miss the slide note quite alot, again forward rolls on the 2nd and 3rd string other rolls seem OK, so fireball mail is out of the question as is life’s mountain railway as its mostly forward, is it possible that it’s due to the long break in playing, around 5 years? Will try to get a video made of the issue.


Yes, it’s very possible that the reason is because you’re out of practice and you’ll have to systematically build it back up. The best way I know to do it is to keep playing, but you need to discover at what speed you begin to miss it. Then, I can prescribe you a workout plan to begin making progress.

Hi Ben

OK that sounds like a solid plan, thanks for taking the time to help with this, want to sign up for gold membership but don’t see it being the right time right now, will get a video made, how do I upload it to this forum?


Technically that’s a Gold Pick member feature only, but I’ll help you out as I have time. Upload it to YouTube then share the link here. Thanks!

Hello Ben

I wanted to say thank you for your kind offer of help in my current situation, I have been doing some thinking over the last few days and have realised that the musical time in my life has come to a end, I started in 2001, and had a great time, meeting different players, block, mullins, evans and Tony triscka to name a few, I have been listening to bluegrass less since my daughter was born, to a point where I don’t listen to it at all now, I still like it, but it doesn’t drive me the way it used to, I was like, what a great solo, love that tune, what a cool sounding lick, and I would learn it, bits of it, and add it to my " sound ". I still love the banjo and think that Earl was the cleverest man and humblest man who ever lived, I shall keep the 2 banjos I have as they are beautiful things, which If I part with, shall never be able to own again.

So once again thank you, your playing is incredible and I love the sound you create, continue to help those who need it and keep inspiring young minds, and the old ones.


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That makes me sad to read, Richard. I do understand having to cut back after the birth of a child, though. They tend to require a lot of time.

Glad you’re keeping those banjos. You never know when the itch will find you again.

Best of luck to you and your family.

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