Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Left hand - lifting fingers

This could probably be asked in the other instrument forums as well, but here we go…
I´m having trouble building speed, and it seems that I´m lifting my fingers way too high on the left hand…
Do any of you have a trick or lesson on how to be more economic in my left hand technique?
Appreciate any help!

Hi @Kjartis Welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum. I am not a mandolin player but one thing I do on the banjo is use a pivot location. One or two strings I keep fretted as I move to the next target tone. That way the fingers remain close to the fret board.

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Hi KJartan, and welcome to the forum!

Slowing down and concentrating on that specific problem will usually help.

With time, as you get more relaxed playing, you should be able to “hover” just above the fingerboard.


Hello @Kjartis Welcome!!!


First and most importantly, thanks and congrats on your first post. Please do so often now that the ice is broken.

I have the exact same issue… And even have noticed my pick hand is advancing in speed faster than my left fingering hand can support.

I also watch and notice my fingers are too far away from the fretboard (by my observation)… but you know… Other gifted players seem to have their technique which isn’t always the closest finger position… but they get the job done.

The result is a muddled mess… even as I know the scale runs and fingerings… the timing of the two is not always insync.

@Fiddle_wood, I would presume your answer also applies to this experience of the coordination of both hands?

Honestly, I am encouraged by 2 things… my picking speed is increasing… and the regular practice of 2-octave scales seem to be helping… but oh, is that B-major scale a bugger! :roll_eyes:

Thanks for welcoming me and some good advices.
I’ll work on it and hopefully speed will come crawling my way:-)
Here in Norway we’re all staying at home as much as possible these days, so it’s practice time…

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yes…that and it takes time.

It also helps to correct things a few notes or measures at a time.


That’s a problem I had as well when I was first starting banjo. It persisted for about a year, and possibly even longer, but I noticed as I work on more advanced positions and scales, it seems to have gone away. I haven’t had the “flying fingers” problem for a few years now. Play slowly and try to keep your fingers close, and work on songs that really involve the left hand to keep it “focused.”