Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Left hand position chords vs playing notes in a solo

Hopefully I can convey my question. When I make the 4 finger chords, or any chords, what is the best position for my thumb to be in to get enough pressure to hold down the strings. How should my thumb be placed to get the most efficient pressure without straining my thumb. Does it change from doing notes in a solo. Right now I’ve been trying to have as little pressure and just rest it on top but sometimes I need to apply more pressure.


I’m probably not the best one to answer this, so anyone correct me if I’m wrong. I was formally trained in violin and we were taught to rest the thumb on the back of the neck in the curve in first position; they taught us to make believe a little bird was between the palm and the neck and to not crush the bird. I’m beginning on mandolin and I’m having pretty good luck doing that, although I do have to move the thumb over the top of the neck for the 2 finger D in first position though.


I cover some of this in my last mando rhythm lesson (alt rhy in G) but I tend to use as much pressure with my thumb as I do with my hand.