Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Some days I'm just rubbish!

It’s not always easy to get in the practise time you need with family commitments. However, some days if I have missed 2-3 days getting in some practise I can pickup the banjo and feel I’ve lost months…hitting wrong strings and just not getting it together. Another time I can miss days and play better. It’s really weird how up and down being a novice banjo player is. Anyone else get that?

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All the time. Some days it’s really frustrating trying to play. I make sure my posture is correct, my hand placement is right, and my tempo isn’t too fast. If that’s all ok, then I try to slow things down a little and let my fingers warm up. That usually fixes the problem after 10 or 15 minutes.

If not, I just set the instrument down and come back later. I don’t want to practice mistakes.

I’d say it happens to all of us, and with any instrument. Try to not let it discourage you. An occasional lousy practice session is just part of the deal. :+1:

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Yes ME 2.

YES, ME TOO!!! you’re not alone

I have the same experience. My goal when I practice is to finish the song regardless of mistakes along the way. I myself can play slow, intermediate or sometimes fast and make a mistake just about anywhere but I find if I can play thru the mistakes and finish the song I’ve done ok. I can go back and work on problems after that. I remember a time when a mistake would stop me right in my tracks and that was pretty frustrating.

Haha…I think what you would call a bad playing day Ben, would be just a tad short of brilliance :sweat_smile: However, i’m glad it’s not just me as it can dent your confidence really bad some days. You just think aaw…i’m just never gonna play smooth and clean enough. However I’ve only been pickin 18 months so I guess that’s not long really in the scheme of things. :wink:

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It’s all part of the adventure and happens to everyone.


This condition happens to me MOST days. Lol.

Seriously, I think I SHOULD be progressing but my fingers don’t cooperate.

Listen, I think it is all a matter of degree, right?

I mean… if @BanjoBen and the other more experienced players have this, we SHOULD have it… and still strive to overcome it.

When these rough patches come, I try to reflect on all that I couldn’t do when I started… so as to still have a sense of the progress I’ve made.

Then, I either take a break or play some real basic exercises.

That usually helps. Cheer up and enjoy the journey!

Update to this post. Although I still make mistakes my picking has taken a step forward again this week. It’s starting to feel more relaxed and not taking me so long to warm up. I think i’ve broken through my wall and moving forward again.


ME THREE! I have a few quick warmup exercises (guitar) with some simple cross picking and “scale walks”, and if I stumble on those, I usually put down my box for a little while then pick it up again and just try to kinda work through it. Sometimes it comes back quickly, sometimes not, but it always comes back.

I had a real surprise a few weeks ago. When I came back from a 4-5 day trip (with no no playing nor practice) picked up my guitar, and felt smooth and “on” right away! So maybe taking short breaks from time to time might actually help!

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Yes I find that sometimes and sometimes not. Playing banjo I’ve found if I don’t have my picks sitting just right on my fingers will effect how my warm up goes from the start. Also the muscle in my hand has to feel relaxed but firm in my anchor pinky. If my anchor feels weak from not playing then everything goes wrong. It’s difficult to explain, but when everything goes right you can feel it in your hand, well that’s the nearest I can explain it for me anyway. :blush:

This is a big one for me, too. I have my finger picks bent just so for each finger, so I have my way of knowing which one goes on which finger. If I ever get them on the wrong fingers, I can tell it within the first few seconds of playing. I hope that never happens in front of people. :flushed:

Get some shelors… They have a big ‘s’ on one pick so you can’t get them mixed up. Plus they are really comfortable and have improved my playing since I bought some. I have to have mine slightly rotated on my fingers, but not much. :+1:

These angled picks are quite like what I use except I use 2 angle stainless steel picks. They are a heavier gauge metal than the nickel blades.

Nice. I don’t actually angle my shelors I just turn them slightly on my finger so the blades hit the string horizontally.
We are all different and whatever works is the way to go I would say. :wink: