Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Thumb taps head

hi @BanjoBen
i’m about 5 months new and seem to tap the banjo head with my thumb pick when i play. this happens sometimes - maybe 25% of the time. Does this matter? Will I grow out of it? Any advice?
I’ve tried different length thumb picks - currently using a Dunlop. Also i fingerpick a little on guitar without picks, which maybe affects this issue.
Thanks for reading and helping if you can!

Some other members here had this problem (some still do) and the solution was to not pick so hard

You will probably grow out of it, and it also depends on how bad it is. My thumb hits the banjo head a bit but it’s not very loud, and I know lots of players that do. One solution, as mentioned, is to maybe lighten up a bit. However, if you play a lot of fingerstyle guitar with no pick and go to the banjo, that is the issue…it’s really not a big deal, probably.

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Actually, my thumb must tap a little based on the marks on my banjo head :thinking: I also play fingerstyle guitar a lot without picks, but my hand position is completely different. I’ve never heard my thumb tapping though (except in clawhammer where it adds a nice drumbeat)

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Thank you @Dragonslayer and @BanjoBen. I am helped and encouraged ! Thank you for the site, lessons, and community.

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Earl Scruggs did it so do I .

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Earl also picked his nose…
Just sayin :wink:

I do too, so does Banjo Billy

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I have been playing for a few years now. Every two years or so, I have to change my thumbpick because I’ve worn down the tip from hitting the head.
Early on, like the OP I hit the head harder and much more often. Now, because I’ve gotten used to the picks, I just scrape the head every once in a while.

Classic case of The Young Man’s Paradox.

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thanks @bluenote231

You WILL grow out of it. The only advice I can give comes from watching myself play “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” the first time I uploaded the video. You’d think I was trying to play a drum rather than a banjo. It was that video that taught me to lighten up on my picking hand force. That’s all I had to do to get most of the thumb strikes to stop, and it allowed me to play faster, too.

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