Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

What the what the? String getting caught in my thumb pick

OK, this is nuts. This just started in the last few days. I’m going for the third or fourth string, or even the second, with my thumb and I miss and the string above it gets caught in my thumb pick, you know, in that part that wraps around the top of my thumb. Boy howdy, this is annoying. Even on songs I’ve known for years.

Any ideas why I’m doing this all of a sudden and how to rectify it?

Been there. This happened a few times after I bought my Blue Chip pick, which is worth every penny and more.

The only thing I can figure is that it glides across the strings much easier, and therefore it slid under the string easier and got caught.

It worked itself out within a couple of hours. No expert of course, but I think this is only temporary and will work itself out as you play more.


Yeh, had this happen. Specialy if you change picks. I would examine your hand position and angle of attack. Play very slow and see if you can see the problem and adjust hand position. Also if possible, try bending the lip of the thumb pick so it curls in and touches the Base. That way there is no hook to catch the string.
I recently changed finger picks to try out, my playing was awful until my brain adjusted and corrected for the different weight and feel.

Hi @maggie.williams1 This happens to me too.

Have you changed the style of your thumb pick recently ?

If so this might be the cause. In my case what I discovered was the piece of plastic that raps round the thumb was longer than on any of the previous picks I used. So using a pair of wire clippers and a sanding board I was able to reduce its length and resolve the issue.

If you haven’t changed the style of your thumb pick recently. Then perhaps the angle of your attack needs adjusting or maybe you are digging too deep and that’s causing the string above the one your aiming for to hook it’s self on the thumb pick.

It would help to see what your doing so if you could record a short video I am sure @BanjoBen would be happy to advise when he is able.

Assuming you’re still using the same thumb pick, this could be an indication that you’re picking with more force than you used to. Playing harder tends to produce more mistakes like missed strings. It can also cause you to go deeper on your picks, which would result in what you’re describing if you happen to miss a string.

Try to lighten up the force on your picking hand a little and see if the problem clears up.

Hi Maggie,
This happened to me all of sudden like as well, so this might work for you.

I found that if I changed the angle of the pick on my thumb just a little, the problem went away. I pulled the pick blade ‘back’ (so moving in the direction towards the back of my thumb) just a bit. This way, the edge of the band around your finger moves toward the backside of the thumb and is less exposed and less likely to catch in the strings.

Thanks everyone for chiming in. I don’t think I’ve changed anything recently. When it happens, I get it untangled and repeat the lick or whatever, often times it happens again. Then I repeat and slow down and watch my fingers and unbelievably, it gets snagged again. I then yell “c’mon Maggie”, slow it down even more and snag it again. Eventually I get it.

Sometimes I adjust the pick, just based on how it feels. I’ll start paying attention to my angle of attack and if I don’t get over it soon, I’ll try to video it. It is comforting to know that I’m not the only one.
Cheers all,

I have this problem sometimes but it happens with the finger picks. I’ve never had it to happen with the thumb pick

really? I’m having a hard time picturin that.

Hi @maggie.williams1 From what you are saying it sounds as though it’s you picking angle. You mention speed maybe in the excitement you unconsciously change your angle or dig a little deeper. I believe in time you’ll you will figure out what’s happening on your own. It’s frustrating I know. I would encourage you to submit a video and let @BanjoBen take a look.

Yeah, when you wear your picks backwards! No seriously, the string doesent get in the finger pick but it does hang occasionally.

I too, have had this problem; albeit infrequently in the past. Normally happened, as Mark R points out, when I was getting too aggressive and losing proper hand-form. Going to the JD Crowe thumbpick nearly eliminated the problem, although I did take a needle-nosed plier and bent the end the wraps over the top of the thumb into a shorter radius, thus reducing the change of a string getting under there. Fortunately, I’ve not experienced this in a long time. I might have Jinxed myself just now. :wink: