This lesson focuses on building your understanding and technique in the left hand or fretting hand. Tony will help you find the best posture to play in comfort and build speed as well as pointing out some of the common traps and bad habits to avoid. Learning good posture and technique early on in the process of developing as a player will pay off over time.
(banjo strumming) - Well, we're in the very early stages right now of your banjo life. And it's important to talk about left hand positioning. There are a couple of general ways of holding your hand and there are variations on each of these. But really, one way is you just kinda grab the neck and the neck is maybe at something like a 35 or 40 degree angle from the floor. It's not parallel to the floor, but all of you will be doing different things. Some of you may have it here or some down here.
But, in general, if you're having it not way up here, like this, but down farther, like this, in a general sense. Again, not exactly parallel to the floor. You're just grabbing it, you're having the neck right in here, right kinda where the thumb, the space between the thumb and the index finger. Just grabbing it like that, so the thumb is kinda sticking up like that. (banjo strumming) Like that, you can see the thumb wrapped around there.
So that's one way of doing it, one general way of doing it. There are times when you're moving up the neck where the thumb may end up behind the neck, like this. But in general, especially when you're playing down here and positions up here, the thumb is mostly, often wrapped around the neck. But generally, just do what comes naturally to your hand cause like I say, there's some times when you might do something else. But in a general sense, especially down the neck, you're just grabbing it like this, it's just kinda caught in there. Now, some people, and particularly classical guitar players play at a much higher angle like this.
And the important thing is you want to have a flat wrist. I spoke to a classical guitar player many years ago and she talked about that. You don't want to have a, you want your wrist not be like this, or like this, but to be flat. And so, if you're up like this and you're fretting like it this, like fretting a C chord, you're going to have a big angle in your wrist here. And it's not necessarily a problem, but it might lead to some tendon or muscle issues.
So, that's why they generally suggest when the neck is way up like this, a classical guitar player will have the thumb behind the neck. Like if you're playing the D7 chord or a C chord, so you're not getting that big arch in the wrist. So, it's not wrong to have the thumb behind the neck, if the neck is like this. If it's down like this, then by having the thumb behind the neck, you're going to have kinda this outward arch. This sort of a thing going, instead of having a flat wrist like that. So, most people though, just have the neck again at that 35 to 40 degree-ish angle from the floor and just are grabbing it like this.
So, and then anywhere in between that you can use your own judgment. You should be comfortable with the way you're holding the banjo, that's the important thing. Okay, hope that helps.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Holding the banjo
- Tuning a banjo
- Positioning the right and left hands
- Reading tablature
- Finger picking
- Thumb rolling
- Practicing rolls and chords
- Playing classic bluegrass tunes