Finger Pressure and Dynamics

A topic I often discuss with students is Right-Hand Finger Pressure:

Learning the proper finger pressure to use at the right moment on each string is something to practice as soon as one gets the basic string sequences of their rolls.

The banjo by its nature involves playing A LOT of non-melody notes along with the melody.  If the proper note is not accented or brought out, it gets lost in the sea of notes.  It’s not only the notes but how they are played.

1)Take a Simple Roll (Forward, Forward Reverse) and try to play them as soft as possible, next gradually increasing the volume until you are playing them as loud as possible.  Don’t Break a string!  You should be creating a volume swell from soft to loud.  This trains your hand/fingers to find a variety of dynamic levels, it is also good for helping your hand to relax while playing.

2)Take one roll and try moving the accented note to different notes within the roll.  This will help you develop the ability to emphasize any note within the roll at any time.

These two things will help you get from playing mechanical to musical.



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Jody Hughes Written by:

I am a full-time banjo and acoustic guitar teacher, performer and composer. I have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry and The Ryman Auditorium. My interests include developing educational materials for the advancing banjoist and composing Original Music mixing my background in Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical and Latin Music.

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