Right Hand Tips & Speed Exercises for Banjo

In this video, I go over the right-hand tips I give my students to instill efficient motion in their fingers. I also cover some speed exercises that you might find useful if you are struggling to get more BPM out of your right-hand fingers.

1)Efficiency of motion-You have to make sure your fingers are returning to the strings quickly with as little motion as possible. An exercises you can do to help with this is to pluck the string and then immediately try to stop the string from ringing with the same finger. This is training you to return to the string very quickly.

2)Speed Bursts-You want to become the Usain Bolt of the banjo? Well, you will need to do some sprinting. Basically, play a roll slow and then quickly play a burst of 3-4 notes. Instead of trying to play an entire song or entire roll, you are limiting yourself to only playing a few notes fast. This allows you to get used to the feeling of playing fast without sustaining tension in your hand. Think of a runner training to become a sprinter, he has to work on getting out of the hole, a fast take-off

3)Don’t slap at the strings as this causes excess string noise. Your fingers should not look like they are jumping hurdles nor extend way past the strings.

4)Be Careful not to swing your thumb in wide circular motions. This is excess motion you don’t need. Your thumb is attached at your wrist. Visualize your thumb falling from this place via gravity. This allows it to be relaxed and bounce right back to where it began from

5)Be careful not to hit the head with your fingerpicks or thumbpicks when striking the strings. You don’t want this sound, especially as you play faster and faster. It creates a drag on your fingers, slowing you down, not to mention the negative tone consequences.

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