Left-hand Banjo Tips: Thumb & Elbow

In my latest video, I go over some left-hand tips that will help you move your way around the neck of the instrument quicker.

Banjo Technique for the Left-Hand

1)Keep the Thumb closer to the center of the neck rather than over the top of the neck.

2)Visualize the Elbow being heavy and hanging down, do not twist or contort it sideways or upwards.

The reason for keeping the thumb in the center of the neck is because it will increase your flexibility and make your hand more relaxed. Not to mention it helps maneuver past the fifth string quicker/easier. You will not have to consciously move it out of the way every time you go past the fifth fret.

Many will argue there is nothing wrong with hanging the Thumb over the fingerboard. The neck is quite slim on many banjos, so on those, you’ll find it’s difficult to keep the thumb near the center. My own thumb slides up near the top of the neck of my Gibson.

However, if you want to play jazz/classical banjo, where you have to move quickly, play long stretched out chords; I do firmly believe you’ll have a much easier time if you adopt these positions demonstrated in the video.

This is even more important if you have shorter fingers that aren’t able to reach as far. You’ll find the thumb slides more center so your hand can open up and extend.

Jody Written by:

Professional Musician of 27 years. I've played Banjo and Acoustic Guitar on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry, and The Ryman Auditorium. I've also played in six different countries.

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