Lesson #008, Banjo Hand Positions

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #008, Banjo Hand Positions

Hi Everyone,

Its very important to anchor your right hand to the banjos' head
to give your hand stability when you're picking on the strings. I like to use my pinky and my ring finger placed on the head about 1/2 inch away from the bridge and about a 1/4 inch away from the first string. Later on in a future lesson I'll be talking about sliding your right hand to different positions on the head to give the banjo a more mellow or brighter sound, depending on the position of the right hand. As for the left hand, cup it like you see in the video, and place it lightly against the back of the neck. Later on when we start picking and forming chords,I'll show you how the left hand is going to be formed against the neck to give it the most natural and workable positions when doing different things on the neck.
Remember, its very important to get that right hand anchored, so take your time and get it in the correct position before you start. If you cant anchor your ring finger, at least anchor your pinky so you'll have that stability.

Good Luck Everyone,


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.