Hand Position

Murphy HenryI have one thing to say about right-hand position on the banjo: if it hurts don’t do it! If someone tells you you should hold your hand in a certain way and it hurts don’t do it! If someone says this is the way Earl did it or J.D. did it and they are great banjo players so their way must be the right way and their way hurts you don’t do it!

And now I’ve said more than one thing, but the sentences all end the same way so it really is just the one thing, said three times in different ways in case you didn’t get it the first time: If it hurts don’t do it!

I don’t care what anybody says you do NOT have to keep both fingers (ring and little) down on the head. Nor do you have to have a great deal of arch in your wrist. There is NOT NOT NOT only one “correct” way to hold your right hand. There are many “correct” ways to hold your right hand (that’s the hand with the picks on it [unless you play left handed 🙂 ] ), and you have to find the one that is right for you. And once you’ve found something that works and is comfortable, stick with it. Don’t be changing your hand position just because someone tells you to.

One thought on “Hand Position

  1. Bobby

    Hey Murphy-
    I think I might be having a bit of an issue with my right hand. I’ve been playing about a year and a half. I noticed that my fingers do stay reasonable curled, but my index finger rises and falls to strike the string (as opposed to bending at knuckle). I’ve read some websites that say the picks should never go more than 1/4 inch above the string. I’ve been trying to retrain my right hand so the index doesn’t lift as much, but I end up with a lot of tension trying to keep my hand in a claw position. My initial position is more relaxed and comfortable, but I do make mistakes. It also doesn’t look like my picking is as tight as all the video I have seen of professional players. . .

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