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 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Hand & Finger Strength


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/71004

serialOC - Posted - 01/04/2007:  06:00:33


Hi all. I've been able to get a lot of practice time in this past few weeks & have gotten to the point to where my fingers have started to develop callouses on the left hand & can play for a few hours now without any left hand problems, my right hand however gives out pretty fast, especially my middle finger. I was thinking of getting a GHS Handmaster Plus so I could work those fingers when I am watching TV with the Family or whatever. Anyone used one of these or perhaps have other suggestions for hand exercises?

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Proudly learnin to pick more than my nose!

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Danielg - Posted - 01/04/2007:  06:12:09


Throw a mute on and play while watching TV. It's cheaper and works all the same muscles as playing because it is

serialOC - Posted - 01/04/2007:  06:20:37


quote:
Originally posted by Danielg

Throw a mute on and play while watching TV. It's cheaper and works all the same muscles as playing because it is



Wish I could, I have a 2 year old that is graphed to my lap when I am at home, I have my garage setup for practice.

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Proudly learnin to pick more than my nose!

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beegee - Posted - 01/04/2007:  07:00:31


I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV. I can't relate to a tired right hand, because it's never happened to me in over 40 years of picking. I think the best workout is picking, but many people claim success with either a spring resistance or sponge finger-squeeze exercise device. You may want to talk this over with a physical therapist at your local hospital or fitness center. You may also want to examine your right hand position for mobility issues.

_________________________________________
I want to laugh when I see "serious inquiries only"
Grifton NC

Texasbanjo - Posted - 01/04/2007:  08:39:26


If your hand is getting tired, you may be doing something wrong, the hand shouldn't get tired unless you're practicing for hours and hours. Now, maybe it's the arch in your wrist (if you arch your wrist) that's too arched, if you will -- that'll tire the hand out in a hurry because it's in an unnatural position. You might also be lifting your fingers too far up before you strike a string and that'll cause tension and tiredness. Try picking as close to the string as possible with as little motion as possible.

If none of these ideas are your problem, maybe you should check with a doctor to see if you have a problem with the hand/muscles/tendons, etc.

Let's Pick!
Texas Banjo

serialOC - Posted - 01/04/2007:  08:48:45


quote:
Originally posted by beegee

I can't relate to a tired right hand, because it's never happened to me in over 40 years of picking. You may also want to examine your right hand position for mobility issues.


quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

Now, maybe it's the arch in your wrist (if you arch your wrist) that's too arched, if you will -- that'll tire the hand out in a hurry because it's in an unnatural position. You might also be lifting your fingers too far up before you strike a string and that'll cause tension and tiredness. Try picking as close to the string as possible with as little motion as possible.


I don't have an instructor except for DVD lessons & David Cavage's Musicmoose.org lessons, but I am pretty sure I'm doing it right. I just shot a couple photos while playing with my digicam. Hows it look?





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ole blackie - Posted - 01/04/2007:  10:50:36


With the pics that you gave, your position looks ok to me. You may have some tendon or artthritis issues. I have artrhitis in my hands and sometimes when I pick for several hours it bothers me. You might want to get that checked out. A Rheumatologist is the kind of MD you need to go to.
Wil

..."The Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble". I Peter 5:5

Mr. Disco - Posted - 01/04/2007:  13:11:47


SerialOC --
You can play in while that 2-year-old sleeps, and give your right hand a real work-out with velcro on the strings on the picking side of the bridge. I'm in a small house with young kids and have been known to pick in hotel rooms. A rag in the head helps, but velcro on the strings takes away just about all of the volume. The loudest sound becomes your thumb pick on the head. Your right hand will feel strong in no time.
-- Mr. Disco

Shalom.

serialOC - Posted - 01/04/2007:  14:25:14


quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Disco

SerialOC --
You can play in while that 2-year-old sleeps, and give your right hand a real work-out with velcro on the strings on the picking side of the bridge.
-- Mr. Disco
Shalom.


So I would pace the velcro face down horizontal across the strings right in front of the bridge?

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Mr. Disco - Posted - 01/04/2007:  16:34:03


SerialOC --
Nothing will quiet a banjo down easier or more quiet than velcro.
Yeah, place the velcro in front of the bridge, so it'll force your right hand just a little bit further from the bridge than you probably play.
You'll need both the vel- and -cro parts of the velcro. I've used about half to three-quarters of an inch. Where the strings are too loud, squeeze the two pieces of the velcro tighter around that string. If one string is too muffled compared to the others, pull apart the velcro and put it together a little looser on that string.
Shalom.
-- Mr. Disco

serialOC - Posted - 01/04/2007:  16:36:41


Got it.. Thanks.

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Mr. Disco - Posted - 01/04/2007:  17:11:51


serialOC --
You're welcome. -- Hope it makes a difference for you. Before too long, you'll probably be craving better sound. -- Stuffing a rag inside the pot right under the head sounds better and works well, but is not as quick or quiet as the velcro. I also really like Danielq's suggestion of a mute and television, I like the Ultimate Banjo mute by Goldtone -- very quick, good sound, but no where near as quiet as that velcro.


Shalom.
-- Mr. Disco

kremec - Posted - 01/05/2007:  03:50:44


Hey, serial,

Are those Propic Sharpies? I use them also (if thats what you use). Try to bend your middle finger f/pick blade just a little bit further to the nail side and see if that helps. It should ease up tension in your middle finger striking the bottom string.

Hope I´m not talking nonsence here.

Kresimir

serialOC - Posted - 01/05/2007:  05:00:43


Yea they r sharpies, I'll try bending it a bit more. Thanks Kreso.

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kremec - Posted - 01/05/2007:  05:45:09


You´re wellcome. Also, how far are your anchoring fingers from 1st string? Judging from those pics they seem to be too far (¾#733;?). If they are, your ring finger has to travel longer distance to strike a string and there may be too much tendon tension generated from such movement. Try to put your anchor finger closer to the first string (½#733; or closer?) and see what happens.
Maybe it will help, I don´t know. Keep trying.

Kresimir

kremec - Posted - 01/05/2007:  05:48:57


Just ignore those numbers in my previous post.

They should read 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch (or less).

Sorry
Kresimir

serialOC - Posted - 01/05/2007:  08:09:31


I measured to where my finger prints are on the tape.

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kremec - Posted - 01/05/2007:  09:35:46


Yes, it seems fine, and if I may say your hand position is very "Earl like".
Could arch be a problem as stated above? Or excessive practicing? Or...?
I just don´´t know. Maybe someone with more experience than me will chime in.
Hang in there Serial.
Kresimir

ronjo843 - Posted - 01/05/2007:  10:13:28


hi. I can't help you with your hands, but what is the brand of that good looking archtop your playing? I have a 63 mastertone that I play daily. And if you want more ring out of it, put on a sosobee bridge. You won't regret it. Keep playing.

John Allison - Posted - 01/05/2007:  10:21:10


I use a squeeze ball to keep my fingers limber if I am not going to play for a while and that helps quite a bit. There are a number of things that could possibly contribute to right hand soreness and fatigue including: hand position; length of playing time; physical problems such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrom, weak musculature, to name a few; and tension. My guess would be tension. When I first started playing, I would be tense and my hand pain reflected that. When I first started playing in front of others, same thing. Occassionally, if I do a lot of rapid pickin for a long period of time I will tense up as I get tired and my right hand will feel the burn. Try more relaxed playing, it may do the trick.

Froggie

serialOC - Posted - 01/05/2007:  18:00:01


quote:
Originally posted by ronjo843

hi. I can't help you with your hands, but what is the brand of that good looking archtop your playing? I have a 63 mastertone that I play daily. And if you want more ring out of it, put on a sosobee bridge. You won't regret it. Keep playing.


Its a 1980 Vega/Galaxy, I just ordered a new head, a snuffy bridge & a strightpipe tailpiece for it from JDMC.

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plunker - Posted - 01/05/2007:  22:12:43


Jeff, I have been studying your pictures for a couple of days now and it seems like your forearm seems kinda close to the tailpiece. When you sit and play, is the banjo on your thigh or in your lap between the thighs? I' m thinking that it might be a bit high up and that might cause the middle finger to be picking from a position that is not as relaxed as it could be. I would suggest a lower positioning and maybe bringing the neck up a bit toward a 40 to 60 degree angle from vertical. That would straighten out the wrist a bit and cause less stress on the muscles and tendons used with the middle finger. It appears to me that there is a bit more curl in the middle finger than what I'm used to seeing. Everything else looks pretty good. Wish I could be of more help.

BigD

CurtissWhite - Posted - 01/06/2007:  15:22:56


serialOC,
I used hand excersizes that developed the speed of my fingers in each direction. A squeezeball will develop the speed toward the string. It is also important to develop the speed in which your fingers get back into position. To do this I place a strong rubberband on the tip of my fingers and thumb and then spread them and hold it. You will feel the muscles and tendons ache.

Earl's the man!!!

serialOC - Posted - 01/08/2007:  19:04:37


quote:
Originally posted by plunker

Jeff, I have been studying your pictures for a couple of days now and it seems like your forearm seems kinda close to the tailpiece. When you sit and play, is the banjo on your thigh or in your lap between the thighs? I' m thinking that it might be a bit high up and that might cause the middle finger to be picking from a position that is not as relaxed as it could be. I would suggest a lower positioning and maybe bringing the neck up a bit toward a 40 to 60 degree angle from vertical. That would straighten out the wrist a bit and cause less stress on the muscles and tendons used with the middle finger. It appears to me that there is a bit more curl in the middle finger than what I'm used to seeing. Everything else looks pretty good. Wish I could be of more help.

BigD



I was standing up & leaning forward when that was taken. I have raised my armrest about a quarter inch & dropped my right hand exercise back to max of 90 minutes a day & seem to be doing alot better now. Thanks for all the advice.

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Proudly learnin to pick more than my nose!

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AD3AD3AD3 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  13:14:41


I'm glad you started this thread; I tried the combination of towel inside the resonator and up under the head AND the velcro on the strings. It quiets that machine all the way down.
Thanks.

Ad3

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