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Mar 31, 2020 - 1:32:47 AM

badgerteeth

Australia

3 posts since 9/18/2019

Im at am intermediate level and I think I'm at the point where I either start anchoring my pinky and stick to practising while anchored or start practising harder tunes without anchoring and then won't be able to start anchoring down the track.

Is not anchoring your pinky a bad habit and will it affect my playing negatively down the line when I try and play much faster?

Also, when I try and play with an anchored pinky I find it slightly difficult to keep the rest of my fingers loose and nimble - will independency between the strain of my pinky and my plucking fingers come naturally or is there a specific way I would need to practice with an anchored pinky?

Mar 31, 2020 - 3:19:18 AM

CarloSc

Netherlands

8 posts since 9/1/2019

Virtually all of the professional players anchor their fingers. Most of them anchor their pinky and ring finger. I've heard of a couple that only anchor their pinky, but I can't recall any names. Personally I find it extremely hard to anchor both, while it feels very natural to just anchor the pinky.

Point being, it's definitely a good idea to anchor. Find what works best for you: just the pinky, just the ring finger, or both. Play around not just with different fingers, but also in terms of the angle at which the finger is resting on the head. I find it way easier to play with the pinky resting on the head at a 45-ish degree angle rather than perfectly perpendicular.

I am sure that you will find a way to anchor without straining your fingers or affecting the sound!

Edited by - CarloSc on 03/31/2020 03:20:52

Mar 31, 2020 - 5:46:31 AM
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GStump

USA

360 posts since 9/12/2006

This has been discussed since the beginning of time. I feel that most professional players do anchor both the ring finger and the pinky on the head, but of course there are exceptions. Generally speaking, it isn't a natural thing, nor really all that easy; but just a bit of "JUST DO IT," and it does get easier and more natural feeling as time goes by. Many argue about the relative merits of both approaches, and some will say that you can actually hurt your fingers and hands by anchoring both. Others certainly disagree with that thought, and I have to say I'm not aware of anyone who has actually hurt themselves by doing that. In the long run, I believe that anchoring both fingers give you a more stable platform for the right hand (which really is where the magic begins) and therefore can give you a stronger base upon to branch out. Earl could do it either way, and would actually play with both fingers down, OR - either ring or pinky, OR - neither!! It depended upon exactly what he wanted at a particular moment as to power and tone and whatever it was he was trying to achieve. He was in control of his hands and fingers, and they were NOT in control of him!! It is weird to hear someone say, "I just cannot do it." PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Me personally - I tied the two together with a rubber band... wasn't long at all until both fingers just decided to work together as a pair, and now, to get either finger to lift away from, or come off the head, I actually have to consciously MAKE that happen. They both just want to stay down!!

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:33:49 AM

10746 posts since 2/12/2011

Try all ways - whatever works for you.

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:40 AM
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685 posts since 8/26/2009

Not an expert by any means of course, but because this question comes up almost weekly:
The Masters of the Five String book (on page 39 in my book) had a followup poll of 51 (masters?) on this question. Of the 39 respondents of this survey (19 did not) anchor both fingers. Some like Doug Dillard did not anchor at all.
Look at your favorites on youtube. Looks like about half either way.
I think it boils down to the players that can do (and tell the rest of us we should) and the one's that can't or have to force themselves because the third finger wants to float along with the middle finger are many more than the often quoted 10%. I personally think more than 50% can't or don't choose too. My unasked opinion is to do what works best for us and not beat ourselves to death because Earl did it that way.
AS Sammy Shelor mentioned at a seminar I attended: If he had to anchor both fingers he could not play the banjo.
Phil

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:42:47 AM

685 posts since 8/26/2009

Ken Waters answered it better while I was typing.

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:48:56 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

24244 posts since 8/3/2003

There's another discussion on this subject here: banjohangout.org/topic/362573

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:13:50 AM

714 posts since 7/8/2006

Anchoring is definitely necessary, but it doesn't necessarily need to be fingers. Anchoring fingers probably works best for most players, bur anchoring the forearm on the arm rest works just fine for others. Do whatever works best for you. Happy pickin' .

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:16:14 AM

2114 posts since 5/2/2012

I'm a pinky person too.

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:26:40 AM
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573 posts since 11/21/2018

Pinky only, here. Tried two fingers down for years, rubber banded, etc. Hasn't ever been a problem and it's definitely dependent on YOUR hand size, shape and ergonomics. Many players spend so much valuable time trying to force their hand to keep two fingers down that they could've used to just play better, faster, stronger. It's really a shame that we were all lectured forever that we MUST keep both fingers down. It's all mainly a "device" to keep your fingers at a constant/uniform distance above the strings so you can find 'em as you increase your speed in playing.

Mar 31, 2020 - 11:30:17 AM

548 posts since 1/28/2013

Get a Dr. Arm wooden armrest from banjolit, wear a wrist wrap, and you will not have to anchor any fingers, you may be able to take off the wrist wrap after awhile. You will have more freedom, as far as rhythm, bounce, even developing your own style. 


Edited by - jan dupree on 03/31/2020 11:37:36

Mar 31, 2020 - 11:45:37 AM

6575 posts since 8/30/2004

This is pure baloney. Bennett has always anchored his fingers. He is just pushing a product. Do you notice that he never shows his R. H. picking?...Dan why do you care so much about this sort of stuff?...geez!!!!

Edited by - Jack Baker on 03/31/2020 11:48:46

Mar 31, 2020 - 12:59:38 PM

548 posts since 1/28/2013

He never mentioned anything about anchoring. The truth is, I could care less about anchoring, that's why I don't do it. But some people are obsessed with trying to keep their fingers on the head, they can't even concentrate on playing. If someone posts an inquiry about it, I will tell them the truth. And everything I have posted is the Truth. You don't have to anchor fingers to play the 5 string banjo. There is, and has been, top banjo players that play with all fingers off the head. And nothing will change that fact.

Apr 1, 2020 - 12:06:35 AM

badgerteeth

Australia

3 posts since 9/18/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

There's another discussion on this subject here: banjohangout.org/topic/362573


I saw that one but my question is more about whether not anchoring will affect what I'll be able to do moving forward; I don't really have all that much trouble anchoring when I try to. I want to stamp out bad habits that will hinder my progress in the future, and I want to know whether anchoring wil result in unsolvable bad habits. 

Apr 1, 2020 - 4:40:46 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

24244 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by badgerteeth
quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

There's another discussion on this subject here: banjohangout.org/topic/362573


I saw that one but my question is more about whether not anchoring will affect what I'll be able to do moving forward; I don't really have all that much trouble anchoring when I try to. I want to stamp out bad habits that will hinder my progress in the future, and I want to know whether anchoring wil result in unsolvable bad habits. 


It shouldn't cause any bad affect on moving forward.  The main reason to plant fingers on the head is stability so you can find the strings easier as a beginner.  After your muscle memory kicks in, the fingers and brain get together and work it out.  

And there are very few bad habits that can't be broken, so if you do have a few, you can work on them later.  Most beginners spent too much time worrying about "what ifs" rather than practicing and working on getting more familiar with their instrument. 

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