WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET A FULL D CHORD AT 2 3 AND 4 FRET AND GET IT TO SOUND CLEAR AND NOT MUFFLED?
Try practicing it capo'd at 2, then once you can do that, remove the capo.
That's how I got my full F and full D chord fingerings down. Capo at 2, and the frets are a little bit closer together . Get it right with the close frets, then remove the capo and get it right with the bigger frets.
I've been picking bluegrass banjo for almost 60 years. I NEVER thought it necessary to play the "stretched out" D7 chord with 3 fingers (F# at 4th string 4th fret, A at 3rd string 2nd fret, and C at 2nd string 1st fret) because 1) it's such a danged hard stretch and 2) I couldn't hear it in any of the pickin' by the "masters".
Lo and behold, on the Martha White Show DVDs for Flatt & Scruggs, I see Earl playing this very chord! So I live and learn. But I'm not trying to learn to pick it myself.
Perhaps this is not the chord the OP referenced though.
are you using your pinky on the 1st string 4th fret? 1st finger 3rd string 2nd fret and middle finger 2nd string 3rd fret? just to make sure. practice just stretching your fingers out, like making a chord on a piano
On your BHO home page, you mentioned you've been playing since '62 and rate your playing as "pretty good."
Is the difficulty in fingering the D full chord a new issue for you or has it been difficult for all these years?
If the difficulty is a new thing for your hand & fingers then try picking the D chord somewhere else on the fretboard, the 2nd and 3rd string fretted at the 7th, the other strings open works for me...
After playing clawhammer for nearly forty years, I have been focused on learning Scruggs style the past several years. While I theoretically knew the full chord positions, fretting full chords and getting a clean note on each string was a challenge. What I have noticed is over time, and with repetition and concentration I have seen great improvement. I think that we make small corrections subconsciously, and through practice develop unused muscles,
Do you have the same issues at the 7th when it is a G ?
How are you holding the neck of the banjo? Are you "strangling" it trying to get a clean, clear sound? Doesn't usually work. Try arching your fingers over the fretboard and having only your thumb touch the back of the neck. Does that help? Unless you have long fingers, if you have a death grip on the neck, you can't make 4 finger clean clear chords easily.
Bart Veerman makes a good point. Is this a new issue or has it been an issue all along? You've been playing since 1962 so 58 years.
If it has been an issue all along then perhaps it would be better to try making the chord in other positions as Dick mentioned or practice stretching exercises like Tony said. I have no problem playing that position but I use it frequently so I don't lose the muscle memory.
If it is a recent issue then ask yourself if you can still do everything else as well now as you did thirty years ago. I know I can't and I'm 56. If I live thirty more years I'll be lucky if I can still take the banjo out of the case.
i am 82 years old. i reckon that could be the problem. i fret the 1st string with pinky at fret 4 the first finger 2nd fret third string. middle finger 3rd fret 2nd string. ring finger 4th fret 4th string. no problem with the same position at 7 8 and 9 frets. old age i reckon.
How's the action? I just had some difficulty with the same chord, then I noticed that the weather made my action creep up a bit, so I reset the action and now it's no problem.
As we get older, our fingers get stiffer, it gets more difficult to arch our wrist and bend our fingers like we did when we were young. If you can't make a full 4-finger chord, make a 3 finger chord. If you need to change the fingering of a chord so you don't get clunks and thunks, do so. There's no rule that I know of that says one HAS to make a 4-finger chord to play backup or that one has to finger the chord exactly like everyone else.
I'm at the age where I have trouble now when up the neck in the Cumberland Gap position of stretching the pinkie to make those 10, 11, 12 stretches with the pinkie and make them clean. Usually I can figure out a way to make a partial chord so I can make that stretch. You can change the angle of your arm/hand/fingers to the fretboard to get a cleaner, clearer sound. Just noodle around and see what works for you.
thanks for all the replies. I didn't have any issues early on. just seems like a long stretch now.
I never had a long neck but got tempted into one just a couple of weeks ago. Yup, that D chord sure is quite a stretch, isn't it...
do the tennis ball squeeze while watching the tube,,i had to concentrate on curling my wrist a little more as i got older so i could reach the top strings up in the first 5 frets.. the tennis ball helped me in my hand strength.
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