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Aug 4, 2021 - 12:46:50 PM

notsofast

France

6 posts since 8/12/2020

When I play my middle finger hits the head quite frequently and I have noticed that it slows down my playing. I have tried fixing a piece of wood to the head about 1/4 inch thick to stop my middle finger going further down and hopefully over time when I remove the wood I will not hit the head. Any thoughts?

Aug 4, 2021 - 12:51:52 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

59112 posts since 10/5/2013

Play very, very slowly with all the exact finger movements. Patience, my friend, patience.

Aug 4, 2021 - 1:43:34 PM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

26333 posts since 8/3/2003

You might be digging in too deep with the middle finger. Try lightening up your pick strike and see if that helps.

Aug 4, 2021 - 2:06:21 PM

BobbyE

USA

2914 posts since 11/29/2007

Can you have someone post a picture of your hand/wrist position to the Ho so folks here can get a better idea of the posture of your picking hand? Sherry is right though, you have to be digging in too deep. I assume you are hitting the head with the pick on your middle finger. You are wearing picks, right?

Bobby

Aug 4, 2021 - 4:03:16 PM

1528 posts since 1/28/2013

ww.healthproductsforyou.com/p-finger-sleeve.html?msclkid=c7ec63ddef4312db708202d6f590e75e&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=H%20%26%20B-Orthopedics%20New%20Shopping&utm_term=4580565451396944&utm tps://cevimed.com/tech-med-fi...Campaign=* Put one of these over your 3rd finger, it will give you the extra height you need. https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=4Nr2PJI%2f&id=2E27BAD15915778A7DE470FEA2ABFD44BCF16667&thid=OIP.4Nr2PJI_RriVuhsEuKMoggHaF_&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fssl.cdn.ncmedical.com%2fitems%2ffullsize%2f2009_0

Edited by - jan dupree on 08/04/2021 16:04:44

Aug 4, 2021 - 6:04:27 PM

3572 posts since 9/12/2016

It happens a bit with even some pros ,but yes you might have a bad set-up on your hand ,been working on mine for years and still it will act up.

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:07:32 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

try playing with your finger nails.

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:49:39 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

26333 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

try playing with your finger nails.


Most bluegrass players use picks, not fingernails.  If you want that bluegrass sound, you really do need picks, not bare fingers.

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:29:03 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

a flesh hit it is way different than acrylic resin fingernails. It sounds like plastic picks instead of metal-on-metal, a clear tone without the scraping sound of nickel

Aug 11, 2021 - 1:27:15 PM
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notsofast

France

6 posts since 8/12/2020

Thanks for the tips, I'll give them a try. I think Chuckv97s tip will probably be the way forward but not what I wanted to hear!!

Aug 11, 2021 - 2:37:53 PM

193 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by notsofast

When I play my middle finger hits the head quite frequently and I have noticed that it slows down my playing. I have tried fixing a piece of wood to the head about 1/4 inch thick to stop my middle finger going further down and hopefully over time when I remove the wood I will not hit the head. Any thoughts?


Try holding a tennis ball against the head with your wrist. I found doing this as a beginner I got a better angle on my picking hand. Of course you wont be able to play like this, you might get away with playing a roll pattern. It's just to get a feel for the position. 

Edited by - FenderFred on 08/11/2021 14:38:32

Aug 12, 2021 - 3:05:41 AM

15 posts since 2/27/2015

Along with everyone else, I'd need to see pictures of your hand in relation to the strings, but the really important thing NOT to do (especially if you're playing very slowly) is to stiffen or tense your fingers up to achieve accuracy-make certain that whatever you do, that you pick always pick in a very relaxed way. Since the middle finger largely plays only the first string in Scruggs-style, position your hand in such a way that the middle finger doesn't need to move very far. One of the ways in which humans differ from each another is in the ratios of our finger lengths from finger to finger, and if you (like me) have a relatively short pinkie, it's going to tend to put the middle finger lower down in relation to the strings. Jan Dupree's recommended product might work as well if you have a short ring finger. Getting your fingerpicks adjusted "right" is an ongoing process as well, and while I agree that most Scruggs-style players use fingerpicks, it's not a bad idea to sometimes practice without them to sensitize your fingers to be more aware of their position (this is part of something called "proprioception") and Harley Bray (featured in last month's Banjo Newsletter) told me that he likes to sit down and play with just his fingers on an old Vega open back he keeps around. When I started playing fifty years ago, I tried to follow the suggestions in the original Earl Scruggs book (especially trying to keep both the ring and pinkie fingers on the drum-which can be almost impossible for some people), but since then I've seen a LOT of great players who use all kinds of different hand positions and setups-including some who don't brace their fingers on the drum at all!-and even Earl rescinded his original advice in the newer edition of the book. So you have to find what works for you. In the meantime (as they say) "Send Pics!" :)

Aug 13, 2021 - 3:42:20 AM
Players Union Member

Pjotor (Moderator)

Sweden

1106 posts since 1/31/2008

The Dillard roll (M – I – M – T) is a great workout for your middle finger. I've found that it carries over to the index as well. Try it on various string combinations.

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