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Oct 23, 2021 - 1:28:10 PM
250 posts since 9/14/2019

I know my thumb isn't exactly right. I've taken a lesson with a pro online and it was very helpful. Today I've been practicing and I'm trying to figure out the best way to pick a string with my thumb. There is a lot of discussion about putting a lot of pressure on the string so that when you come back out of the stroke you sound the string with your thumb.

However, if I'm playing into the head how do I get downward (gravity direction) pressure on a string? It seems I would be pushing the string into the fretboard....

John

Oct 23, 2021 - 1:54:53 PM

251 posts since 8/25/2009

I'm no expert, and I only use my thumb on the 5th string. I have always been able to get my thumbnail under the 5th string, and "load it" upwards (although it just came naturally to me, so I didn't think of a name for it -It just seemed the natural way to frail.)

Slight digression: When practicing, I always stuffed some BVDs in the pot, so as not to assault the neighbors with my (all-too-frequent) mistakes. As a result, I developed a relatively robust frailing style. I suspect I would have been much too quiet otherwise.

Oct 23, 2021 - 1:56:18 PM

4189 posts since 10/13/2005

With CH banjo the fifth string is a bit higher above the fret board than BG banjo so the problem you describe doesn't happen so much. I trust than you are contacting the fifth string the same time you are striking the bum note. With time you should be able to hit the fifth string hard or soft depending on what you want. Best. banjered

Edited by - banjered on 10/23/2021 13:57:11

Oct 23, 2021 - 3:46:29 PM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4141 posts since 3/11/2004

Oct 23, 2021 - 4:19:08 PM

250 posts since 9/14/2019

I didn't explain myself very well....if my hand is going into the head how do I load the string my thumb is hitting? It seem like I would be pushing the string into the head/neck, not downwards.

Oct 23, 2021 - 4:28:53 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25392 posts since 6/25/2005

I have never tried to analyze the thumb stroke. I practiced until it was right. Drop-thumb notes followed naturally. My problem remains hearing melodies, not playing notes. Keep practicing. Your ear will tell you when you’ve got it.

Oct 23, 2021 - 4:38:20 PM

250 posts since 9/14/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

I have never tried to analyze the thumb stroke. I practiced until it was right. Drop-thumb notes followed naturally. My problem remains hearing melodies, not playing notes. Keep practicing. Your ear will tell you when you’ve got it.


I'm not having issues making the right sounds, but what I've noticed is that I'm tensing my thumb when I want it to play a note and it is going downwards more that I see other people's thumbs going downwards. In other words, my thumb isn't relaxed, but is adding tension to the string and when the string releases my thumb moves downwards at least two strings.

I can play just fine this way. It's very smooth for me, but I was told I needed to learn to make my thumb more relaxed and less engaged in the sounding of the note. It shouldn't be floppy, but should not be active either.....

Just trying to figure that out.

Oct 23, 2021 - 5:50:52 PM

6035 posts since 3/11/2006

quote:
Originally posted by watercarving
quote:
I can play just fine this way. It's very smooth for me...

 

There it is.

Oct 23, 2021 - 5:53:21 PM

250 posts since 9/14/2019

quote:
Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford
quote:
Originally posted by watercarving
quote:
I can play just fine this way. It's very smooth for me...

 

There it is.


I've played music my whole life. I'm about a year into playing clawhammer and love it, but I want to make sure my technique is right because I know if it's not that it can hold me back.

My technique isn't crazy out of whack, but I guess I want to make sure I'm not going to be hurting myself down the road.

Oct 23, 2021 - 5:59:45 PM

6035 posts since 3/11/2006

That's a very valid concern.

"Down the road" would mean holding you back on techniques you have yet to attempt.
It would really take having an experienced player(s) look at what you're doing to
see if he thought your current hand motion might cause you problems down the road.

If you can post a video of your righthand technique, you'd get some advice from the BHO.

Otherwise, investing in a Skype or two with someone like Dan Levenson would be a very worthwhile
investment that would pay dividends in the long run.

Best of Luck.

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