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Dec 6, 2022 - 6:38:25 AM
8 posts since 10/27/2014

Can anyone out there direct me to videos of players using T, M, R fingers to play traditional bluegrass banjo? I've read all of the threads on this, but have not found videos. I did see Dave Hum's videos, but he is using more of a single string method. My related question is: how does one keep the index finger out of the way? Thanks for any help.

Dec 6, 2022 - 6:45:30 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

28210 posts since 8/3/2003

Is there a reason you want to pick that way? Do you have an injury or problem with your index finger? If so, then you need to find a way to keep the index above the picking fingers. Trial and error probably works as well as anything else.

I don't think I've ever seen a video that shows how to pick like that but maybe someone here has and will chime in with the information you need.

My son lost his left index finger in an accident and I taught him to play guitar using partial chords and barre chords. He did pretty well once he got used to the sometimes rather strange fingerings we came up with to make certain chords.

Dec 6, 2022 - 6:51:48 AM

chuckv97

Canada

67792 posts since 10/5/2013

Hi Steve,
I play fingerstyle and classical guitar using thumb and 3 fingers. For banjo I would get a big wooden arm rest and raise it to anchor your arm, because planting the pinky will restrict movement of the ring finger. I often use just middle and ring fingers for certain passages on guitar,, just start very slowly keeping the index out of the way of the strings. It can be done - good luck.

Dec 6, 2022 - 8:00:47 AM

174 posts since 7/24/2021

Most things can be achieved by hard work and dedication. I’m not trying to get personal, but why are you wanting to learn this technique? If it’s an injury, you can 100% do it . If for any other reason I would stick with TIM. Thumb, index, middle. Lord knows the banjo is hard enough to learn without making it more difficult, unless you’re going to put a pick on the ring finger also.?
That a way you can have 4 fingers going whew! Good luck in your endeavors.

Dec 6, 2022 - 8:44:54 AM

552 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by AdHocMando

Can anyone out there direct me to videos of players using T, M, R fingers to play traditional bluegrass banjo? I've read all of the threads on this, but have not found videos. I did see Dave Hum's videos, but he is using more of a single string method. My related question is: how does one keep the index finger out of the way? Thanks for any help.


So here is a great starting point

Dec 6, 2022 - 9:02:22 AM
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8 posts since 10/27/2014

All:

Thanks for the replies. I should have noted that I have focal dystonia in my right index finger. That's why I'm exploring using the T, M, and Ring fingers. It seems to be getting better. But keeping the index out of the way is important in freeing up the rolls. Lately, I've been using an elastic sleeve on the index to keep it from curling in and getting in the way. I remember plenty of rolls, patterns and tunes from before the focal dystonia got me. I know there are others who've suffered from this, so I was wondering if any of them have posted videos. Looking for some inspiration. In any event, thanks everyone for the ideas. This forum is great for that. Appreciate it.

AdHocMando

Dec 6, 2022 - 9:37:38 AM
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170 posts since 1/28/2017

I have a friend that picks the way you mentioned. He said no one showed him T-I-M way of picking. He does not anchor the pinky. So, he plays banjo like a guitar player does. He is very good using the T-M-R positions. When I asked him about it he said he couldn't unlearn years of playing. He is good, plays guitar also.

Dec 6, 2022 - 2:20:07 PM

2106 posts since 1/28/2013

Try taping the index finger to your 2nd finger, where the tip is up to the first joint. Then just let the index finger ride along with the 2nd finger as you pick.

Dec 6, 2022 - 3:53:40 PM

174 posts since 7/24/2021

I admire your determination. You can do it ! Repetition. Did I mention repetition? Stay with it , you won’t regret it

Dec 6, 2022 - 7:23:24 PM
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233 posts since 1/7/2019

This guy plays with his middle and ring. Lots of videos

youtube.com/@DanAshby

Jeff

Dec 7, 2022 - 6:25:34 AM
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Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2800 posts since 3/10/2008

The lady who runs The Bluegrass Shack in New Athens IL played T, I, M finger for many years. She developed focal dystonia in her index finger, and relearned to play T, M, R fingers. She is pretty good on several string instruments, including banjo.  Here is a video from facebook (I hope it works!). Her picking fingers don't show clearly at first.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=saved&v=2784440931841085

Edited by - Lew H on 12/07/2022 06:34:51

Dec 7, 2022 - 8:30:31 AM

2106 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Gixxer340

This guy plays with his middle and ring. Lots of videos

youtube.com/@DanAshby

Jeff


I guess this debunks the "Place at least one anchor finger on the Head" rule. It's more like "Keep your fingers off the Head" rule. 

Edited by - jan dupree on 12/07/2022 08:31:55

Dec 8, 2022 - 3:29:46 PM

246 posts since 11/2/2009

I don’t know if this will be helpful, here is Jerry Reed and Chet Atkinson, and the video opens showing Jerry playing the guitar at lightning speed with his index tucked up. He is also a banjo player (he played one of the two banjos heard on East Bound and Down), but I haven’t seen video of him playing the banjo.

youtu.be/Ni8KBhnebwE

Dec 9, 2022 - 3:55:56 AM

8 posts since 10/27/2014

Everyone:

Thanks for all of the replies. The videos were just what I was looking for. I noticed that the players tucked in their index finger. Also, one can play free-handed without planting the pinky, if you keep your hand fairly still. The Cowboys and Indians video was quite good on that. I saw some good playing, despite what I assume was focal dystonia. This helps. Thanks so much.

Steve

Dec 9, 2022 - 6:18:57 AM

33 posts since 11/3/2015

I'm interested in learning about anyone who plays T-I-M-R. I can see situations where it might be useful and it is possible to anchor with the pinky finger (I've done it against the bridge without a discernible different in tone.

Dec 9, 2022 - 5:06:21 PM

DickieM

USA

21 posts since 10/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by AdHocMando

Can anyone out there direct me to videos of players using T, M, R fingers to play traditional bluegrass banjo? I've read all of the threads on this, but have not found videos. I did see Dave Hum's videos, but he is using more of a single string method. My related question is: how does one keep the index finger out of the way? Thanks for any help.


I haven't read these posts but my first thought is my inspiration that got me interested in banjo - none other than Jerry Garcia who, for those not familiar, was missing his middle finger 

Dec 9, 2022 - 7:48:57 PM

Wobba

USA

55 posts since 4/15/2020

Well, I don't have focal dystonia in my right index. Instead I busted it up pretty badly in a ranch accident years ago. At first the doctors told me they were going to have to impute it. But they said first they'd try to save it. They did, but it just there, maybe it has 5% functionality. I can barely wiggle it a tiny bit. Myself I play Old Time Two Finger Thumb lead style. So my picking pattern is TMTM. Most people do TITI.

Here's some videos showing how I play. Notice that my index just sticks out.
instagram.com/p/CiVRNn1MxIE/
instagram.com/p/Cdd4Mq2lB2f/
instagram.com/p/CdOLzFPlr1d/

Dec 11, 2022 - 4:20:53 PM

246 posts since 11/2/2009

If you search the forum, you will other threads on focal dystopia that might have useful information for you.

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