A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
Three Emile Grimshaw's exercises.
I have watched your video a few times and perhaps I could make a couple of suggestions to make things easier for you?
You asked about the strap. You are playing seated so should not need a strap. Do you play standing? If you do you are better than me! I find classic fingerstyle very difficult standing, so prefer to play seated. It may be that the position of the banjo is not quite correct if you need a strap.
Check out my Circus Parade video:
and look where the banjo sits on my right thigh. The banjo neck sticks out away from the chest, not tight to the chest as your seems to be. What this does is enable the left arm to reach the banjo first position without having to bend the elbow outwards "the wrong way". You seem to be reaching out leftwards to reach the chords. This twist of the banjo allows the right forearm to rest and press on the banjo armrest (you have an armrest?) and this pressure from the forearm stops the neck falling downwards (this is why I think you are using a neck strap). You will find that most players don't use a strap while seated... check out a few videos.
Look at how Eric is holding the banjo here:
You will see what I mean about not reaching to the first position. Eric's elbow does not bend to the left at all.
Give it a try. It may feel awkward at first, but it is better to get it correct from the beginning and it gets easier!
Hi Ian, Thank you for the tips, I have looked at yours and Eric's videos and see what you mean. I do only play seated so I am trying to do without a strap, and it seems to be not too bad.
My banjo dosn't have an armrest but I usually wear an Aran Cardi which cushions the banjo so that I can grip it with my arm.
Practice has been a bit hit and miss this month but I'm hoping to get down to more practice this next month.
Marc D (The Frenchy Van Eps) posted this picture a while ago. It may be of interest if you haven't seen it !
Hey Sylvia – I thoroughly recommend you (1) join the BMG Federation and (2) learn notation. I went to the Summer School last year and, having only been playing banjo for about eight months at the time, it was admittedly a tad beyond my capabilities (putting it mildly). But Chris Sands as a tutor was/is brilliant – an absolute privilege to have been there with him – and I got to meet some lovely people who have become friends. I’m going again this year (in just under three weeks’ time!) and am enthusiastically working up ‘Whistling Rufus’ and ‘Cupid’s Victory’ so I can take part in the end-of-course concert. Lots of practice then ... Oh, and the craic is good. So – join the BMG, learn notation, and I’ll see you there this time next year.
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