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Thread: Improving right hand accuracy

  1. #1

    Improving right hand accuracy

    Newb with a question about right hand accuracy. I started off with the rest on my Sierra at the lowest setting, which is 2cm off the head. I noticed in this position I was pretty regularly hitting the head with my thumb pick and occasionally hitting a string in such a way (I really don't know) that my thumb propik would hook the string above and stop me in my tracks. Then I moved the rest to its highest position which is 6cm off the head. In this position I noticed I was occasionally hitting the head with my thumb pick and regularly hitting it with my middle finger pick. With this information in hand I felt it was pretty obvious I needed to go right in the middle, so I set the rest to 4cm off the head. I seem to be zeroing in on the rest position as I now occasionally hit the head with my thumb, occasionally with middle.

    All of that explained -- what can I work on to avoid hitting the head at all? As for this "string hooking" with the thumb propik, what can I work on to avoid that?

  2. #2

    Re: Improving right hand accuracy

    The fact that you're aware of the problem is the main step in fixing it. I know that sounds trite, but the best answer to the problem isn't so much of a mechanical thing as just a matter of practice. I deal with this with my students pretty regularly, and while I gloss it over with humor it's a matter of "don't hit the head with your pick".

    You're hooking your thumb-pick because you're striking too deeply. Stop that!

    Even after 40 years I still hook the thumb-pick occasionally. It gets better, I promise.

    Probably not the answers you were looking for...

  3. #3

    Re: Improving right hand accuracy

    I've increased my practice time per day to "as much as possible." I'm hooking my thumb pick much less already. I keep asking my newbie questions hoping for some secrets to banjo mastery... but just like anything else it seems to boil down to practice practice practice. I'm taking lessons from an incredible musician and teacher. He keeps telling me I'm a great student... but I'm trying to work hard enough to have him tell me I'm his best student ever. haha I'm not trying to "skip ahead" or anything like that. I know how critically important the fundamentals are in literally everything. Just looking for some pointers for maximizing the effect of the hours I spend practicing. I'm trying to make note of the things I've done that have helped me out the most so that someday I can pass along my "cliff notes" to someone. So far all I've come up with is, "This is a list of rolls. Play them over and over and over and over again until you can play them lightning speed in the dark." I keep coming up snake eyes on anything else. Seems to be simple dedication. Put in the time, get good.

  4. #4

    Re: Improving right hand accuracy

    Sometimes the thumb pick can be the problem. I used to often hook the thumb pick on the 5th string while playing. I switched to a Fred Kelly thumb pick and the top of the pick fit right down in the cuticle and the string hooking went away.

  5. #5

    Re: Improving right hand accuracy

    Just keep playing, it gets better. I was doing the same thing when I started, I did notice I did it more with the plastic National picks. I use Dunlop now, but I really don't think it matters as much, because the more I played the better all those little things got. Just keep plugging along, and as your journey continues you will become more comfortable in your own skin and your own equipment, then all the little things just seem to go away.

  6. #6

    Re: Improving right hand accuracy

    You could try a taller bridge... You may need a thumb pick that is a little longer depending on you thumb size and shape...
    Best advise so far is to play a LOT.
    I would also suggest that you play some stuff very slowly and focus completely on your right hand position.
    As they say, you will improve

  7. #7

    Re: Improving right hand accuracy

    I don't play the 5 string, but I would say you are on the right track. I find that when I first start on something, or when I am playing in front of people, I get nervous for a bit, and my right hand gets a death grip on the pic.

    I'm guessing that quite a lot of these problems can be at least partly over come by getting comfortable with the instrument and being ok making mistakes and carrying on.

    I'm very new to this also

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