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Banjo Lessons: Hitting the Head with the Picks

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[MUSIC]
All right, now that we're up and
running with some playing, playing some
rolls, picking a little bit.
One of the things you may find yourself
doing.
[SOUND] Is hitting the head with the
picks.
This is a not uncommon problem.
In fact, you may not be aware that you're
doing that, but tune into your playing and
make sure that you're not doing that.
And if you are.
[MUSIC]
What I used to tell my students
originally, many years ago, was it's like
when you go to the doctor and say, doctor,
every time I do this it hurts.
And the doctor says, don't do that.
That's a Henny Youngman joke.
Anyway.
And people have varying degrees of success
with that.
And then I gave a workshop up in Toronto,
Canada and a wonderful banjo player and
a wonderful human being, a guy named Ian
Perry who writes for Banjo Newsletter,
which you should all subscribe to told me
what his technique was.
And what he said was, when you're picking
just start picking so you're not,
you're sort of air picking.
You're not quite hitting the strings and
then come down.
[MUSIC]
So you're just barely hitting the strings.
So you realize you don't have to be way
down here to, to get the note plucked.
You can be doing it from just up here.
So, you're not, you're not getting way
down where you're gonna hit the head.
And it might be with your middle finger or
your index.
Usually it's the thumb that does most of
the,
of the damage when it's hitting the head.
Another thing that Ian Perry said was,
line up your banjo, line up your strings
actually so it looks like it's one string
there so they're all in the same plane.
And just watch yourself play and see how
far down your picks are going.
Just just try to build an awareness of
this thing cuz it makes a,
a big difference in the way you sound.
It's a great distraction to be hearing.
[MUSIC]
So, you hear all that noise going on.
So, if you're doing that, do the best you
can to get that out of your playing.
Don't, don't drive yourself crazy, you
know, you wanna enjoy the playing of it.
But, as much as possible, have that be an
ongoing goal in your playing.
[MUSIC]