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Banjo Lessons: Holding The Banjo

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[MUSIC]
Well
here are some request videos I'm starting
right now here in Fairlawn, New Jersey.
And this first one was requested by Nick
who was asking me how to hold
the banjo and that's a really good
question when you're first starting out.
There was a song that talks about having a
banjo on your knee.
I think that came from Alabama.
In fact, I knew a guy who went to Alabama.
And specifically had a banjo tattooed on
his knee for that very purpose.
But that's another story.
Basically, the way I'm holding the banjo
is the way I like to hold it.
Which is in my lap.
And just plop it right down there and go
at it like this.
If you want you can throw the strap around
your neck for a little extra support.
If you don't have a strap it's not a bad
idea to have one.
[SOUND] And it kinda.
It'll bend your back down a little bit but
it gives you a little extra.
[MUSIC]
Holds things in place a little bit better.
So that's, that's one aspect of it.
It's interesting I ran to a, banjo
instruction
book by a guy name Fred Van Epps who was
one of the very early classic banjo player
who recorded on cylinders in the very
early 1900s like 1901 or 1902.
Playing the classic style of the banjo,
parlor style.
And in his book he talked about how you
needed to have the banjo up at
a particular angle.
This way and also the plane going this way
at a particular way this way.
Unfortunately I never wrote it down.
So just to say in the old days, it was a
very specific thing.
For our purposes, playing primarily
bluegrass just kinda hold it so
it falls naturally this way.
Not, I'd say not quite parallel to the
ground but not way up here like this.
You basically want to have your wrist flat
and you know,
you just want to grab it like this.
[SOUND] I'd say that's a really good basic
position.
That works for me, your banjo may be
weighted a little bit differently if it's
up a little bit or down a little bit, it's
not a big deal.
Don't have it like this, like kind of flat
out.
I had a student who played kind of like
this and it's not such a good
idea even though you can hear it really
well and see everything.
You wanna have it like this.
If you wanna have it on your knee like
this, you can do that, too.
[SOUND] I find that a little less
comfortable, at least with this banjo.
So for me, it's this.
But you can experiment around and see what
works for you.
Okay.
Thanks, Mick, and to everyone else who's
watching us.
[MUSIC]