BanjoTeacher.com/Holding the Banjo Putting the Picks On and the Parts of the 5-string Banjo

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hi it's Ross Nickerson again I want to

show you just a few things to help you

get started about how to hold a banjo

and put your picks on and some things

like that I recommend that you get the

banjo between your legs with your legs

kind of spread out like this so it

balances well if you put your banjo up

here and on the your leg or thigh like

that it's not going to balance so if the

banjo is here and it kind of tilts back

on your stomach a little bit and that's

a good place to really just what you

want to be able to do is let go and the

banjo is working fine for you if you

have a lighter banjo this type of banjo

I play they're so heavy down here that

really balanced good if you've got a

beginning banjo you may have to use a

strap to help simulate this speaking of

banjo straps let me show you where I

would recommend that you put the strap

it's good to put the strap either on

this first bracket here or on the second

bracket whichever one fits and that way

the strap comes up and supports the neck

if you put it up here it doesn't give

that same kind of support it's also a

good idea to put it someplace probably

on this bracket right here down just

below the tail piece I mean you could

put it somewhere in this area but you

know that's that's where I would

recommend some of your student banjos

out there have little rings or something

like that that you're supposed to clip

the banjo strap on to if you have one of

those types of banjo I recommend that

you bypass that and put it where I

recommended here on the brackets there

and by the tail piece another way we can

keep the banjo balanced is by using some

forearm pressure when we're in our

picking position the picking position is

going to be explained a lot more clearly

later on the DVD but when your hand is

like this and you're playing your

forearms here on the armrest and you can

use that to put a little pressure to

push the banjo back up against yourself

to help balance it as well I'll go with

our way position that banjo is so that

we have it balanced so we don't feel the

need to support it at all with the left

hand that's very important you want it

to be like that how we achieve that

everyone's body is a little bit

different it may be the banjos are

different it might be a strap that helps

you get it there it might be the forearm


maybe how you balance it but again just

really take the time to get the banjo

situated and comfortable in your lap

where it's balanced and you don't feel

like you need to support it with the

left hand next I'll show you how to put

the pics on we're going to use a thumb

pick plastic thumb pick and two metal

finger picks and we put the finger picks

on make sure that at least the tip is

sticking out over the end these picks I

have on are a little bit longer than

ones you might have bought at the music

store they're called Nick picks I sell

them on the website and they're made

custom for me but they pretty much you

know go on the same way as any other

pictures maybe a little further down the

finger the way you put the picks on is a

little bit subjective I'm kind of one of

those players that just takes them out

of the box and puts them on but you can

take some time to to bend them and shape

them just the way you want to but make

sure that you're at least some of the

pick is coming out over the tip of your

finger so that the tip of your finger

doesn't hit the string some banjo

players like to bend the tips of their

pick and the way you can do that is to

put your pick up on a hard surface

harder than you my knee but we'll show

you how to do it and you just kind of go

forward like that or you could take the

pick off and bend it there's lots of

things you can do it's really up to you

if you're finding that you know like the

way the pick is hitting the string you

can take some time to modify it and get

it comfortable on your finger the thumb

pick I'm using I modified slightly by

cutting the lip off that wraps around

the thumb there as to keep it from

catching on a string the thumb pick

still is on plenty tight enough and it's

okay and not a bad idea if you have this

type of thumb pick that wraps all the

way around or it's catching on the

string to go ahead and cut that off and

the book I have the parts of the banjo

pointed out for you I'd like to do it on

the DVD as well let me start by just

pointing to some things and telling you

what they're called

this is bridge the wood bridge here this

would be the tail piece this is the arm

rest this ring that goes around here

that keeps the head tight that the

brackets attached to is called a tension

hoop that's the tension hoop these are

called brackets here that's what's used

to tighten the head this around here is

the flange

this is a holds the is used to hold a

banjo down to the resonator with these

four thumb screws here up here is the

fifth string peg you've got your other

tuning pegs it's the course is referred

to as the neck this is referred to as

down the neck in this direction this is

referred to as up the neck and then

we've got the fretboard or sometimes

called the fingerboard