Anyone who has ever tried learning any musical instrument can say that it’s a thrill. It can have it’s challenges, for sure, but if you stick with it and make it a point to practice as much as you can, then you’ll see improvements and reach milestones before you know it.
When it comes to playing the banjo, there’s nothing quite like it. The instrument itself has one of the best sounds we could ever hope to hear, and it boasts a genuinely delightful rhythm that’s hard to resist. If you’re a banjo beginner, we understand how difficult it can be to get attuned to the instrument and find your
rhythm. If you stick at it then you will most likely get far, but to help you along, here are a few tips you should remember as a beginner banjo player.
Keep it simple at the onset
One of the most common errors beginner banjo players make is, to begin with complicated solos. If you try to play complicated left hand shapes while still trying to master the basics of the rhythm, it can be extremely challenging. You may end up getting frustrated and quitting just because the notes don’t sound right and you
can’t keep up. Your first goal should be to have fun with the banjo, and you can do this by starting with simple right-hand roll patterns, which you can repeatedly practise and get better at as you go along. You can also jam with your peers, and if you have access to videos on YouTube, you can jam with those as well. When you do
this, you will not only have the chance to practice, but you can also strengthen your patterns and more easily identify progressions on chords.
Establish your hand postures
For some, practising hand postures may not seem like such an essential task, but it’s critical for beginners so you can learn the proper position for your wrists and hands while you play. If you have a posture that’s not ergonomically correct, this can result in fatigue, and more importantly, it can restrict your hand movements.
The experts often say that you should hold your wrist in a position that’s natural or neutral – so make sure you are not bending it towards your pinkie or thumb, especially at a weird angle. With this, your fingers can have the freedom to move more fluidly on the strings. You also need to pay attention to your palm’s angle.
For instance, if you lay your palm right on the surface, this can create more tension or stress on the fingers and hinder your movements. But if your palm is too arched, your fingers will extend too much and slow down your movements as well. You should position your ‘picking’ hand the same way you would hold an egg.
Practice, practice, practice
At the end of the day, there isn’t any substitute for practice. If you make sure to practice as much as possible and whenever you can, your ears can become attuned to the sounds you make, and your playing will undoubtedly improve. Start your practices with basic or standard solos, and some other solos you can try include Doug’s Tune, Worried Men Blues, Red River Valley, Shady Grove, and Bile Them Cabbage Down. Good luck, and remember to have fun!