Developing speed and
dexterity for your left hand is crucial to becoming a better
banjo player. Start playing banjo right by following this
guide to developing your left hand. This guide assumes that
you play a right-handed banjo. If you don’t, just flip
left and right around and you should be fine.
to keep in mind that without lots of practice and work you
will not see results. Stay dedicated to becoming a better
banjo player through hard work and you will see progress eventually.
If you do not currently
have access to a banjo you can strengthen your left hand with
stretching. Hold your left hand open. Curl your fingers (one
at a time) so that they hit your palm. The other fingers in
your hand should NOT move as you do this. Start with your
index, middle, ring, and then pinky.
The pinky is the hardest
one for most people. Often I can only get my pinky close to
my palm without using the assistance of my ring finger. This
exercise can also help the dexterity in your right hand.
Once you’ve done
that for a couple minutes, try this next exercise. Repeat
the same motion and keep your non-active fingers as still
as possible. Follow this pattern:
- index and middle
- index and ring
- index and pinky
- middle and ring
- middle and pinky
- ring and pinky
Both fingers should hit your palm at the same time. Don’t
start doing it too fast until you have the pattern down, otherwise
you are just flailing your hand around.
Those work great if
you do not have a banjo at the moment. The next one is for
those who do have access to banjos.
Play this pattern on
G, the thickest string. The number corresponds to the fret.
Play 1 with your index, 2 with your middle, 3 with your ring,
and 4 with your pinky.
Pattern: 1 2 3 4 | 1
2 3 4 | 1 3 2 4 | 1 3 2 4 |
Repeat the pattern faster
and faster as you get better at playing it. Switch up to the
different strings once you are ready.
Now try this other pattern:
Pattern: 1 4 3 1 | 2
4 3 2 | 1 2 3 4 | 4 2 3 1 |
Play it on the other
strings, and while it may not be the prettiest sounding thing,
it will help you build dexterity in your left hand for banjo