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  3. Getting Started with Clawhammer Banjo
  4. Fretting Hand Position

Fretting Hand Position

Proper Arm Position for Fretting Notes and Chords on the Banjo

Even when we aren’t fretting a note, we should keep our fretting hand in position and ready to play. Finger preparedness is what will help you play cleanly and quickly. You’ll constantly be getting to a new level of this as you improve. There’s two ways we’ll position our fretting hand. With the fiddle posture the fretting hand thumb will be slightly over top and on it’s side. The index side of palm will be on the bottom of neck. Make sure to keep your knuckles at slight angle. Do not have your entire palm flat against the bottom of the neck. This will limit the frets you can reach. Also, do not press the heel of your palm against the back of the neck. Your wrist can have a slight cock to it, like you are pouring out a bit of tea. The neck of a banjo is small, much like a violin. That is why we can adopt this posture on the banjo.

Classical guitar posture borrows technique from guitar. Place the thumb behind the neck, opposite of your index and middle fingers. While this position can be used for almost anything you play on banjo, we recommend only going to this for more advanced chording techniques and stretches.

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With either hand posture, avoid an overly bent wrist. Do not add more muscle tension or pressure than is necessary to make the fretted notes sound. In the next lesson.

The next lesson will examine proper strumming arm posture.