Category Archives: Tips & Techniques

Five Lessons, Yea Six, from NashCamp

Here are a few items I learned this weekend at NashCamp. Some for me, others for my students. 1) Lighten up. No, not in terms of relationships; here, I mean lightening up with my right hand. I pick pretty hard … Continue reading

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They Ought to Have a Name For It – Whack-a-Mole

Another practice / performance anomaly. This is the thing that happens when you identify a rough spot in one of your breaks. You start practicing it and isolate the offending habit to clear it up. All goes well, and you … Continue reading

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Building Up Endurance

Very frequently I have students tell me they have some problems with cramps, shaking, or just an uncomfortable tenseness in the arms and hands. Let’s talk about it. I remember getting those sensations as well as I was first learning … Continue reading

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How I Measure Banjo Speed

Most musicians measure speed in beats per minute (BMP), which is pretty intuitive for most folks. It’s also part of our standard system of musical notation, so we should all get to know it; so many beats per measure, depending … Continue reading

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They Ought to Have a Name for it – Stuck in a (Fret) Rut

This happens with your fretting hand when you are playing a lick and you don’t get your fingers positioned exactly right before it is time to pick the notes. You’d like to lift one or more of your fingers and … Continue reading

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Talent versus Persistence

We should value persistence, even more so than talent, in students. Continue reading

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Technique Control, Part III – Left Hand Techniques

Last time, we looked at several aspects of control with respect to right hand techniques (or the picking hand, to make it independent of whether you’re left or right-handed). Today, let’s look at how we need to control what happens … Continue reading

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Technique Control, Part II – Right Hand Techniques

Last time, we looked at an overview of techniques and why we need to keep control of both hands on the banjo. Today, we’ll look at what to control with respect to the right hand; next time, we’ll look at … Continue reading

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Technique Control, Part I – Introduction

I’m not a control freak when it comes to people, but I do see the very important role that control plays when it comes to a musical instrument. Hours upon hours of practice drill into our heads the fact that … Continue reading

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4 Hazards of Playing Slow

We usually have an optimal ‘window’ within which we play our songs. Too fast, and obviously we are out of our comfort zone. But play it slower than usual and you hit some different problems.   The main problems with … Continue reading

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