A Book Of Five Strings - online tutorial

Strategies for mastering the art of old time banjo.

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Let's look at another picking pattern.
Example Two
Moving between the fourth and first strings should be nothing more than a matter of opening and closing the webbing between your thumb and index finger if you are using the proper technique. There is almost no recovery time because there is very little motion going on. Yo u are just moving your forearm enough to put the fourth or first string directly under your middle fingernail.
With sloppy technique this run becomes more and more difficult as you pick up speed because your have to swing your wrist back and forth to reach the strings.
Keep in mind that we're only talking about quarter notes right now. When we get into eighth and sixteenth note runs there is even less time to work with.
Proper technique is a pain in the neck to practice in the beginning, but over the long stretch it literally makes everything easier.
Let's look at a few more exercises.
Example Three
As simple as this exercise is on paper it may take you some time to be able to hit the right strings. The trick to this is not to look at your picking hand.
Looking at your hand in order to "find" the string you want to hit is pretty futile. By the time your eyes single out the string, send the signal and your brain fires off the command to your hand you'll have already slipped out of rhythm. There just isn't any time to "think" when you are playing.
For a pattern like this the way to practice is to focus on the rhythm. You want to at least try to hit the correct strings, but not at the expense of the rhythm. If you hit a bum note don't stop or start over again. Just keep the rhythm flowing.
If you stick to it you will eventually develop a feel for where your hand is in relation to the strings and you'll hit the right one every time without thinking about it.