Ask Banjo Instructors
Banjo Questions / Answers from Ross Nickerson
Getting Better Control of Your Picking
Hello from Australia, Ross!
Love your Banjo Encyclopedia and have found it a great help. I have been playing (or trying) for a few years now, and for the amount of time invested, feel I should be a pretty good player by now! Not so unfortunately as my biggest problem seems to be my right hand and fingers going everywhere once I start trying to pick up some speed. My hand cramped up terribly when I had two fingers on the head, so it was suggested that I try with just my pinky. I did this and it made me wonder why I didn't do it a few years ago! I use your metronome exercises at the start of your book which are great, but still have the problem of fingers flailing about with the onset of speed.
From the sounds of it Pete, I would actually recommend slowing it all down in the right hand and concentrating on keeping your fingers in tight close to the strings. Sounds like you may just be a little over anxious. Try and keep your fingers close to the strings after you pick with each of them.
The best way to retrain yourself in this case is usually to slow it down so that you can reset your muscle memory, if you continue to be overzealous, it may be harder to get control of your picking in the long run, hope that helps some.
How to Build Speed on the Banjo Book and CD by Ross Nickerson
Maybe we'll meet someday in Australia! I could really give you better advice in person