I'm working through a Hal Leonard guide using a rented Aria banjo. Eventually I have in mind to get a Deering Goodtime 2. The neck widths are both 1-1/4, based on measuring the Aria and reading about the Deering. I don't want to tinker with the top nut as a solution, but rather work on technique.

My struggle right now is consistently fingering the C chord without hitting neighboring strings. The same issue that apparently everyone hits. :) The guide says to place the thumb on the back of the neck, though I see plenty of players who have more or less of a choke hold.

Based on these pictures of me trying a D7 and C chord, can someone provide feedback on technique? I realize lessons would be a help, too, but wanted to ask here first.

D7 C

  • Playing a Deering Goodtime now, and the fingering seems a little easier. Jan 7 '18 at 22:35
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    This isn't an answer, but something that is going to help is your fingertips will harden with use and not flatten out as much when you fret a string. You'll also learn to press less hard. With those things, your fingertips won't have such a large surface area against the fretboard. Jan 7 '18 at 23:50

Personally, I prefer students to learn an open, relaxed hand position, where the hand is in a mostly fully relaxed state and the thumb rests along the side of the neck and the wrist is aligned with the palm. In some chords or fretting the thumb may move temporarily to the back of the neck, or the palm may come up to the neck to facilitate the chord fingering.

From the relaxed position I find it easier to roll up an over a little to miss the other strings.

[banjo hand position banjo hand position 2

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