bluegrass banjo for beginners

using the PICKS...

Start wearing the picks right away. You will get used to them in a few days and soon will not want to play without them. Use two metal fingerpicks, and one plastic thumbpick. Heavy gauge picks work best.  There are many brands out there. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on picks. Picks that are less than a dollar a piece can be just as good as more expensive ones. (Most music stores sell Dunlop metal fingerpicks. I recommend the .025 guage-that's the heaviest one. Heavy guage are less likely to soften and bend out of shape.  I also recommend Dunlop plastic thumbpicks. They come in small, medium or large) Get your banjo accessories at Janet Davis music or Elderly Music on line.


Question: My metal fingerpicks make a scraping noise on the strings. How can I fix it?

    A. Twist the fingerpicks slightly on your fingers so they make a slight angle on your fingertips. The angle of attack on the string will be flat as a result:  


Also, to reduce the scraping noise from the metal fingerpicks, it's a good idea to keep the pick surface free of dirt buildup, so a quick rub up and down the string with a cloth or soft piece of leather, like a piece of chamois(soft leather), will do the job. . Grab and surround the string with the chamois and run it up and down the length of the string. Cleaning and drying them every time you play will help them last much longer. Old, dirty, rusty strings will be almost impossible to tune. I don't think you need to buy a special lubricant for your strings. Just keep them clean and free of oxidation and dirt.


Question: My plastic thumbpick makes a scraping noise on the strings....

Answer...How I deal with the dreadful thumbpick "pick-scrape" problem: Using a plier to hold the pick, I  heat only the tip of the flat edge of the pick in boiling water for about 10 seconds and then using the plier, put a little twist in it so as to allow the flat edge of the pick to strike the string in a flat and flush manner, not on an angle........ Pick scrape, BE GONE!!!  Also try greasing up the edge of the blade of the pick with some lip balm. I have found this works really well to eliminate the scraping noise. 


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