Home Position

Right Hand Home Position

One of the most important beginning skills is the development of a natural feeling of string location in the right-hand. This is feeling where sounds are located on unfretted strings and a tone linked to that feeling.

A good way to start getting a feel for the location of all five strings is the “Home Position.” This involves the third, first and fifth strings. By adapting this position, all other string combinations using two fingers and a thumb are adjacent and close by. Place the thumb on the fifth, the index on the third and the middle finger on the first is the home position. Look at your fingerpicks and make sure they are touching each string flush. Feel the tension of the strings and with a short grasping motion with the first two knuckles pluck each of the three strings together. Listen for a balance. Each string sound should be present and listen to hear if any strings stand out from the others. The idea is to put an equal amount of energy in each string so that a three note chord is produced.

Strive to play with as little movement as possible. The position should be natural with just a slight bend like holding out a tennis ball at arms length. The right-arm or wrist should not touch the banjo head. The mid-arm anchors at the arm-rest and the ring and little close to but not touching the head near the bridge. This forms a bridge for the poised right hand developing a flat-plane of activity under the fingerpicks over the strings.  All motion comes from the knuckles of the fingers.


After getting the feeling of this position proceed to Right hand Warmup #1