Serious students of the 5 string banjo have long been plagued by a malady known as flyaway fingers. This dread disease afflicts those whose right hand fingers refuse to conform to recommended standards, which suggest keeping the fingers close to the strings they will need to strike. Instead, they “fly away” after picking a note, rising up into an extended, “pointing” position, which costs them in mechanical efficiency and can lead to problems with timing as well.
Not all banjo pickers experience this distress, but it can be quite problematic for those who do.
But relief is in sight! The folks at Banjo FlyAway Finger have devised an apparatus that is part medieval torture device, and part Golbergian genius – the product of practical ingenuity and can-do entrepreneurism.
Once attached to your banjo’s resonator and flange, two adjustable arms can be positioned to restrict upward movement of the index and middle finger of your right hand. The idea is to defeat the involuntary movement of flyaway fingers, much as double-sided tape can be employed to train the ring and little fingers to stay down on the head.
After you have defeated these involuntary movements, you can abandon the device and pick with the desired level of efficiency and smoothness. Training wheels for your banjo!
You can find more details about this clever contraption at www.banjoflyawayfinger.com, including additional photos and a demonstration video.