The Pinch


Assuming you have already reviewed the information on how to read tablature and how to form basic chords with your left hand, you are now ready to learn the right hand techniques for Level 1.

The pinch is performed by plucking two strings at the same time -- one with your thumb and one with your middle finger. All of the examples that follow use only the 1st and 5th strings, which are most commonly used, but any two strings can be pinched in this way.

Each pinch has a time value of 1/4 (one-quarter) note, therefore you could theoretically play four pinches in each measure, although in real practice you would just use this pinch in certain places in a song.

The following exercise shows four pinches in each of the four measures. Try playing it a time or two then go to the next exercise. You could go nuts (not to mention drive everybody else bonkers) by practicing this exercise over and over. Remember to anchor the last one or two fingers on your right hand to the banjo head as you play.

Press the “Play Midi” button to listen to the exercise.


In the next exercise we will keep the pinch at the count of 2 and 4 in each measure, but on the count of 1 and 3 in each measure there will be an individual quarter note played with the thumb.

The three midi options allow you to play the music at three different speeds: slow (60 beats per minute), medium (120 beats per minute), or fast (180 beats per minute).