Anybody here clawhammer?


I haven’t even been playing the banjo a year and I’m already wanting to learn to frail or clawhammer whatever you want to call it… i know all the instruction here is scruggs style, I’m just wondering how many of you guys are interested in claw hammer style?

I really love both styles myself… the 3 finger is much more contemporary to me and the claw hammer is super old school and seems to be dying out.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn banjo is the heritage and history of it here in my area, and like i said it seems to be dying out and someone needs to keep these old traditions alive in my opinion.


I am more interested in bluegrass…I guess you’d call it Scruggs…or “newgrass” myself but I can definitely appreciate a little clawhammer. Learn all you can, play all you can and keep it alive.


Speaking of clawhammer and old school, I just came across this:


I play clawhammer (frailing) and I really like it. I think it takes about a month to learn the frailing strum, then you’re off to the races! Here’s me failing - I mean frailing - some songs:



Nice frailing Julian. That seems like a nice way to play a banjo if you are unaccompanied. When I borrowed a banjo and worked on it for a bit, it was pretty loud when I practiced. The cats and my wife would run to the opposite end of the house. The frailing seems more cohabitant friendly.


Way to go Julian. Just like Steve Martin. He often did both ways too.


Yes, very nice job Julian… I was curious how many are interested in both styles of pickin… So far I’ve found that comparing claw hammer melody’s with scruggs style helps me understand the melody to certain tunes. Most of the songs i’ve learned I’m at least attempting to play in both styles…


The way I look at it, pure melody really isn’t the purview of frailing. Some of the newer clawhammer techniques that do away with the chord-strumming are more melodic. Classic frailing is more about the ‘drive’ or rhythm. 3-finger picking is better for playing melodies.


Very nice! I have thought about switching to clawhammer myself since i lost the ability to do the rolls with my thumb and index. Where did you learn how to play clawhammer from? I would be interested in any links that you may have.


Just go to YouTube and look for pat costello frailing.