Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Claw Hammer Style

Hey Everyone,

Some of you know I have had some issues with my middle finger picking hand. Long story short 6 months later and many doctors visits there doesn’t seem to be a remedy. And many of you have given me great non-physician advice and even called me to prayer and faith, which I greatly appreciate. But I’m ready to get back to playing in some way. Been too long.

That being said I want to give claw hammer a go. That only requires a hand that looks like it was caught in
a combine and the use of index and thumb.

I had asked Ben about some future lessons in claw hammer sytle and he said, yes but in the future. I honestly felt like a complete jerk considering some other teacher. Today I happened to think, perhaps there are some in our own little community that play claw hammer style and can get me rolling. Well not rolling but bum ditty-ing?

So if you have advice or videos or want to post a video I’d love to hear it. Thanks everyone.

Claw-hammer is not terribly hard but takes about the amount of practice time as the technique Ben teaches. Barry Hunn does a great beginners video that will get you started. I love the old timey sound and after a couple of years am still a beginner, but it’s fun. Check Mr Hunn’s video here: Beginner Clawhammer . Maybe Ben can get a guest teacher for this more uncommon technique? I’ld be happy to make donation towards that…

1 Like

There’s a tun of free clawhammer lessons on YouTube that will at least get you started.


I have talked to Ben about it but with the store and other obligations is a future future plan. Which I totally understand. Thanks for posting this.

This is true. Thanks

Jason! People on this forum have suggested specific supplementation, stretching exercises, positioning suggestions, have offered prayers and some wacko things that don’t warrant being mentioned.

Have you tried any of these? What were the results?

If you have to, switch to a different instrument.


Nothing has worked. I greatly appreciated everyone making suggestions but ready to just move onto the claw hammer and other banjo playing options. Thanks for commenting.


I took up Clawhammer about two years ago and have built two banjos because I needed a daily driver banjo. I highly recommend going to a banjo camp where you get a week of lessons, and it’s fun. Also, look for someone who teaches locally before you get too involved with online lessons. When I tried my best to learn mandolin, it was great to get started from a teacher, and then once you get going you come here to Banjo Ben and have tons of material to keep you going. I sort of fell into clawhammer by winning a week at a banjo camp. I took 3 lessons before the camp where I took beginning clawhammer with Chris Coole. Learned a lot. This new site also has lots on music theory. That is definitely one of my weaknesses. So I am glad that’s on this new site. Can’t wait for circle of 5ths (or 4ths if you go counter clockwise)


Thanks for this advice. Be a good idea. I’m looking forward to learning more after Marching Band ends.