Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

? on a lesson on clawhammer

Don’t shoot me or run me off but I would love to learn clawhammer style playing like Jones or String bean… There I done it I ask , I can look at other pl;aces , I just felt it would be a good addition to the site.

Me 2 I love old time banjer. Have been trying to learn this style on and off since I first picked up the banjo ten years ago but I really haven’t put in the effort.

There has been begging and pleading on the forum for this, but as yet, it’s not happening in the foreseeable future. However, if you search the forum for the words “Barry Hunn” it should give you a very good video to start playing clawhammer. It’s the one I started with

When we get through the holidays I plan on getting Jake to start some videos! He’s a great clawer!

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Yeah, Jake sent me a quick little video once on the basics of his claw hammer action. I could tell from that one video he’s a natural teacher. Can’t wait to get him in the cabin.

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@BanjoBen 's just get’s better and better.

I just got permission from Jake and Ben to share this with you guys. Jake posted a video a couple of months ago of him playing clawhammer banjo. I told him he had to show me that sometime, and to my surprise he shot me over this little personal video that is a fantastic entry to clawhammer.

Hope you enjoy!

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What doesn’t Jake know how to do? This is great. I just finished the utility rolls lesson to find this thread about what’s coming. There are a lot of old timey tunes waiting for clawhammer and now I need to finish making my fretless gut-strung banjo. :smile:

Hi @Mark_Rocka coupla questions

I Clawhammer mostly hammer -ons, slides and pull -offs or does employ fancy licks like in Scruggs ?

Is it played down the neck below the fifth or are there times it’s played up the neck.

I think I have strum pattern nailed but i don’t seem to get much volume.

I’ve mostly seen clawhammer used for more basic picking; slides, hammer ons/offs, and chord shapes mostly. That being said, I’d think you could chord anywhere on the neck and it would still work. I need to spend more time with this video. For some reason I can’t seem to get myself to make the motion automatic. It’s a struggle, so I tend to give up too quickly and move on to something more fun.

The volume will definitely be quieter than using picks. I guess how much quieter depends on the force of your attack and whether or not you’re able to use your fingernails.

I’ve mostly seen clawhammer used for more basic picking; slides, hammer ons/offs, and chord shapes mostly.

That’s what I thought, just checking as I haven’t really studied the style in any detail.

For some reason I can’t seem to get myself to make the motion automatic. It’s a struggle, so I tend to give up too quickly and move on to something more fun.

Me2 I have been trying to learn the style for years but made little headway. There is a little twist in the wrist action as you pull off with the thumb that may help. I haven’t quite got the tapping of the head consistent.

I tend to play by ear when playing clawhammer but I can never find all the notes I need or I miss a string and give up after about ten minutes through frustration.

Maybe once @Jake comes on board progress will be better.

The volume will definitely be quieter than using picks. I guess how much quieter depends on the force of your attack and whether or not you’re able to use your fingernails.

I tried using plastic picks but they were way too tight, My nails are thin and I keep them short so it could just be the angle of attack that needs adjusting.

Out of curiosity are you trying to tap the head or not? It is mostly hammer ons and pulloffs that give it any busyness, unless you drop thumb a lot, but that’s more complicated. I know one tune where I go over the fifth fret, and everything else is below it. I think you should definitely go for it, cuz clawhammer, once you figure it out, is very easy and relaxing

Here’s more curiosity for whoever knows, does @Jake play Scruggs style at all or only claw?

I think I’ve seen Jake say that claw hammer is the only banjo style he knows. At this point, though, it wouldn’t surprise me if he showed up playing as good as Scruggs himself. Something like “Here’s some Foggy Mountain Breakdown for ya while I do yoyo tricks with my toes.”

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:rofl: :joy: :laughing: :joy:

Yes, tapping the head like a drum

Ok that isn’t something you have to worry about when starting out. It will happen as you build speed your thumb will naturally start tapping. Now if you wanted to not do that, it would take some practice to stop. But, I think it’s probably best to approach it as a new instrument, that you’re a complete beginner at, that conveniently has chord shapes you already know

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