Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Well, it is (semi) official... Clawhammer newbie

Good Monday Mornin’ BanjoBen Forumites (Forumanders?, Forumumese?),

Over the last several days, I have started to wade into the waters of Clawhammerin’

I’ve devoted just about 10-15 minutes a day for about 4 days now… to practice the 3-step pattern from @Jake 's primer… Strike, brush, pluck.

I plan to continue…

Some early observations:

  1. It isn’t the least but musical - yet but I am taking it SLOW… very deliberate
  2. I personally tend to pluck the 5th string too soon or too fast… not exactly landing on the “& of 2” or upbeat of 1 (strike).…. 2 (brush)… & (pluck). I think it will even out… but must be diligent and patient.
  3. I am trending to use my index finger as I feel I have a bit more control while also tending to get a nicer and more consistent pop-strike tone than I do when I try to use my middle finger. Also, letting my fingernail grow would bother me… So my hand position just seems to allow my index to land more naturally as a result.
  4. Using a pick: Nope, I’ve not tried flipping the pick around as I have seen suggested for those like me who don’t want to let the nail grow. I just want to get the motion down and feeling natural first!
  5. How much time for practice of basics in 3 chords (G,C,D7) before attempting my first song? A week? Two weeks?
  6. Easy beginner tunes: Any tabs, tunes or sites to recommend?

@BanjoBen: I don’t know if there is wider forum interest but since @Jake did a primer, maybe could there be a separate section in the forum and a couple of lessons built over time?

Also, I would like to hear from any of y’all who’ve started or have interest in this path…

You can reach me separately at:


I have been doing the same thing actually, practicing the pattern in Jakes video. I found a good song to practice on is the A part of @Dragonslayer Gunnar’s Midnight Firefly. I have been playing 5-10 minutes a day, before I put my picks on for my regular practice.


Years ago over on the BHO I used to kinda follow a feller (Patrick Costello) and just got some basics down enuff to bum ditty some from his videos. That basic part seemed to come pretty easy and I got to where I liked playing “Shady Grove” and other simple old folk tunes kinda okay. Now it comes in handy on occasion at the Tues. ngt jam I attend (before this epidemic) when I become completely befuddled and need a bale out to find the beat, Heart and soul of that jam isn’t Bluegrass unfortunately, but got a take what’s available in the area and be thankful for it. Good luck with it Will, fun to switch things up like that.


Thanks @Butch