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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Maybelle Carter/Clawhammer style


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AlexSmithCFG - Posted - 10/02/2009:  13:16:30


I'm at wits end. This is driving me nuts! Basically, I play clawhammer banjo, and I also play Sruggs style banjo. I came across this "Carter scratch" style played by Maybelle Carter online, and I'd like to learn that on the guitar. I love how it's so similar to the clawhammer style, but on guitar, and I can play it with a pick as in scruggs style banjo.

I have the guitar, I have the pick. I already know the flatpicking style version of "Wildwood Flower", so it was fairly easy to convert it to the Carter style. I know this is a banjo forum, so I have this one question. Where on earth can I get some information and troubleshooting tips on this style?
My major problem right now, is the upstroke. I simply can't do the downstroke-upstroke without it being quite loud, and on the upstroke, the pick sounds really scratchy (it's metal) and I always hit the high E string which creates a loud high pitched sound that sort of drowns out the melody.

The way I play, is I have a plastic thumb pick on, and I hit the melody and bass notes with that. I play a bum-dit-y pattern, with the bass/melody being the "bum", the downstroke being the "dit" and the upstroke being the "y". I do my downstrokes/upstrokes with my index finger, on which I wear a metal finger pick, oriented the direction you would wear for Scruggs style banjo.

If anyone can help me, or if anyone knows of a forum I can go to for this, I'd appreciate it. I know there's a flatpicking guitar hangout, but I think this style is a lot closer to a banjo style then a flatpicking style, even though it's guitar.

Mirek Patek - Posted - 10/02/2009:  13:25:47


Try just a little modification of your pattern: do your downstroke ("dit") with your ring finger - either with bare ring fingernail or by reverted fingerpick (I use Freedom Pick - search it in google).

Then my pattern is similar to yours: "Bum" with thumb, "dit" with ring fingernail downstroke, "ty" with index fingerpick upstroke.

It works for me.
Mirek

_________________________________________________________________
Conversion of 5-string banjo tunings to fingerstyle tenor banjo (omit 2nd string):
Open G tuning gDGBD or Sawmill tuning gDGCD => DGdg tuning of tenor banjo
Classic C tuning gCGBD or Double C tuning gCGCD => CGdg tuning of tenor banjo
http://www.mirekpatek.com http://www.youtube.com/user/mirekpatek
Handout for workshops at Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival:
http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...IC_ID=157944

chip arnold - Posted - 10/02/2009:  14:08:30


How are you doing a downstroke with a finger pick on? Whenever I've tried that on banjo, the pick comes off and flies across the room! In any case, just like when you were learning Scruggs and clawhammer styles on banjo, it will take time. Play slowly and carefully. As slowly as is necessary to do the bum-ditty sequence flawlessly. Don't speed up until you reach that point and then only speed up as much as you can do without any error at all. You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll master this.

**********************
Take what is given
Give what is taken

Chip Arnold

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 10/02/2009:  14:40:39


I think he is using a flatpick, Chip. Might be wrong but that seemed like the gist to me.

You can learn how to control the volume of a flatpick doing the Carter scratch, but Maybelle used her index finger for the down and up strokes. I know she used a thumb pick when playing the autoharp, but I can't tell you if she used one on the guitar I suspect that since the index finger went both down and up she was not wearing a fingerpick.


http://www.rocketsciencebanjo.com
Rocket Science Banjo - Advanced Clawhammer Techniques for beginners and long time players alike. Plus videos and 25-40 EZ Clawhammer Tunes.
& check out "How To Mold A Mighty Pinky" at:
http://www.pricklypearmusic.net
banjo brad's great banjo site

AlexSmithCFG - Posted - 10/02/2009:  14:55:00


Many thanks to you both.

@Mirek Patek: I will try that out for sure. I found the freedom pick online, and it looks promising.

@chip arnold: Basically, my fingerpick is deep enough on my finger, that only a bit of it sticks out beyond the tip. when I do the downstroke, I angle my finger so that the strings hit my fingernail, and the tip of the pick only.

I'm trying to do it as Maybelle Carter herself did it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENS4nD0vRKI

If you look closely, you can see the pick on her index finger. If I could get my up/down strokes as smooth as that, I would be a very happy camper. :D

EDIT:

@oldwoodchuckb: I'm not using a flatpick actually. I do like the flatpick, but I'm not learning it at the moment, outside of simple bluegrass rhythm. I use a plastic thumb pick, and a metal pick on my index finger.


Edited by - AlexSmithCFG on 10/02/2009 14:57:06

Boyd1 - Posted - 10/02/2009:  15:13:07


I've been wondering about this this past year, and just itching to buy a guitar after a decade without one in order to try to figure out what Maybelle Carter is doing. I think this post might put me over the top and into an instrument shop. I had no idea about Carter Scratch style. I think this post belongs here and I hope you get a lot of responses.


***************************
Anything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso

chip arnold - Posted - 10/02/2009:  15:31:32


Yup, she's wearing a finger pick alright. If you can keep it on your finger, it'll work fine. I'll stay with my advice above on how to improve.

As far as I know, the carter lick is the same as what is sometimes a church lick. Anyone else heard it called that?

**********************
Take what is given
Give what is taken

Chip Arnold

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 10/02/2009:  15:40:15


I've heard it called church lick - it might have been in an interview of Mother Maybell.

Alex - Sorry about that, my reading comp is not what it used to be. Peering at the screen from very close up sort of loses one end of the sentence from the other.

I would recommend switching to a metal thumb pick but I suspect it would just turn into an arms race. I tried a freedom pick recently and liked it. I didn't try up picking with it but it seems quite doableand would start yoou with the softer plastic sound. I expect I'll buy a couple soon as my nails are not good anymore.


http://www.rocketsciencebanjo.com
Rocket Science Banjo - Advanced Clawhammer Techniques for beginners and long time players alike. Plus videos and 25-40 EZ Clawhammer Tunes.
& check out "How To Mold A Mighty Pinky" at:
http://www.pricklypearmusic.net
banjo brad's great banjo site


Edited by - oldwoodchuckb on 10/02/2009 15:40:55

Stutts - Posted - 10/02/2009:  15:47:47


My wife plays Maybelle Carter style guitar but uses a flat-pick. To get that smooth rhythm down and up to tempo just took her a hell of a lot of practice!



majikgator - Posted - 10/02/2009:  15:51:33


this has fascinated me for a good while after seeing Mike Seeger do Carter style guitar picking and using a finger pick to strum up AND down, so you just shove it way back and leave just a small bit exposed, well i will try but i suspect it looks a lot easier than it is.

jk

Chris Berry - Posted - 10/02/2009:  16:10:00


I've tried it with the pick and it's not easy -- I just use a plastic thumbpick and a bare index, which is how I play back-up for fiddle tunes and songs, too. Anyone who can do downstrokes with a pick on gets a nod of the head -- watch Roscoe Holcomb or Sam McGee frailing the banjo while wearing picks -- it amazes me.
Chris

AlexSmithCFG - Posted - 10/02/2009:  16:40:39


quote:
Originally posted by oldwoodchuckb

I've heard it called church lick - it might have been in an interview of Mother Maybell.

Alex - Sorry about that, my reading comp is not what it used to be. Peering at the screen from very close up sort of loses one end of the sentence from the other.

I would recommend switching to a metal thumb pick but I suspect it would just turn into an arms race. I tried a freedom pick recently and liked it. I didn't try up picking with it but it seems quite doableand would start yoou with the softer plastic sound. I expect I'll buy a couple soon as my nails are not good anymore.


http://www.rocketsciencebanjo.com
Rocket Science Banjo - Advanced Clawhammer Techniques for beginners and long time players alike. Plus videos and 25-40 EZ Clawhammer Tunes.
& check out "How To Mold A Mighty Pinky" at:
http://www.pricklypearmusic.net
banjo brad's great banjo site




No worries! My post was rather convoluted, as I have quite frustrated over this. I will definitely see about buying a freedom pick. They're very cheap, so that shouldn't be a problem. :)

Just to be certain, this IS what you're talking about, right?
http://elderly.com/also/accessories...P-POLY-L.htm

As you say, it would be a good idea to start on the plastic pick, and go to metal after I get the technique down. Heck, I might even stay with the plastic pick if it's good enough.


Thanks for all the replies everyone!

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 10/02/2009:  17:34:25


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENS4...ture=related
Here's the legend herself, with her daughtes. She used a plastic thumbpick and a metal fingerpick. I think the fingerpick is turned backwards for the down brushes. Most upbrushes are only one or two strings, not whole chords. There are variations as well, such as an "answer note" after the thumb stroke but before the down brush. Almost like a drop thumb, but played with the index or middle finger. The answer note is usually on the 1st string. She may be using a different finger for the up brushes. I tend to use bare fingers to keep from hitting someone in the eye with a fingerpick. I also sometimes do the whole thing with a flatpick, sort of a cheating style.
I looked for a demonstration video on YouTube, but haven't found a clear one in her style. Most tend to be flatpick style.
Paul

"A master banjo player isn't the one who can play the most notes. It's the one who can touch the most hearts." Patrick Costello
http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...IC_ID=128303 IBARD topic
http://ibard-rendesvous1840.blogspot.com/

John Gribble - Posted - 10/02/2009:  17:36:25


I've been listening to the Carter Family this week and thinking what a great model for clawhammer banjo Maybelle Carter's guitar work is. Her technique is "upside-down" from guitar, but she gets a similar and really tasteful result.

Her "Bum" is a string played with the thumb. I believe she used a thumb pick.
"Dit-" is a light brush down on the top two or three strings with the back of the index finger.
Her "-ty" is a lighter yet brush up with the index finger on the first and maybe the second strings.

Once in a while she played "bump-a-dit-ty," picking the second or third sting with the index before brushing down.

Sometimes she used a flat pick, when she wanted to play eighth notes on the melody. She also did a bit of finger-picking.

Oak Publications (now a part of Music Sales) published a couple of books which looked at this style in the 1960s. The best was "Instrumental Techniques of American Folk Guitar" by Harry Taussig. I just googled it and found used copies at a reasonable price. "The Folksinger's Guitar Guide" also looked at the style. That book called it the Church lick.

John Gribble
Tokyo, Japan

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 10/02/2009:  17:41:57


I think I learned this from the Taussig book. I couldn't think of the title when I was posting. It's probably somewhere in "The Vaults". Probably cost about $2 all those years ago.
Paul

"A master banjo player isn't the one who can play the most notes. It's the one who can touch the most hearts." Patrick Costello
http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...IC_ID=128303 IBARD topic
http://ibard-rendesvous1840.blogspot.com/

windbreaker - Posted - 10/02/2009:  18:05:53


I'm not a shill for Patrick Costello and have never met him. I did, however, buy his book THE HOW AND THE TAO OF FOLK GUITAR for my daughter and am very impressed with it. I've played finger style guitar (TIM) off and on for almost 50 years and I learned a lot about the Carter style playing and blues style 2 finger picking (TI). You may want to take a look at his site: Pik-Ware.com (I think I did that right. He also has a DVD that goes along with this. As I say I'm not trying to sell books for Costello but this is the only book I've found that covers this style of playing in a way that even I can understand. I haven't looked at the books mentioned above and they may be what you are looking for at a cheaper price.

"...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself." The Declaration of Arbroath (1320)

woodenhead - Posted - 10/02/2009:  18:30:28


About 3 months before I began treading the waters of clawhammer banjo, I was trying to learn the carter scratch. I learned quite a few songs and play them decently but could not get the scratch down. I could get the melody on the bass notes fairly easily, but she strums up and down so quickly with that index finger
b/w bass notes! I could not get my index to make these exact movements. I could do it leaving out a stroke or three but no matter how hard i tried cold not replicate her rhythm. Basic clawhammer has come more easily to me. She makes it look so dern simple! That woman was amazing!

"An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way."
— Charles Bukowski

chip arnold - Posted - 10/02/2009:  20:47:39


I've always heard that Maybelle's banjo style was basically the same as her guitar style.

**********************
Take what is given
Give what is taken

Chip Arnold

MountainBanjo - Posted - 10/02/2009:  21:30:49


Mike Seeger has an excellent video on Carter styles. Maybelle's guitar playing did evolve from her banjo playing, but as far as I know the latter was never recorded so I dont know how much the same it was.

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 10/02/2009:  22:05:17


Mike Seeger's Video would probably be the best place for "authentic" Carter playing. He was an absolutely obssessive and a real perfectionist in getting these styles exactly as the were originally played. With Maybell he had the ability to study with the source. Mike was also pretty good at Maybell Carter style Autoharp.


http://www.rocketsciencebanjo.com
Rocket Science Banjo - Advanced Clawhammer Techniques for beginners and long time players alike. Plus videos and 25-40 EZ Clawhammer Tunes.
& check out "How To Mold A Mighty Pinky" at:
http://www.pricklypearmusic.net
banjo brad's great banjo site

janolov - Posted - 10/02/2009:  23:43:35


Earl Scruggs played a Carter Family style on guitar. He used his ordinary picks and for background wamping he used some kind of bum-dit-ty. On the "dit" he brushed down with the index finger (but with the pick as usual) and then brushed up with the same finger. He got a very distinctive sound with this method.

.

Jan-Olov

Boyd1 - Posted - 10/03/2009:  02:40:07


That clip is a very good example I think. Thanks rendesvous1840!

***************************
Anything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso

g-hog - Posted - 10/03/2009:  04:58:39


I don't believe her fingerpick is on backwards... seems to me it's just on the regular way.

I think this is also the style Andy Griffith plays, but uses no thumb or fingerpick and also seems to my eyes to use his middle finger instead of his index... also picks at a generally faster clip, but to me it seems very near the same as Maybelle Carter as far as how the picking is done.

As a person who has meddled with this style here and there, but never felt like it was "me" enough to really get into it... although I've spent the past 30 or 40 (maybe more, lost track, really) years comfortable in fingerpicks and thumbpick on guitar... to me, up-picking and down-picking are both comfortable and no problem with the fingerpicks just on regular. I think it's just a matter of "practicing" (i.e., doing it enough) enough with it for it to just feel natural and comfortable.

Some people resort to using thumb or fingerpicks plus a flatpick to do these types of things, which to me seems like it would be really awkward and clumsy to learn, although I have seen them play really well that way... others turn their picks around backwards, again, to me, seems really like a difficult way to learn to get comfortable... but to each his own.

I'm just saying I don't think M. Carter did these things with anything other than a thumbpick and fingerpick on the regular way they were designed to be used, I believe others, suc h as Andy Griffith as a famous example, did approximately the same thing without any picks at all... and I can say from personal experience you can go either way smooth and comfortably with fingerpicks on the regular way if you just sit down with it enough to get comfortable with it.

Whatever works for ya, that's whatcha do!

g-hog - Posted - 10/03/2009:  05:07:23


I should add that for the fingerpicks to be capable of going eitehr direction, or doing whatever you could bare-fingered, what I've done is to buy the Ernie Ball banjo picks (for guitar use), here's what they look like http://www.elderly.com/brand/PKFG_e...%20ball.html and then I take needle nose pliers and straighten them some, twist each finger (I pick with both index and middle and keep the picks for each separate) around for the exact angle necessary for the way I hold my hand while playing (I rest pinky on pick guard)... so getting a new pick just right may take a week or two of adjusting... then I'm good to go for several years with that pick.

Also, I buy only Fred Kelly thumbpicks http://www.janetdavismusic.com/imag...mb_picks.jpg Which are often hard to find in my area. My husband has to grind these down so that the numbs are just the right size not to be clumsy while playing.

In my opinion, big picks that are thick are huge (the majority I see in music stores) are impossilbe to play with, and I'd rather go barefingered. Nails don't work unless you play in the classical position, which I've never seen upper south guitarists use. Raw fingerpicks and thumbpicks outta the box are also clumsy and need some adjusting before a person can attempt various ways of picking that they'd like to do. In my experience.

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 10/03/2009:  06:50:27


Lester Flatt played in a style that looks very similar to Maybelle Carter. I don't think he used any picks at all. You might try searching YouTube for him. Probably won't see much in the way of solo's,though. I think he believed the guitar was part of the rythem section, not really a solo instrument.
Paul

"A master banjo player isn't the one who can play the most notes. It's the one who can touch the most hearts." Patrick Costello
http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...IC_ID=128303 IBARD topic
http://ibard-rendesvous1840.blogspot.com/

AlexSmithCFG - Posted - 10/03/2009:  09:41:22


For those who want to hear Maybelle Carter play more then her guitar, try here: http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/maybe...20-1963.html

I think there's some clawhammer stuff there too!

EDIT: Not there. Here: http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/maybe...21-1963.html

That has clawhammer banjo in it. Try her version of John Henry.


Edited by - AlexSmithCFG on 10/03/2009 09:44:33

Chris Berry - Posted - 10/04/2009:  00:26:16


quote:
Originally posted by rendesvous1840

Lester Flatt played in a style that looks very similar to Maybelle Carter. I don't think he used any picks at all. You might try searching YouTube for him. Probably won't see much in the way of solo's,though. I think he believed the guitar was part of the rythem section, not really a solo instrument.



Lester used a thumbpick and fingerpick, same as Maybelle Carter (fingerpick on the normal way). His right-hand style was somewhat different and very much his own. His basic "lick" is this -- thumb hits bass note, finger brushes up on off-beat, thumb brushes down on the chord on the next beat.

Chris Berry - Posted - 10/04/2009:  00:31:42


quote:
Originally posted by MountainBanjo

Mike Seeger has an excellent video on Carter styles. Maybelle's guitar playing did evolve from her banjo playing, but as far as I know the latter was never recorded so I dont know how much the same it was.



Maybelle plays a very fine "Sugar Hill" on banjo on Vol. 3 of the Friends of Old-Time Music CD set from Smithsonian Folkways.

stringbeaner - Posted - 10/04/2009:  05:14:37


one of the first tunes I learned on the guitar (about 1948) was 'Worried Man Blues' by the Carter family. I just did what it sounded like the guitar player was doing ie: thumb (melody note) 1st finger down-1st finger up. (bum diddy) Also, to vary the lick ,I would go: thumb-down, 1st finger-up, 1st finger down,1st finger up. (bumpa-diddy) I later used a thumb pick but never did use a finger pick, just let my first fingernail grow out a little.

Stringbeaner

MountainBanjo - Posted - 10/04/2009:  07:00:18


quote:
Originally posted by Chris Berry

quote:
Originally posted by MountainBanjo

Mike Seeger has an excellent video on Carter styles. Maybelle's guitar playing did evolve from her banjo playing, but as far as I know the latter was never recorded so I dont know how much the same it was.



Maybelle plays a very fine "Sugar Hill" on banjo on Vol. 3 of the Friends of Old-Time Music CD set from Smithsonian Folkways.





Thanks for the info...I knew it had to be out there somewheres....<runs over to Folkways>

chuckb - Posted - 10/04/2009:  09:48:41


I downstroke with a metal pick (after a couple of years not wearing a pick I managed to deform my index finger nail noticeably). However, as someone here said, I think it would fly off if I tried to uppick too without turning it around. I guess you could make a pick that would allow both, but I don't think the standard type would work. I have "Minstrel Banjo" by Joseph Weidlich. He describes an up and down picking stroke with the index finger nail doing the down stroke and the thumbnail doing the upstroke. If you are using a pick on your thumb, that is probably out too. Maybelle started out playing banjo; guitars didn't become common in the hills until the 20s. That is probably why her style reminds one of clawhammer.

AlexSmithCFG - Posted - 10/04/2009:  16:38:21


chuckb: Actually, my trouble isn't at all with the pick flying off. I'm so used to playing clawhammer with my index finger anyway, that it's naturally tilted at a good angle, so that the little metal tabs around my finger don't come close to hitting the strings. My trouble is with the upstroke being loud, and very scratchy/ugly. Plus the fact that I keep hitting the E string and only that string often on the upstroke.


Edited by - AlexSmithCFG on 10/04/2009 16:38:56

chuckb - Posted - 10/04/2009:  18:03:46


Alex, you could try the method used in the stroke style, i.e., rakeing the strings on the way up with the back of the thumb. If you are using a thumb pick, I don't know if that would work, but you could try it. Most thumb picks are plastic, so maybe it would give as much racket; I have used a thumb pick, and usuall a good portion of my mail is exposed. I use a metal pick on my finger, and sometimes on a bad day, it does result in stray noise on the down stroke, so I can imagine what happens on the up stroke.

siggersd - Posted - 01/03/2010:  17:14:35


Hello all, I am a huge fan of this style, and have been having the same problem of the pick catching on the down stroke. The strings get caught between the pick and the flesh of my finger. It is a real pain in the ass. I think some where out there is a pick that covers the both sides of the finger to allow for down and upstroke. Somewhere I have seen it, but for the life of me I can't find them anywhere, possibly a custom job. Hopefully someone will decide to make them.

I too am tired of wearing my finger nails, and I also find with metal picks response time from the strings greatly increases.

One thought I had seen a extra long set of metal finger picks, I thought about bending it back over the finger nail given that it is indeed long enough.

I own the Mike Seeger video "guitar styles of the carter family" Seeger has long finger nails and his nail actually protrudes or over laps past the end of the pic, the pic actually sits just under the end of his nail. I have tried this and it definitely helps but does not prevent the nail from wearing.

Cheers
Dan


Edited by - siggersd on 01/03/2010 17:15:46

chip arnold - Posted - 01/03/2010:  18:22:03


A sitar pick is a wire pick that can be used in both directions. I can't remember what they're called.

banjoholic - Posted - 01/03/2010:  18:45:15


A little help from google finds that a sitar pick is called a mizrab:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_LQJpGtxKo

I too struggled with trying to play carter style with a fingerpick and could never make it work as I wanted. I didn't enjoy the sound it made, and the pick tended to want to fly off on the downstroke as chip said. What I typically do (similar to what Mirek described) is to downpick with the nail of my middle finger (which is also my frailing finger) and up pick with my index with a fingerpick on, if I'm using picks. A lot of the time I'll just forego the picks altogether. However, thanks to chip, I may just have to check out a mizrab!

josh
www.banjos4babes.com

tomberghan - Posted - 01/03/2010:  18:55:19


It seems to me the big question is where do those little brushes come from?

I don't think her index finger is involved at all . . . she uses the index (with the National style finger pick) for up picking only (and up strumming) in the usual way.

But tucked under are her middle and ring fingers and THEY are moving back and forth brushing the strings. That is what I think.

banjoholic - Posted - 01/03/2010:  19:33:44


Tom - you describe what I do when I play Carter style. However, Mike Seeger in his carter guitar style dvd states that she only used her index for brushing down (and for up-picking), and that's what he teaches.

tomberghan - Posted - 01/03/2010:  19:49:50


Well, Mike Seeger WAS the man . . . but I am looking at the video and she clearly is wearing a regular finger pick and we all know that for all practical purposes it is impossible to brush down wearing a pick . . . the way she appears to be wearing it (which is the normal way) . . . so as I said "Where do those little brushes come from?"

I'm with you Josh (banjoholic) . . . the middle and ring do the brushing (one or the other, or both).

I just tried it. I can rotate my thumb just like she does while up-picking with my index . . . and I can rotate with my thumb just like she does while brishing back and forth with my middle and ring fingers . . . but I don't have the skill to do all three at the same time.

But YOU are doing it right? So it obviously CAN be done and I believe that with some practice I could do.


Edited by - tomberghan on 01/03/2010 21:34:27

gailg64 - Posted - 01/03/2010:  20:38:26


Mike's video is the rosetta stone for understanding the Carter style(s) & getting it right. (As are his DVDs on banjo styles!) The main style Maybelle is known for requires the following equipment: a stout thumb pick & a heavy guage fingerpick worn the usual direction, and sticking out only slightly beyond the finger. The pick must scratch lightly and remain perpendicular to the strings, and the thumb must be very powerful.
A heavy banjo type national works pretty well, but she used an odd heavy pick that fits above the joint. The one I have is a old "stevens" pick, but the new Pearse "High Riders" are similar. I've never figured out how to attach pictures to the forum, but if you'll go to my Hangout page, I'll upload a couple of shots of the pick.
GG

quote:
Originally posted by oldwoodchuckb

Mike Seeger's Video would probably be the best place for "authentic" Carter playing. He was an absolutely obssessive and a real perfectionist in getting these styles exactly as the were originally played. With Maybell he had the ability to study with the source. Mike was also pretty good at Maybell Carter style Autoharp.


http://www.rocketsciencebanjo.com
Rocket Science Banjo - Advanced Clawhammer Techniques for beginners and long time players alike. Plus videos and 25-40 EZ Clawhammer Tunes.
& check out "How To Mold A Mighty Pinky" at:
http://www.pricklypearmusic.net
banjo brad's great banjo site


tomberghan - Posted - 01/03/2010:  21:35:58


Thanks Gail.
I suppose a pick like the one you show make it all work

mwc9725e - Posted - 01/05/2010:  05:25:50


quote:
Originally posted by windbreaker

I'm not a shill for Patrick Costello and have never met him. I did, however, buy his book THE HOW AND THE TAO OF FOLK GUITAR for my daughter and am very impressed with it. I've played finger style guitar (TIM) off and on for almost 50 years and I learned a lot about the Carter style playing and blues style 2 finger picking (TI). You may want to take a look at his site: Pik-Ware.com (I think I did that right. He also has a DVD that goes along with this. As I say I'm not trying to sell books for Costello but this is the only book I've found that covers this style of playing in a way that even I can understand. I haven't looked at the books mentioned above and they may be what you are looking for at a cheaper price.

"...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself." The Declaration of Arbroath (1320)



I feel the same way. Patrick's guitar book, while thin, has a very good discussion that leads up to the "Maybelle" style. His explanations are quite clear, and the book's worth the price, at the very least.

Bassora - Posted - 01/05/2010:  10:27:51


According to some research I did quite a while back, Mother Maybelle Carter learned how to play banjo from her mother.
She moved what she learned on the banjo to the guitar (which might explain why her guitar technique seems a lot like banjo technique).

Here's a great pic of her with a banjo


Also, have you ever watched video of her (NOT Sara) playing the autoharp? It looks like the same banjo technique moved to yet another instrument.

some Carter Family info:
The Carter Family (Maybelle & a couple of daughters) lived for a time in Springfield, Missouri (my old home town) during the Ozark Jubilee days. They lived in a mansion off of Cherry Street and Glenstone. I along with some others tried to get the mansion preserved, put on the historic registry, and/or used for a regional history or music museum (a lot of music history in this region). Unfortunately, the present owner decided he'd rather have a vacant lot.

Bassora
still trying to preserve history but now doing it along the Big Muddy


Edited by - Bassora on 01/05/2010 10:30:34

Jim Yates - Posted - 01/05/2010:  10:52:04


The Carter's Scratch was the first strum I ever learned on the guitar. My friend, Jim Cox and I had taken an interest in folk music circa 1960 and went to Toronto to visit a friend of Jim's dad named Ted Schaffer who was a "folk expert". Ted taught Jim the basic up-picking style on banjo and taught me the Carter's Scratch on guitar. I've never used picks for this style, but play thumb on the first and third beats, middle nail down on the 2nd and 4th beat and index up-pick on any +s that need a note. I seldom play this strum publicly, but often find myself using it around the house.

By the way, I love the pic of Maybelle with the banjo.


Edited by - Jim Yates on 01/05/2010 10:54:00

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 01/05/2010:  11:48:13


Seems like one of the old time banjo makers devised a fingerpick that could be used in both directions. It may have been Wade Ward or Kyle Creed. I did see a picture of it somewhere, possibly here on the Hangout, or on the Minstrel Banjo site. He basicaly (spelling?) cut out a T shaped piece of sheet metal, bent the cross part around his finger and bent the upright part down the nail side around the tip and up the flesh side of his finger. If you do this, spend some time with sandpaper or files and make sure there are no sharp edges to leave a blood trail on the head of your banjo. Also, you don't want anything that could catch on a string. I'll keep looking for the picture.
Paul

minstrelmike - Posted - 01/05/2010:  12:25:27


I went searching for two-way fingerpicks a few years ago and found one brass autoharp pick that worked well and went both ways but it seemed heavy. The other stuff that I thought was too light were mizrab sitar picks but I do get them out and mess around occasionally. For fifty cents apiece, it's probably worth trying them.

olpete - Posted - 01/05/2010:  13:35:28


That's exactly the pick I was gonna say Paul. It's Kyle Creed's picks he made from brass. I think brass would have a little softer sound than regular fingerpicks. Here's a pic of one from Issac Enloe's BHO page.


Edited by - olpete on 01/05/2010 13:48:18

olpete - Posted - 01/05/2010:  13:51:49


There's also a pic of Kyle's picks in the new Old Time Herald. They don't seem to go to a point as the one above does. More rounded and fingershaped below the nail but the same concept.


Edited by - olpete on 01/05/2010 13:53:00

spaz - Posted - 01/05/2010:  15:37:11


patrick's book is available for free online.. i went and checked and the carter strum section appears to indicate using the thumb for the downstroke, which is different than what maybelle does.. am i reading the wrong section?

i have a book called the the carter family collection by fred sokolow which includes a short analysis of her style at the beginning. he mentions that carlene carter (maybelle's grandaughter) said her grandmother's middle finger was constantly strumming. of course who knows how accurate that is. (i dont see the middle finger doing this in the link below)

This style has also driven me nuts. I tried with a finger pick on and twisting my hand one way for the downstroke and another for the up, but its just ridiculously complicated and probably not what she actually did.

I still dont see how how its possible to strum both directions with a normal finger pick.. but it seems there is at least one person here who can do it.. as well as mike seeger.. i guess i need to get that dvd!

here is a great video of her playing, with earl on backup guitar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8szdi1D7OE

It looks like he is doing something similar, though I cant tell whether he has a finger pick on.. i love how she adds an extra stroke to the sequence during the chorus.. and earl seems to go to strictly fingerpicking during the chorus.. . this lady is a god!

Also, there is a flatpicked guitar forum (see the links to the left).. although it is supposed to be more for flatpicking, discussions on these styles come up there as well.. i'd love to have a hangout site dedicated to country guitar styles alone.. its quite amazing how many different ones there were..

ok.. while im at it.. here is another GREAT video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_vtOd_d40o

carter uses both his finger and thumb pick to strum depending on how much volume he needs.. it also looks like he might be uppicking the index now and then but that may just be a finger movement and not a pick.. its cool how he strums up on the neck sometimes too... ok, i'll be quiet now..

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 01/05/2010:  17:11:43


Old Time Herald must be where I saw that picture. I glanced through it when it came, but haven't read the latest issue yet. That might be just the thing for those of us who seem to break our nails just when we feel like some serious clawammering.
The book I learned Carter Style guitar from indicated that some players ocasionally used an answering single note pluck after the thumb note. Sort of thumb/index/brush down/brush up. Gives it a bump-a-dit-ty feel. I don't think it was used constantly, though. I think the book was Instrumental Tecniques Of American Folk Guitar. Probably somewhere in the archives, my MRS says I never throw nothing away.
Paul

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