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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Clawhammer on a resonator ?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/224184

The Hat - Posted - 12/30/2011:  09:57:31


Stupid question maybe, but can ya get away with playing clawhammer on a resonator banjo or do you have to have an open back ?

Paul

scooter46 - Posted - 12/30/2011:  10:05:22



It doesn't make any difference what banjo you use, the open back is just more traditional to the time and style music. Like wise you can play BG on a open back but you won't have the volume and the drive. 


Quartermaster James - Posted - 12/30/2011:  10:06:16



Yes, yes you can play clawhammer on a resonator banjo.



It's not bad on a ukulele either.


LarryD1 - Posted - 12/30/2011:  10:09:40


Yes , you can play claw-hammer on a resonator banjo. Both Grandpa Jones and String bean played on resonator banjos. I believe I've even seen Leroy Troy playing claw-hammer on a 5 string with resonator.

I often will play claw-hammer tunes on my Gibson Mastertone when I don't want to carry two banjos.

Some claw-hammer tunes just sound better on an open back banjo. If I've going to do predominately claw-hammer tunes , I prefer the open back.

Fathand - Posted - 12/30/2011:  10:33:22



It is a matter of preference, also some resonator banjos are designed to remove the resonator easily.


f#dead - Posted - 12/30/2011:  10:35:29



Yes Paul you can play CH on a resonator banjo.  However, do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt to play BG on an open back banjo.  A couple of things might happen.  Metal picks could shred your open back banjo and the BG police are much more inclined to cite you for using improper equipment.



I'm just saying... and w/ tongue firmly in cheek.  Play it however you feel it and have fun.  BTW, you are almost in 2012 over there already.  I hope it's a good year for all banjo players whatever their ilk.


tonehead - Posted - 12/30/2011:  11:47:34


By all means yes!

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 12/30/2011:  11:57:16



Go for it!



and for a pile of good clawhammer advice, from basic strokes to common tunes to advanced strokes download a free copy of my ebook:



rsb.pricklypearmusic.net


OK-4 - Posted - 12/30/2011:  12:02:25



Wade Ward recorded his clawhammer classics on a resonator banjo (a Gibson RB-11).


Paul R - Posted - 12/30/2011:  12:07:52



Of course you can. Plenty of the old players used resonators. It's not what you play, it's how you play  If you wish to remove the resonator, that's okay. Just keep in mind that the flange (for example, on Mastertone style banjos) will dig into your leg when you're sitting.



Lots of old time players prefer the plunkier sound usually associated with some (not all) open backs, but your setup can go a long way toward getting an o.t. sound. You can always stuff your banjo to mute the tone a bit. People use towels, socks, plastic bags, foam, sponges and other items (I use a fleece sunglasses bag) stuffed between the dowel stick (or coordinator rod) and the head, to remove overtones.



Just be aware that there are still a few banjo fundamentalists who equate old time with open backs and bluegrass with resonators, and nothing else. Don't worry about them. Just keep picking. Good luck!



Paul


The Hat - Posted - 12/30/2011:  13:26:38


Ive been looking at a few videos on youtube and whilst they all basically explain the same thing, very few describe which string or strings are strummed with the downward finger strum. Im getting the bum diddy, but what string is played with the finger ?

OK-4 - Posted - 12/30/2011:  14:22:34



quote:


Originally posted by The Hat




Ive been looking at a few videos on youtube and whilst they all basically explain the same thing, very few describe which string or strings are strummed with the downward finger strum. Im getting the bum diddy, but what string is played with the finger ?






 Any of strings 1-4 are played with the downstroke (I'll bet Ken Perlman even play the 5th string on a downstroke occasionally.) If you are playing a chord, then it is whatever strings sound good, usually 1-2 or 1-3 or 1-4 but sometimes 2-4 or 3-4.


The Hat - Posted - 12/30/2011:  14:53:44


This maybe a dumb question, but how do you know which one to play if ya can play any of em ?

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 12/30/2011:  14:56:11



Many of us no longer teach the strummed bum did-dy thing. I like to have my students us a more precise stroke and hit single strings right from the beginning. It is no harder than the strumming and doesn't lead to as many bad habits when a student chooses to learn without a good teacher.



Check out my videos on the basic strokes:



rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/rsbvideos.html



Lessons One and Two cover all the strokes you need for over 90% of clawhammer playing.



If you are bound and determined to do the bum did-dy strum for now, I suggest you at least spend some time refining the strum by doing it on a single string, and even practicing moving it from string to string. I never recommend hitting more than 3 strings for a beginner, but it is your banjo.


Don Shriner - Posted - 12/30/2011:  16:41:19


I play a resonator banjo, reasons ?

1) I do a lot of melodic solos at dances, the extra volume helps.
2) I'd lose all the parts if I took the brackets off
3) fits in my case better.

However, I do put a small dishcloth in the pot in between the bridge and tailpiece. That helps quiet over tones and also keeps my wife from strangling me when I'm asleep.

As far as which string to play, keep the melody in mind, that will help you decide. Good luck!!

Paul R - Posted - 12/30/2011:  21:17:09



quote:


Originally posted by Don Shriner




I play a resonator banjo, reasons ?



1) I do a lot of melodic solos at dances, the extra volume helps.

2) I'd lose all the parts if I took the brackets off

3) fits in my case better.




 






 and 4) resonator banjos are more comfortable in your lap - no parts to dig in.


Fathand - Posted - 12/31/2011:  08:25:49



In the basic bum ditty strum used in Clawhammer/frailing, the "bum" note is usually the melody note, the "dit" is a strum or fill note played on 1-4 strings and the "ty" is the 5th string plucked with the thumb.


You know which string to play by finding the melody note in a convenient spot for the "bum".  The "dit" can be played on any combination of strings that harmonizes with the tune. The "ty" again is usually on the 5th string but nothing is absolute in music.


 


quote:


Originally posted by The Hat



This maybe a dumb question, but how do you know which one to play if ya can play any of em ?





 


banjopogo - Posted - 01/01/2012:  17:01:13



quote:


Originally posted by The Hat



This maybe a dumb question, but how do you know which one to play if ya can play any of em ?





It depends on who or what you are playing with.



If you are playing with a fiddler who uses Nashville Shuffle most of the time, bump-ditty is analogous to Nashville- same rhythm.



If you are mostly singing with the banjo, bump-ditty is analogous to the classic "boom-chuck-a" guitar strum- same rhythm, and it provides a rhythmic structure for a singer to sing over.



If you are playing most with sawstroke-based fiddlers, then bumpa-ditty is going to be the approach most likely to fit.



Then you have the idea that Old Time music is very melody oriented music.... so whatever fits the melody better, but still allows the melody to have a danceable "groove".


Cryo - Posted - 01/04/2012:  23:59:06


Try mixing styles. Works nicely for some pieces.

Bluesage - Posted - 01/06/2012:  11:40:31



There was another recent discussion on this subject, here a link to that thread:



Question?



Mike Iverson


the-fish - Posted - 01/06/2012:  22:56:07


Heck yea! Im actually using more of my bg banners for ch!

PaulBas - Posted - 01/07/2012:  11:10:39



I recently moved and had to switch banjo teachers. My old teacher was a strictly bluegrass guy and we stuck with Scruggs style. My new guy is primarily a guitar player and is into a lot of different genres. He's starting me out on a few clawhammer (modified, I guess, because I'm still wearing fingerpicks) tunes with my resonator banjo. I'm enjoying the change of pace and style. I'll go back to Scruggs style primarily, but it's nice to broaden my horizons a bit. It's not like I'm recording anything or playing in front of a bunch of people, so it's more about fun and relaxation than trying to label things.



 



I guess I just like most of the sounds a banjo can make.


minstrelmike - Posted - 01/07/2012:  11:42:23



quote:


Originally posted by The Hat



This maybe a dumb question, but how do you know which one to play if ya can play any of em ?





I choose by the sound I want to add to the mix that is already there.

If there is a full band, I'll probably do more picking.

If there are fewer people or the sound isn't full enough to my taste, I'll frail and add full-sounding chords.

If there is another banjoist around, I'll usually do whatever he isn't doing just for a changeup.



But for me, it always comes down to the complete sound.


rendesvous1840 - Posted - 01/07/2012:  14:17:43


You can, but you'll have to bribe us all not to report you to THE AUTHORITIES! We can't be bought, but we are available for renting.
Paul

rubicon - Posted - 01/07/2012:  22:27:31


It's your Banjo play it the way you like

derwood400 - Posted - 01/08/2012:  03:29:32



Yeah!  Run whatcha brung!  That's what I say!  Just play that thing!!


JRushing - Posted - 01/10/2012:  06:04:31


I play CH on my Deering Hartford w/ resonator. Before that a Goltone OB175. Well in to the beginning of my playing I couldn't get the volume I wanted, and I'm heavy handed, and put in lots of strums. It took me awhile to figure out that it wasnt the tonering, some tuba phones are louder than master tones, it was the resonator that provided something for the sound to bounce back off of. Instead of getting lost or muffled by the body. That's all it is, it isn't some big bluegrass secret. Even early on I fashioned pie- plate style resonators on my whyte layde and brass ring open backs.

But some different set- up differences come up when playing CH on a mstertone style banjo. Loosen up the tailpiece to open up the sound a bit and maybe the head a little to depending on how much plunk your after. Good luck

2many5s - Posted - 01/10/2012:  20:36:40



Clawhammer on a resonator banjo? Three Words: Uncle.Dave.Macon.  (Gibson RB-1)


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