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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jason Romero Playing Style


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/356373

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/22/2019:  10:58:52


Can anyone elaborate on Jason Romero's playing style on the banjo? I think it is 3 Finger Old Time but people on other threads said it is 2 finger. Either way I am smitten and trying to find a video to get a good look at his hands as this is some of the most beautiful playing I have ever heard and I would love to learn.

dbrooks - Posted - 08/22/2019:  12:33:00


There are some YouTube videos, but it's tough to get a good angle to show Jason's right hand.



"Wild Bill Jones"" - mix of two-finger and three-finger?  youtube.com/watch?v=GZCuPVwhLM0



Lost Lula" - clawhammer:  youtube.com/watch?v=qQLVx7pbZgc



Inside the Craft interview. Good angle of up-picking near the end (8:15):  youtube.com/watch?v=og_Jdw_VNs4



"Babes, Mothers, Fathers" - occasional shots of up-picking: youtube.com/watch?v=og_Jdw_VNs4



David

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/22/2019:  13:22:17


Wow David, thank you. Is up-picking just finger picking?

Shmockiebaby - Posted - 08/22/2019:  13:22:19


Send him an email. He’s responded to every question I’ve ever asked him. Nice folks.

Vetsorn - Posted - 08/22/2019:  14:05:35


From what I've seen, it seems he bases most of his playing on 2-finger rolls and patterns, but throws in a third finger every once in a while if the melody calls for it.

dbrooks - Posted - 08/22/2019:  14:57:51


HoosierDoodles , yes, up-picking is a category that I think includes 2-finger, 3-funger as well as the Seeger strum.

David

dbrooks - Posted - 08/22/2019:  15:42:44


By the way, the October 2009 Banjo Newsletter has a review of "Shout Monah" by the Haints (Jason and Pharis Romero and Erynn Marshall. There is clawhammer tab by Jason Romero for "Baptist Shout" and "Devil's Dream."



banjonews.com/2009-10/the_hain...w_cd.html



David

Random Scandinavian - Posted - 08/22/2019:  23:17:22


quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

Can anyone elaborate on Jason Romero's playing style on the banjo? I think it is 3 Finger Old Time but people on other threads said it is 2 finger. Either way I am smitten and trying to find a video to get a good look at his hands as this is some of the most beautiful playing I have ever heard and I would love to learn.






You coul look at the video closeups in his Instagram feed. instagram.com/romerobanjos/



If you scroll down a bit you can see a video symbol in some of the posts where a new banjo is being played. You see the hands quite well and there is only the one instrument. (I would just click on all of his posts because they’re awesome!)



Myself I haven’t been able to steal any licks although l’ve certainly tried. I think the solution for me would be to start on the basics with 2- and 3-finger, learning some rolls and trying to incorporate them into my playing. It will probably end up sounding completely different tho. :)

cmic - Posted - 08/23/2019:  07:00:41


And also the superb "Cumberland gap" (in fDGCD, I think) youtube.com/watch?v=ju5QjZ6HmPI


Edited by - cmic on 08/23/2019 07:01:37

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/23/2019:  07:48:07


Yes the Cumberland Gap video floored me. I listened to it at least 15 times and thought it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.  i couldn't believe I have never heard anyone play a rendition like this or similar, at least that I have come across.  I just must know his playing style.  I can't tell if he is using 2 or 3 fingers and just doing drop thumb?


Edited by - HoosierDoodles on 08/23/2019 07:54:59

banjo bill-e - Posted - 08/23/2019:  09:30:11


HD, he plays "Jason Romero Style", and you can get there by learning three finger rolls without picks on an open back banjo while listening to a lot of great old time two and three finger players for inspiration. But I do not believe that anyone is going to have a method book or tabs or video leading you step by step. You will have to work that out for yourself, just like Jason had to do. 


Edited by - banjo bill-e on 08/23/2019 09:31:04

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/23/2019:  10:22:21


Thank you banjo bill-e, I will continue to work on it. I did see some players using a pick on their middle finger while playing 2 -3 finger style but I have not been able to find any picks that sound quiet (like Jason does) and don't give a harsh sound.

rudy - Posted - 08/23/2019:  17:13:02


quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

Yes the Cumberland Gap video floored me. I listened to it at least 15 times and thought it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.  i couldn't believe I have never heard anyone play a rendition like this or similar, at least that I have come across.  I just must know his playing style.  I can't tell if he is using 2 or 3 fingers and just doing drop thumb?






Are you familiar with Adam Hurt's Cumberland Gap version?



youtu.be/AZKNrpx6OV4



All of Adam's stuff is gorgeous.

banjooud - Posted - 08/24/2019:  04:14:43


I play with three fingers


TO in JoMO - Posted - 08/24/2019:  07:23:36


This is about 4 years ago when I was trying to figure it out. Still working on trying to play it better. F tuning with basic 3 finger rolls. Love this tuning for clawhammer and fingerpicking. Have tried tuning this up to G but it doesn't sound right. I think some of Jason's recordings are even tuned down a half step from F.


TO in JoMO - Posted - 08/24/2019:  09:05:10


Sally Goodin is another one he plays out of F tuning


banjered - Posted - 08/24/2019:  12:11:32


About a month ago at a folk jam someone, on guitar, sang Four Strong Winds and I was envious that FSWs doesn't sound good on Clawhammer so I've been messing with 2&3 finger. For 3 finger, on strings 5,4 and sometimes 3 I use a kind of thumb lead. On strings 1,2 and sometimes three I use a ring finger lead. Seems to be coming along, a ways to go. It's like starting all over again with a new instrument. It looks like the Romero style is a little more arpeggio than what I am up to. But, as long as no small children get hurt, dogs run over, or I get arrested it should be all right.... banjered

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/26/2019:  05:17:52


To in JoMO are you only striking the 1st string with your middle and then your index is hitting the 2nd and 3rd strings? And you strumming those strings down or up?
Sorry for the questions but I am a beginner and trying to get the concept of Jason's three finger rolls. You are a great player by the way!!!!

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/26/2019:  05:20:34


banjered, you are hilarious! Do you think Jason is up-picking with his index and middle? I just can't tell from the videos. I know he plays arpeggios, I am just trying to find a starting place :)

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/26/2019:  05:51:08


quote:

Originally posted by banjooud

I play with three fingers






Are you up-picking or down picking with your index and middle finger?

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/26/2019:  05:52:11


quote:

Originally posted by banjered

About a month ago at a folk jam someone, on guitar, sang Four Strong Winds and I was envious that FSWs doesn't sound good on Clawhammer so I've been messing with 2&3 finger. For 3 finger, on strings 5,4 and sometimes 3 I use a kind of thumb lead. On strings 1,2 and sometimes three I use a ring finger lead. Seems to be coming along, a ways to go. It's like starting all over again with a new instrument. It looks like the Romero style is a little more arpeggio than what I am up to. But, as long as no small children get hurt, dogs run over, or I get arrested it should be all right.... banjered






banjered, you are hilarious! Do you think Jason is up-picking with his index and middle? I just can't tell from the videos. I know he plays arpeggios, I am just trying to find a starting place :)

banjooud - Posted - 08/26/2019:  06:21:43


quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

quote:

Originally posted by banjooud

I play with three fingers






Are you up-picking or down picking with your index and middle finger?






Only up-picking . Sometime index and middle finger plays at the same time. You have mainly two chords in this song : F and Bb with some variant . I encourage you to use Audacity software or similar tools to slow down and listen carefully





 


 

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/26/2019:  07:01:44


quote:

Originally posted by banjooud

quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

quote:

Originally posted by banjooud

I play with three fingers






Are you up-picking or down picking with your index and middle finger?






Only up-picking . Sometime index and middle finger plays at the same time. You have mainly two chords in this song : F and Bb with some variant . I encourage you to use Audacity software or similar tools to slow down and listen carefully





 


 






Thank you, I am just trying to wrap my mind how to go about learning this tune and 3-finger style.  I want to be able to play without picks but my nails are super short at this time.

banjooud - Posted - 08/26/2019:  07:13:34


It's not necessary to have nails. In the same way as for classical guitar, there is a tradition of playing without nails. You will have a softer and mellow sound by this way .

AldenS - Posted - 08/26/2019:  10:12:49


quote:

Originally posted by cmic

And also the superb "Cumberland gap" (in fDGCD, I think) youtube.com/watch?v=ju5QjZ6HmPI






Thank you so much for linking that! Simply inspiring.

TO in JoMO - Posted - 08/26/2019:  10:41:02


quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

To in JoMO are you only striking the 1st string with your middle and then your index is hitting the 2nd and 3rd strings? And you strumming those strings down or up?

Sorry for the questions but I am a beginner and trying to get the concept of Jason's three finger rolls. You are a great player by the way!!!!






It is all up picking with 3 fingers.   I strike the 1st string with the middle and sometimes the index finger.  On the 2nd string I strike with the index or thumb but on occasion I will use the middle finger on the 2nd string which is not typically done with most 3 finger pickers.  One the 3rd string I use the thumb or index but not the middle finger.



You can pick the strings with whatever finger you can make work, although it is hard to do a good roll using the thumb on the 1st string or index or middle on the 4th or 5th.  Heck, Martin Simpson I have heard plays with 4 fingers.  He has some good music to listen to.



It is all basic 3 finger Scruggs type rolls with some slides and hammer ons.   There are a lot of forward rolls with some   T-I-T-M and M-I-M-T rolls there.    If you are really new to fingerstyle, this might be a tough one to figure out.  You can really get these rolls down in an open tuning like G tuning and trying this later once you get forward, backward, and alternating finger rolls down smoothly.



 

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/27/2019:  11:04:49


quote:

Originally posted by dbrooks

There are some YouTube videos, but it's tough to get a good angle to show Jason's right hand.



"Wild Bill Jones"" - mix of two-finger and three-finger?  youtube.com/watch?v=GZCuPVwhLM0



Lost Lula" - clawhammer:  youtube.com/watch?v=qQLVx7pbZgc



Inside the Craft interview. Good angle of up-picking near the end (8:15):  youtube.com/watch?v=og_Jdw_VNs4



"Babes, Mothers, Fathers" - occasional shots of up-picking: youtube.com/watch?v=og_Jdw_VNs4



David






Yes David, the Inside the Craft clip @ 8:15 does show him using metal picks and up stroking.  Do you think Jason is doing the same on his Cumberland Gap video?  I just can't tell if he is up picking or down picking on his Lost Lula and Cumberland songs (which I love!)

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 08/29/2019:  08:00:16


quote:

Originally posted by TO in JoMO

quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

To in JoMO are you only striking the 1st string with your middle and then your index is hitting the 2nd and 3rd strings? And you strumming those strings down or up?

Sorry for the questions but I am a beginner and trying to get the concept of Jason's three finger rolls. You are a great player by the way!!!!






It is all up picking with 3 fingers.   I strike the 1st string with the middle and sometimes the index finger.  On the 2nd string I strike with the index or thumb but on occasion I will use the middle finger on the 2nd string which is not typically done with most 3 finger pickers.  One the 3rd string I use the thumb or index but not the middle finger.



You can pick the strings with whatever finger you can make work, although it is hard to do a good roll using the thumb on the 1st string or index or middle on the 4th or 5th.  Heck, Martin Simpson I have heard plays with 4 fingers.  He has some good music to listen to.



It is all basic 3 finger Scruggs type rolls with some slides and hammer ons.   There are a lot of forward rolls with some   T-I-T-M and M-I-M-T rolls there.    If you are really new to fingerstyle, this might be a tough one to figure out.  You can really get these rolls down in an open tuning like G tuning and trying this later once you get forward, backward, and alternating finger rolls down smoothly.



 






Thank you, I am going to try up-picking with the Index and Middle.  It seems to me it is going to be easier than strumming down with my middle and index. On in this video:  youtube.com/watch?v=qQLVx7pbZgc it looks like he is using claw hammer method  (picking downwards) without the strum.  I can watch these videos dozens of times, but I still have trouble discerning what technicques he is using.

QuailCreekBanjos - Posted - 08/29/2019:  11:02:11


quote:

Originally posted by dbrooks

HoosierDoodles , yes, up-picking is a category that I think includes 2-finger, 3-funger as well as the Seeger strum.



David






This.  I took a few days to figure out Old Paint, and he uses all three fingers but his playing style is very similar to three fingers rolls (Scruggs).  I'm a clawhammer guy but a fingerstyle guitarist, the hardest thing to figure out was the tuning.  For Old Paint, the first and fifth string are tuned to the same note.  Was throwing me off.

stanger - Posted - 08/31/2019:  13:40:00


quote:

Originally posted by TO in JoMO

quote:

Originally posted by HoosierDoodles

To in JoMO are you only striking the 1st string with your middle and then your index is hitting the 2nd and 3rd strings? And you strumming those strings down or up?

Sorry for the questions but I am a beginner and trying to get the concept of Jason's three finger rolls. You are a great player by the way!!!!






It is all up picking with 3 fingers.   I strike the 1st string with the middle and sometimes the index finger.  On the 2nd string I strike with the index or thumb but on occasion I will use the middle finger on the 2nd string which is not typically done with most 3 finger pickers.  One the 3rd string I use the thumb or index but not the middle finger.



You can pick the strings with whatever finger you can make work, although it is hard to do a good roll using the thumb on the 1st string or index or middle on the 4th or 5th.  Heck, Martin Simpson I have heard plays with 4 fingers.  He has some good music to listen to.



It is all basic 3 finger Scruggs type rolls with some slides and hammer ons.   There are a lot of forward rolls with some   T-I-T-M and M-I-M-T rolls there.    If you are really new to fingerstyle, this might be a tough one to figure out.  You can really get these rolls down in an open tuning like G tuning and trying this later once you get forward, backward, and alternating finger rolls down smoothly.



 






That's what I observed too in the BBC video Goodbye Old Paint.



The thing about Jason's playing is not how complicated it is; it's how beautifully he controls his volume dynamics and how he chooses notes that harmonize with his singing. Most of it is done with the thumb, but not always. 



He also gets that rippling sound with some very solid and well-syncopated rhythm. Using bare fingers on nylon strings also helps a lot. If he was playing a resonated banjo with steel strings and a tight head, it would sound more bluegrassy.



On several songs, Jason alternated between his 3-finger style and clawhammer. He clawhammers with the same drive and syncopation, and he's a very precise player. 



 Jason uses fingerpicks when he's playing the guitar. He plays in a flatpick style that's different from his banjo playing.



I noticed Pharis is playing a Martin guitar they bought from my brother. That guitar was always one of my favorites of his, but he never liked it as much as I did. It was nice to see it again!



regards,



stanger


Edited by - stanger on 08/31/2019 13:57:44

HoosierDoodles - Posted - 09/03/2019:  05:02:13


quote:

Originally posted by sig1965

quote:

Originally posted by dbrooks

HoosierDoodles , yes, up-picking is a category that I think includes 2-finger, 3-funger as well as the Seeger strum.



David






This.  I took a few days to figure out Old Paint, and he uses all three fingers but his playing style is very similar to three fingers rolls (Scruggs).  I'm a clawhammer guy but a fingerstyle guitarist, the hardest thing to figure out was the tuning.  For Old Paint, the first and fifth string are tuned to the same note.  Was throwing me off.






Lindsay, I would love see a clip of you playing Old Paint...what a great song!

banjomanjeff - Posted - 09/10/2019:  06:25:33


Saw him live once very closeup - he does a mixture of everything. Clawhammer, and Scruggs without the picks, basically.

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