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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Crossroads. Knock-Down 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/362759

BanjoDaddio - Posted - 04/03/2020:  21:32:05


youtu.be/6k_7G13qhA0

JSB88 - Posted - 04/04/2020:  08:18:52


Absolutely Fantastic

bd - Posted - 04/09/2020:  19:38:59


Good stuff!
How is this NOT clawhammer?

Broken Ballad - Posted - 04/09/2020:  20:54:11


I thought I saw some smoke coming off that banjo! I'd definitely like to try that tune. If that's isn't clawhammer...are there any videos for that style?

BanjoDaddio - Posted - 04/09/2020:  22:01:46


A comment on labeling and categorizing here.
Over the years, I’ve come to know this approach, or style of clawhammer or, frailing as “ Knock down “. It’s an old term and has been around for a long time. I believe I first saw it referenced in an old tutorial. The term clawhammer is applied to a myriad of styles these days but they can be very different from one another. For example, Wade Ward, Kyle Creed, Pete Seeger, Uncle Dave Macon, then some of the more recent modern stylists doing note for note renditions of fiddle tunes ( melodic clawhammer) They can all be called “ Clawhammer” but of varying styles. I have chosen to refer this rendition of the song as “ Knock Down” style in order to deferentiate it from the other styles of clawhammer out there. I use that term to set it apart from styles like “ Round Peak”, or, melodic clawhammer. The word “Clawhammer” is based on the appearance of the right hand of the player- a claw look. It has its heritage from what is now termed, Minstrel or, stroke style which utilizes that same right hand configuration- a claw. Different strokes, for different folks.. My problem is I love it all.. We need happy tunes in these tough times. Playing this ole banjo and praying between tunes is helping me cope. Puts things in perspective, a re-evaluation of what’s important. Stay safe folks.

Broken Ballad - Posted - 04/10/2020:  23:07:14


quote:

Originally posted by BanjoDaddio

A comment on labeling and categorizing here.

Over the years, I’ve come to know this approach, or style of clawhammer or, frailing as “ Knock down “. It’s an old term and has been around for a long time. I believe I first saw it referenced in an old tutorial. The term clawhammer is applied to a myriad of styles these days but they can be very different from one another. For example, Wade Ward, Kyle Creed, Pete Seeger, Uncle Dave Macon, then some of the more recent modern stylists doing note for note renditions of fiddle tunes ( melodic clawhammer) They can all be called “ Clawhammer” but of varying styles. I have chosen to refer this rendition of the song as “ Knock Down” style in order to deferentiate it from the other styles of clawhammer out there. I use that term to set it apart from styles like “ Round Peak”, or, melodic clawhammer. The word “Clawhammer” is based on the appearance of the right hand of the player- a claw look. It has its heritage from what is now termed, Minstrel or, stroke style which utilizes that same right hand configuration- a claw. Different strokes, for different folks.. My problem is I love it all.. We need happy tunes in these tough times. Playing this ole banjo and praying between tunes is helping me cope. Puts things in perspective, a re-evaluation of what’s important. Stay safe folks.






Thanks for the info but you didn't answer my question. Are there any videos? A tutorial would be helpful to see how different it is. I couldn't find one when I looked it up.

BanjoDaddio - Posted - 04/16/2020:  22:54:35


I don’t know if anyone has ever titled a banjo tutorial “ Knock Down” or, Clawhammer Knock Down Style” Take a look at anything of Granpa Jones and Stringbean on Youtube. Their style can be called “ Knock Down” clawhammer. Granpa has referred to his style as knock down on occasion. I’ve just taken a few liberties with the style and added a few out of the norm right hand things at the end. Tuning GCGCC is not used much either.
PS The term “whamming” has also been used. Stay Safe

Don Huber - Posted - 04/18/2020:  11:17:34


Clawhammer is a term that has unfortunately taken on a life of it's own.

While it certainly applies to pickers like Kyle Creed, Tommy Jarrell, Charlie Lowe, Fred Cockerham and current masters such as Kevin Fore and Kirk Sutphin(sometimes) it is not representative of most downpicking styles. True clawhammer(CH) for me, must be on a banjo with wide string spacing, high action, played close to where the pot meets the neck, and preferably on a fretless banjo.

The term CH, came into vogue as the Old Time urban revival picked up steam. Some of this was part of an anti-Bluegrass identity crises which we've discussed in the past.

Some other great regional names for downpicking styles are:
thrashing
frailing
framing
overhand
flying hand
rapping
drop thumb

I wish Banjo hangout would get rid of the term CH from the category list and just say "Old Time banjo; up and down picking".

Finally, it's a shame that quite a few people still call any open back banjo a "clawhammer banjo". Maybe they carry it on a tool belt? And if I play in a finger style on my open back banjo am I getting it all wrong?

banjo bill-e - Posted - 04/18/2020:  11:55:19


Well, of all options presented, I think "clawhammer" sounds the coolest, though I admit that I do like the sound of "knock down". Both sound better to my ears than "frailing", which is all that I had ever heard before.

I agree that the idea of a clawhammer banjo is foolish. Actually, so is "Bluegrass banjo", all we need is Open Back and Resonator, then play however you like on either.

Nickcd - Posted - 04/19/2020:  00:59:52


List of some terms from Art Rosenbaum -
Frailing, flayin' hand, clawhammer, knocking, rapping, overhand, fram-style
"and many other Appalachian appellations".
But he settles on the term "down-picking" as he says "to avoid ridiculous arguments".

hweinberg - Posted - 04/19/2020:  10:52:07


I agree with Art Rosenbaum's take as reported by Nick. The same issue arises in many musical genres and playing styles. Fortunately, it doesn't usually affect the music.

Don Huber - Posted - 04/19/2020:  10:53:22


Art's book was my banjo Bible when it came out; still is.

And I also agree with Bill-E about the nonsense of calling resonator banjos BG banjos. My 1927 Gibson was built at a time when blue grass was confused with fescue.

Here's another amusing tidbit. Lots of OT banjo players love the fancy open back banjos from the turn of the 20th century. I call 'em "Boston Banjos". Downpickers really love them, but most were originally built for parlour and Classic banjo music. Yet, I admit that I still lust for a vintage Tubaphone!

RG - Posted - 04/19/2020:  11:22:28


I prefer "rapping" just to confuse younger folks... and Rufus Crisp used that term... both valid reasons IMHO...

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