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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Drop thumbing advice.

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Broken Ballad - Posted - 05/26/2020:  21:36:18

I was lucky one day and found a vague summary of how to play "oh dear brother" by the lost dog street band. I feel like I can play it with enough practice. Right now I'm going by ear because of the lack of detail I was given. I don't mind, better to do it this way. Back to the problem. since I'm paying so much attention, I'm noticing that this man is drop thumbing at the very end of his strum at certain times. I know I don't have to get it perfect, but I'd like to have a new tool. Could it be that he isn't strumming all the way down, waiting  to strike the first string?  I'm not sure how to go about it when it comes down to hand movement or finger position and so on. Also my hands should be fast enough, just not as dialed in. If anyone can help It'd be appreciated. (Side note I got my drop and double mixed up, this was previously double thumb  but I stand corrected)

Edited by - Broken Ballad on 05/27/2020 08:00:57

Broken Ballad - Posted - 05/27/2020:  05:11:44


Originally posted by m06

The banjo varies the core rhythm pattern up a little. What I mostly hear is a pattern of hammer-on, brush with 5th string back beat and a split note, with quite often the split note followed by a drop thumb.

Definitely some drop-thumb being played but I didn't hear any double-thumbing*.

* - double-thumbing in my banjo vocabulary being thumb picking of the 5th string on consecutive downbeats (may be two or more beats). A technique very much associated with Kyle Creed and other Surry County banjo players.

Thankyou for the info! My bad on the mix up. It sounded like double to me or I just got my terminology wrong. What exactly would a split note be?

Edited by - Broken Ballad on 05/27/2020 05:14:14

R Buck - Posted - 05/27/2020:  08:23:39

The Galax lick incorporates two thumb hits on the 5th string, usually after a brush. Double thumbing to my understanding it striking every other note with the thumb so: with the thumb hitting 5th or 2nd string it might look like 1-2-1-5 or some variation of that. In the past 20 years I have seen folks doing a lot of 1-5-1-5-1-5 with the thumb hitting every other note. The way I learned a long time ago was alternating strings not the 1-5 1-5-1-5-1-5. Each number is for a string and not a fret. Hope this helps.

Edited by - R Buck on 05/27/2020 08:24:58

rhillslc - Posted - 05/27/2020:  08:42:44

Check out for simple video overviews of basic clawhammer techniques, including drop thumb.

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