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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Well, I'll finally have an open back


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/364812

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/09/2020:  17:35:02


About a year ago I joined the Forum and posted my newbie thread..



banjohangout.org/archive/355018



Hit a financial snag but recovered and after a ton of browsing threads, I decided to commission Mark Hickler to build me an open back. Standard Frailer but with a few changes recommended by Mark.



I'll keep the specs and such under wraps until it arrives. Nothing custom ordered though.



Anyhow, in the meantime I figured I would rent a banjo to go ahead and work on my clawhammer technique while I wait.



I'm going into this thinking that as a fairly decent guitar player, how hard could it be to learn clawhammer banjo ? Well, color me humbled. Cut down to size within 5 minutes of trying to get started !



It was like I had never picked up a string instrument in my life.



I used Cathy Fink's beginner video which is clear as day on right hand technique. No problem at all with the proper clawhammer hand shape/form, but brushing the strings and finishing with my thumb resting on the 5th string was hard for me to get down. Just as I was almost there the muscles in my upper back and neck were tense as all get out.



So I just put the banjo down and relaxed a bit. I picked it up a couple of times since and I'm getting better at it but I've got to do it in small doses.



Anyone else get stressed about it like I did when starting out ?


Edited by - Hugh Walter Jennings on 06/09/2020 20:01:07

JimHenry - Posted - 06/09/2020:  18:17:01


Yes, nearly everyone. No surprise. There will come a time when you can't figure out how it was anything but the most natural motion in the world. Keep at it!

AndrewD - Posted - 06/09/2020:  18:20:33


quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie



Anyone else get stressed about it like I did when starting out ?






Probably just about all of us. Especially those of us who could already pick or strum a guitar. Downpicking is just weird the first time you try it.  I still remember the strange feeling that my hand was in the wrong place when it was above the string I wanted to sound. And that was over 40 years ago.

Alec Cramsie - Posted - 06/09/2020:  19:13:50


Not to mention that fifth string....that messed with me for quite a while!
You're in good company, and you have the right idea....slow and steady wins the race.
Don't get frustrated, and remember to have fun....learn a good song you always wanted to play.
Oh, and welcome back!

doryman - Posted - 06/09/2020:  20:48:50


Charles, I'm sorry to report that there is almost certainly something wrong with your musical DNA. Pretty much everyone who tries clawhammer gets it down perfectly within about ten minutes. Without exception. Yep. That's how it goes.

Jack Baker - Posted - 06/09/2020:  20:59:50


Totally incorrect. You are definitely not a teacher...J Look and ask around before you hammer down....cool  p.s. unless you are joking of course...


Edited by - Jack Baker on 06/09/2020 21:00:18

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/09/2020:  21:18:19


quote:

Originally posted by Jack Baker

Totally incorrect. You are definitely not a teacher...J Look and ask around before you hammer down....cool  p.s. unless you are joking of course...






No worries Jack, I've been mistreated all my life !



 

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/09/2020:  22:07:11


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

Charles, I'm sorry to report that there is almost certainly something wrong with your musical DNA. Pretty much everyone who tries clawhammer gets it down perfectly within about ten minutes. Without exception. Yep. That's how it goes.






Thanks John, I thought it was me !

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/09/2020:  22:18:59


quote:

Originally posted by Alec Cramsie

Not to mention that fifth string....that messed with me for quite a while!

You're in good company, and you have the right idea....slow and steady wins the race.

Don't get frustrated, and remember to have fun....learn a good song you always wanted to play.

Oh, and welcome back!






Hi Alec, the 5th is strange indeed, not being the 1st string. 



I'll get used to it though. One thing I did notice, I certainly don't want spikes. This rental has them at the 7th 8th and 9th fret. I don't like the feel of them at all.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/09/2020:  22:23:09


quote:

Originally posted by JimHenry

Yes, nearly everyone. No surprise. There will come a time when you can't figure out how it was anything but the most natural motion in the world. Keep at it!






Hi Jim, thanks. Worked on it a little more and it's coming along. I reckon I'll see where I am in about a week.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/09/2020:  22:32:08


quote:

Originally posted by AndrewD

quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie



Anyone else get stressed about it like I did when starting out ?






Probably just about all of us. Especially those of us who could already pick or strum a guitar. Downpicking is just weird the first time you try it.  I still remember the strange feeling that my hand was in the wrong place when it was above the string I wanted to sound. And that was over 40 years ago.






Andrew, weird does describe how it feels.



I don't have a proper strap yet but I rigged one up and it helped for whatever reason. Made it a bit more comfortable.



Thanks and good to meet you friend !



 

AndyW - Posted - 06/10/2020:  04:43:02


The great thing I found about beginning claw hammer(as a poor guitar player) was that improvement was very steady over the period of six months to a year. This allowed a constant sense of achievement.

I used Dan Levensons book which I found ideal as an ex guitarist as its first and main focus is on the right hand, double thumb then drop thumb.

dbrooks - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:12:10


Charles, I teach clawhammer at the Louisville Folk School and play at local contra dances (when there was no coronavirus around). I'd be happy to meet with you on Zoom, or in person later, to help you get started on the right path. This is not an ad for the Folk School - yet anyway. I am suggesting a meet and greet to help with that counter-intuitive downstroke.



David

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:32:50


quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

The great thing I found about beginning claw hammer(as a poor guitar player) was that improvement was very steady over the period of six months to a year. This allowed a constant sense of achievement.



I used Dan Levensons book which I found ideal as an ex guitarist as its first and main focus is on the right hand, double thumb then drop thumb.






Hi Andy, I'll look into that title. As a guitarist, I've accumulated a few guitar instruction books through the years. Most of them never got read much, but it may be different with the banjo. So I'm going in with an open mind. 



I think I'll go to the local big chain bookseller today and see what they may have. My local library may have some titles as well.



I picked up a laminated chord chart and that is working out well. I actually have my first original tune started. 



It's going to be fun learning and I'm sure when my banjo build arrives it will inspire me to hang in there. (This rental is a train wreck...issues galore)



 



 

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:43:23


quote:

Originally posted by dbrooks

Charles, I teach clawhammer at the Louisville Folk School and play at local contra dances (when there was no coronavirus around). I'd be happy to meet with you on Zoom, or in person later, to help you get started on the right path. This is not an ad for the Folk School - yet anyway. I am suggesting a meet and greet to help with that counter-intuitive downstroke.



David






Hi David, I met you via my thread I posted last year. 



Thanks for offering to help. We'll have to do an in person meet after the virus gives us a break. I don't have the means to do anything on the internet. My laptop went south and I won't be replacing it soon.



I think I'd enjoy taking a course or two at LFS when things return to normal.



In the mean time stay safe ! 

QldPicker - Posted - 06/11/2020:  15:20:39


quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

About a year ago I joined the Forum and posted my newbie thread..



banjohangout.org/archive/355018







I'm going into this thinking that as a fairly decent guitar player, how hard could it be to learn clawhammer banjo ? Well, color me humbled. Cut down to size within 5 minutes of trying to get started !



It was like I had never picked up a string instrument in my life.



I used Cathy Fink's beginner video which is clear as day on right hand technique. No problem at all with the proper clawhammer hand shape/form, but brushing the strings and finishing with my thumb resting on the 5th string was hard for me to get down. Just as I was almost there the muscles in my upper back and neck were tense as all get out.



 






I had the same experiences. Often felt like giving up. One of the breakthroughs for me was to eliminate the brush stroke. Tom Collins and Lukas Poole demonstrate basic clawhammer technique (rhythm) without using the brush stroke. Once the basic stroke is more natural, the brush stroke becomes an easier proposition. There are many excellent teachers on YouTube. Don't forget Hilarie Burhans.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/11/2020:  15:57:38


quote:

Originally posted by QldPicker

quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

About a year ago I joined the Forum and posted my newbie thread..



banjohangout.org/archive/355018







I'm going into this thinking that as a fairly decent guitar player, how hard could it be to learn clawhammer banjo ? Well, color me humbled. Cut down to size within 5 minutes of trying to get started !



It was like I had never picked up a string instrument in my life.



I used Cathy Fink's beginner video which is clear as day on right hand technique. No problem at all with the proper clawhammer hand shape/form, but brushing the strings and finishing with my thumb resting on the 5th string was hard for me to get down. Just as I was almost there the muscles in my upper back and neck were tense as all get out.



 






I had the same experiences. Often felt like giving up. One of the breakthroughs for me was to eliminate the brush stroke. Tom Collins and Lukas Poole demonstrate basic clawhammer technique (rhythm) without using the brush stroke. Once the basic stroke is more natural, the brush stroke becomes an easier proposition. There are many excellent teachers on YouTube. Don't forget Hilarie Burhans.






Hi Old Picker, thanks for the heads up on Hilarie Burhans. Have her bookmarked and I'll check her out.



Sticking with videos is the plan for now. I know a teacher can spot something a book or video can't but I can't afford a teacher right now. 



And no worries about giving up. It's coming along okay.  I'm a traditionalist in many things but I'm not going to be afraid to find my comfort zone as far as technique is concerned. This laminated chord chart is the best piece of kit I've invested in so far.



I've got a Gator hard case my neighbor gave me as a gift in December for helping him clean his house up a couple of years ago. Inside the case was a Dean Backwoods 6 string tuned like a guitar. It was kind of fun for a few days but he told me when he gave it to me that if I didn't want it I could sell it or trade it for something I did want. So I sold it and kept the case.



I've been looking at straps today. I have pretty much narrowed it down to a Lakota or a Franklin quick release. Franklin is my choice for guitar and bass straps. Love them. But supporting the folks at Lakota Leathers seems a good call.



Good to meet you and here's hoping Australia doesn't have to endure the widespread fires again.



Charlie

QldPicker - Posted - 06/11/2020:  19:44:12


quote:


Good to meet you and here's hoping Australia doesn't have to endure the widespread fires again.



Charlie






Thanks. We really hope so too. We have had an amazing 'escape' from COVID to date, due to the excellent work of the medical profession, statisticians, governments state and Federal and last but not least the general public. Amazing what can be done when all 'sing from the same hymn sheet' (which was not happening during the fires). We are hoping that our music/cultural festivals start up again (2021 is the earliest predicted) as basically all were wiped from the 2020 calender.

nightingale - Posted - 06/11/2020:  19:54:30


I know what you're going through. Bring a travis/John Fahey fingerpicker for years, clawhammer felt alien to me. Several times I thought i'd never get it. But I practiced about an hour every evening an it finally happened. Just some serious practice at first then it will feel natural. I also later got an instructor to make sure any bad habits were corrected early. Glad to hear you're doing well with it!

AndyW - Posted - 06/12/2020:  02:08:30


quote:

Originally posted by QldPicker

quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

About a year ago I joined the Forum and posted my newbie thread..



banjohangout.org/archive/355018







I'm going into this thinking that as a fairly decent guitar player, how hard could it be to learn clawhammer banjo ? Well, color me humbled. Cut down to size within 5 minutes of trying to get started !



It was like I had never picked up a string instrument in my life.



I used Cathy Fink's beginner video which is clear as day on right hand technique. No problem at all with the proper clawhammer hand shape/form, but brushing the strings and finishing with my thumb resting on the 5th string was hard for me to get down. Just as I was almost there the muscles in my upper back and neck were tense as all get out.



 






I had the same experiences. Often felt like giving up. One of the breakthroughs for me was to eliminate the brush stroke. Tom Collins and Lukas Poole demonstrate basic clawhammer technique (rhythm) without using the brush stroke. Once the basic stroke is more natural, the brush stroke becomes an easier proposition. There are many excellent teachers on YouTube. Don't forget Hilarie Burhans.






Eliminating the brush stroke and focussing on a basic clawhammer stroke (double thumb method) is also what Dan Levenson and Tony Spadero's books do.  This leads easily into drop thumb so eliminates that as a learning problem which can happen through the bum-ditty learning method.  



The basic stroke learning method tries to teach you all the tools you'll ever need, and then allows you to pick and choose, putting aside whatever you don't want to use.  The bum-ditty method gives you some basic tool instruction which gets you playing tunes faster, then adds other stuff in later.  I think the bum-ditty way lends itself to plateaus unless you are strong enough mentally to take a step back so you can take two forward, whereas the basic stroke method is always incremental progression. 



For someone dedicated it will all end up in the same place though.


Edited by - AndyW on 06/12/2020 02:09:41

DC5 - Posted - 06/12/2020:  05:39:51


After playing several stringed instruments and going through dozens of instructors and hundreds of books over the last 50 years or so, I finally found an instructor who said "relax", and that was the key to everything. I had no idea how much tension I had when playing. Don't over think and get rid of the tension. Once you get that thumb to rest on a string on every down stroke it will seem so natural you won't know why you ever had a problem with it. And yes, the Cathy Fink video is a great starting place. Josh Turknett's Brainjo is another great starting place. He offers a lot for free, but signing up for his course is well worth the money.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/12/2020:  10:40:18


quote:

Originally posted by m06

Your brain is busily forming a vast array of new neural connections for clawhammer while you practice.



Keep at it and give it time.






Yes sir, I'll keep at it. I thought long and hard whether I really want to play banjo or if it was just a whim. 



I have a nice one being built, so I'm sure it will inspire me to keep at it.

Gordy Ohliger - Posted - 06/12/2020:  13:23:58


Yes, I over-stressed on it for literally years.
.....Then I drank three beers and BOOM I was playin' the banjo!
True story.


doryman - Posted - 06/12/2020:  13:53:20


quote:

Originally posted by Gordy Ohliger

Yes, I over-stressed on it for literally years.

.....Then I drank three beers and BOOM I was playin' the banjo!

True story.






God gave us clawhammer so that we could play the banjo drunk. 

Jack Baker - Posted - 06/12/2020:  13:57:38


I guess I'm just jealous because it took me 15 mins. to learn clawhammer...cool

spoonfed - Posted - 06/12/2020:  14:01:42


I have never played clawhammer, never needed to, I can do it already !!!!!

doryman - Posted - 06/12/2020:  18:34:46


quote:

Originally posted by Jack Baker

I guess I'm just jealous because it took me 15 mins. to learn clawhammer...cool






Well at least you had the tremendous patience and fortitude to stick with it until you got it.  That's something to be proud of right there. 

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/12/2020:  18:59:14






Thanks @AndyW , good stuff to consider there.



I'm making note of all these terms everyone is mentioning and reading up on them.



There's so much to take in, these times of the internet. A few minutes ago I was sitting on my front porch and thinking about how it might have been up in some hollow in Appalachia learning to play a banjo in the early part of the 1900's.



Accessories were surely few and far between. And I doubt there was much talk of tonewoods, learning methods, favorite picks, etc.



But today we have it all. Learning material, videos, the access to instruction and accessories can be carried most anywhere we might be, right there on our phones.



Great times to learn banjo for sure.


Edited by - Hugh Walter Jennings on 06/12/2020 19:03:09

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/12/2020:  19:07:09


quote:

Originally posted by nightingale

I know what you're going through. Bring a travis/John Fahey fingerpicker for years, clawhammer felt alien to me. Several times I thought i'd never get it. But I practiced about an hour every evening an it finally happened. Just some serious practice at first then it will feel natural. I also later got an instructor to make sure any bad habits were corrected early. Glad to hear you're doing well with it!






Thanks for the encouragement nightingale. I'm seeing progress every time I pick it up.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/12/2020:  19:15:39


quote:

Originally posted by DC5

After playing several stringed instruments and going through dozens of instructors and hundreds of books over the last 50 years or so, I finally found an instructor who said "relax", and that was the key to everything. I had no idea how much tension I had when playing. Don't over think and get rid of the tension. Once you get that thumb to rest on a string on every down stroke it will seem so natural you won't know why you ever had a problem with it. And yes, the Cathy Fink video is a great starting place. Josh Turknett's Brainjo is another great starting place. He offers a lot for free, but signing up for his course is well worth the money.






Hi Dave, I found Josh's videos and have them bookmarked. I'll take a look at them for sure.



I'm getting better at landing on that 5th. I think initially I was worried about landing softly instead of just relaxing and letting it happen.



 

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/12/2020:  19:36:05


quote:

Originally posted by Gordy Ohliger

Yes, I over-stressed on it for literally years.

.....Then I drank three beers and BOOM I was playin' the banjo!

True story.






Gordy, in my younger days, me and my buddies had a beer slogan. " Old Milwaukee is better than no Milwaukee" 



These days I prefer a good bock. Matter of fact I have six in the refrigerator I grabbed back in December I need to tend to before they sour. 



I'll try it your method !

DC5 - Posted - 06/13/2020:  06:12:05


quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

quote:

Originally posted by Gordy Ohliger

Yes, I over-stressed on it for literally years.

.....Then I drank three beers and BOOM I was playin' the banjo!

True story.






Gordy, in my younger days, me and my buddies had a beer slogan. " Old Milwaukee is better than no Milwaukee" 



These days I prefer a good bock. Matter of fact I have six in the refrigerator I grabbed back in December I need to tend to before they sour. 



I'll try it your method !






We had a similar saying, "Old Milwaukee, the beer that tastes as good as it's name, Old."

DC5 - Posted - 06/13/2020:  06:16:30


quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

quote:

Originally posted by DC5

After playing several stringed instruments and going through dozens of instructors and hundreds of books over the last 50 years or so, I finally found an instructor who said "relax", and that was the key to everything. I had no idea how much tension I had when playing. Don't over think and get rid of the tension. Once you get that thumb to rest on a string on every down stroke it will seem so natural you won't know why you ever had a problem with it. And yes, the Cathy Fink video is a great starting place. Josh Turknett's Brainjo is another great starting place. He offers a lot for free, but signing up for his course is well worth the money.






Hi Dave, I found Josh's videos and have them bookmarked. I'll take a look at them for sure.



I'm getting better at landing on that 5th. I think initially I was worried about landing softly instead of just relaxing and letting it happen.



 






In one of Ken Perlman's books he says the thumb should land at the same time as the striking finger and depress the string (5th, or another if drop thumbing) and the force of the string pushing up should help propel the hand back up.  Whether or not you sound the string is dependent on how you release your thumb when it comes off the string. 

Helix - Posted - 06/13/2020:  06:51:28


Great thread. I’m learning so much



I went back and relearned up-picking. Now I use as many 2 fingered pinch chords as I can find



All kinds of Round Peak in the future

If there’s an earthquake, we’ll be dancing around a Banjo fire, cutting the dust with Buffalo Gals



While recording guitar tracks with Banjo tracks I had to learn to get the guitar out of the way and play more simply



Hurricane Sandy saw the Postal Hero walk up over the rubble about 8pm with a Banjo (helix) delivery

Those cats had a fire in a barrel

Banjo makes things a little more jolly

I always enjoy the contra dances



with Mr Hickler’s work you’ll be pushing back your threshold



enjoy the ride


Edited by - Helix on 06/13/2020 06:52:18



 

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/13/2020:  11:07:27


quote:

Originally posted by DC5

quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

quote:

Originally posted by Gordy Ohliger

Yes, I over-stressed on it for literally years.

.....Then I drank three beers and BOOM I was playin' the banjo!

True story.






Gordy, in my younger days, me and my buddies had a beer slogan. " Old Milwaukee is better than no Milwaukee" 



These days I prefer a good bock. Matter of fact I have six in the refrigerator I grabbed back in December I need to tend to before they sour. 



I'll try it your method !






We had a similar saying, "Old Milwaukee, the beer that tastes as good as it's name, Old."






Ha, not far from true. We definitely shot for quantity over quality in those days.



The worst I've probably ever had is Iron City. I think it was overpriced at about 5 bucks a case of 24. One of my buddies said that " it's bottled out of a rusty pipe. That's why it's yellow"

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/13/2020:  11:12:45


quote:

Originally posted by DC5

quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

quote:

Originally posted by DC5

After playing several stringed instruments and going through dozens of instructors and hundreds of books over the last 50 years or so, I finally found an instructor who said "relax", and that was the key to everything. I had no idea how much tension I had when playing. Don't over think and get rid of the tension. Once you get that thumb to rest on a string on every down stroke it will seem so natural you won't know why you ever had a problem with it. And yes, the Cathy Fink video is a great starting place. Josh Turknett's Brainjo is another great starting place. He offers a lot for free, but signing up for his course is well worth the money.






Hi Dave, I found Josh's videos and have them bookmarked. I'll take a look at them for sure.



I'm getting better at landing on that 5th. I think initially I was worried about landing softly instead of just relaxing and letting it happen.



 






In one of Ken Perlman's books he says the thumb should land at the same time as the striking finger and depress the string (5th, or another if drop thumbing) and the force of the string pushing up should help propel the hand back up.  Whether or not you sound the string is dependent on how you release your thumb when it comes off the string. 






I'll make note of that and see if that is what starts happening as I get better.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/13/2020:  11:30:23


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

Great thread. I’m learning so much



I went back and relearned up-picking. Now I use as many 2 fingered pinch chords as I can find



All kinds of Round Peak in the future

If there’s an earthquake, we’ll be dancing around a Banjo fire, cutting the dust with Buffalo Gals



While recording guitar tracks with Banjo tracks I had to learn to get the guitar out of the way and play more simply



Hurricane Sandy saw the Postal Hero walk up over the rubble about 8pm with a Banjo (helix) delivery

Those cats had a fire in a barrel

Banjo makes things a little more jolly

I always enjoy the contra dances



with Mr Hickler’s work you’ll be pushing back your threshold



enjoy the ride




Hi Larry, I'm feeling good about my choice to go with one of Mark's builds. I'm not going to name the model of this rental I have, but the street price on it is $750. I rented it for a week with the option of calling on or before the day it's due back and extending it to a month for an additional weekly rate. It has several issues, the worst of which is the fret work. Might be a factory second but anyhow.... I'm going to take it back when it's due.



 



"we’ll be dancing around a Banjo fire, cutting the dust with Buffalo Gals"



That's golden. Is that a song lyric ? It should be.







 


Edited by - Hugh Walter Jennings on 06/13/2020 11:32:02

Helix - Posted - 06/14/2020:  13:18:56


Don’t make love by the garden gate

Love is blind but the neighbors ain’t

AndyW - Posted - 06/14/2020:  13:44:20


quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

quote:

Originally posted by DC5

quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie

quote:

Originally posted by DC5

After playing several stringed instruments and going through dozens of instructors and hundreds of books over the last 50 years or so, I finally found an instructor who said "relax", and that was the key to everything. I had no idea how much tension I had when playing. Don't over think and get rid of the tension. Once you get that thumb to rest on a string on every down stroke it will seem so natural you won't know why you ever had a problem with it. And yes, the Cathy Fink video is a great starting place. Josh Turknett's Brainjo is another great starting place. He offers a lot for free, but signing up for his course is well worth the money.






Hi Dave, I found Josh's videos and have them bookmarked. I'll take a look at them for sure.



I'm getting better at landing on that 5th. I think initially I was worried about landing softly instead of just relaxing and letting it happen.



 






In one of Ken Perlman's books he says the thumb should land at the same time as the striking finger and depress the string (5th, or another if drop thumbing) and the force of the string pushing up should help propel the hand back up.  Whether or not you sound the string is dependent on how you release your thumb when it comes off the string. 






I'll make note of that and see if that is what starts happening as I get better.






Different folks different strokes.



But in my opinion, if it's not happening now. Slow down, make it happen and ingrain it.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/14/2020:  22:04:31


@AndyW

Getting there

I tried practicing on my stomach in front of the mirror and dang if it didn't help.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/14/2020:  22:11:41


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

Don’t make love by the garden gate



Love is blind but the neighbors ain’t








“Aiden, you are a fine young man

you’ll make your father proud

but you’ll never have sweet Emma’s hand

two cousins a’weddin won't be alowed”



Emma wept for her dreams refused

but the family knew what’s right

“my child your Aiden you cannot chose

for your children will be a fright”

Paul R - Posted - 06/16/2020:  17:50:40



quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie



Anyone else get stressed about it like I did when starting out ?






Actually, no (no kidding - I almost wish I were). I was a beginning guitar fingerpicker and used Pete Seeger's book to get the "Seeger strum". Some few years later I took a couple of clawhammer lessons and it came really easily. The only snag is that I totally abandoned the Seeger method and now I'd have to learn that all over again. The good part is that, thanks to HBO and the good people here, we've learned that there's more to old time banjo than just clawhammer style.




quote:

Originally posted by Kentucky Charlie



 A few minutes ago I was sitting on my front porch and thinking about how it might have been up in some hollow in Appalachia learning to play a banjo in the early part of the 1900's.






You most likely would have worked up your own style. Things didn't become homogeneous until radio and records came along. As Ken Bloom once explained, the player on one side of the mountain played differently from the player on the other side of the mountain. But, when they heard records on the radio, they were influenced by what they heard. Oh, and retail. They could get mail order banjos thanks to things like the Sears catalogue. Ry Cooder called it the three R's that revolutionized the music industry: radio, records, and retail.

Hugh Walter Jennings - Posted - 06/17/2020:  12:19:31


@Paul R

Hi Paul, I searched, trying to find when Eastern Ky got electricity with no luck. I suppose they lagged behind many of the big towns. Just curious of when they actually got radios.

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