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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: The best resource for beginners?


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/364819

watercarving - Posted - 06/10/2020:  05:10:47


If you could only give your friend one resource for learning clawhammer what would it be? I've read tons of posts here and found many but it was overwhelming to sort through.

I've played guitar and Scruggs style for years. I know music and the instrument. The clawhammer bug has bit and I want to start out right. Really learn the style, not just songs.

If you could only name one book/CD, DVD, website, etc.....where would you send me?

Thanks so much!

John

hoodoo - Posted - 06/10/2020:  05:36:38


As a beginner, you will run into a lot of different sources. Sometimes you will succeed, sometimes you will stumble, but just as a matter to get the right hand technique down, to me this was the best thing that I encountered when I was a beginner : truefire.com/banjo-lessons/cla...nner/c672

Bob in CT - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:08:42


Wayne Erbsen’s Native Ground Music has two great books - “Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus” and “Clawhammer Banjo”.

AndyW - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:22:39


Dan Levenson's 'Clawhammer Banjo from Scratch' book is good for someone who is proficient with the left hand already.

It focusses mainly on the right hand, progressing through basic rh stroke, double thumbing and then drop thumbing(the early introduction here is important in my opinion). It's main failing of not being very 'organised' for it's left hand teaching wont matter to you.

It won't get you bum diddying out tunes as quickly as some other methods, but will payback by getting you as proficient with the right hand as you'll pretty much ever need. Then you could move on to more advanced stuff with a solid foundation.

Dan Gellert - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:23:34


The County Records 3-cd "Clawhammer Banjo" anthology.
Listen.
Listen.
Listen.

hoodoo - Posted - 06/10/2020:  06:28:04


quote:

Originally posted by Dan Gellert

The County Records 3-cd "Clawhammer Banjo" anthology.

Listen.

Listen.

Listen.






You know, I've been playing for a while and never actually listened to those albums? Whats wrong with me?

Straw - Posted - 06/10/2020:  08:31:32


I found Ken Perlman's Clawhammer Style Banjo to be an excellent beginner book, especially for someone with prior strings experience (I play guitar).
As a teacher, I was impressed with the way he sequences skills.
I also watched many videos to see that crucial claw stroke in action.

AndyW - Posted - 06/10/2020:  10:37:50


RocketScienceBanjo is a free pdf download by Tony Spadero that contains a lot of interesting reading for a beginner. Covers very similar ground to Dan Levensons book in the first chapters, but isn't as methodical (imho), though overall is more comprehensive. Google should be friendly with this one.

BanjoBeck - Posted - 06/10/2020:  11:10:43


I tried multiple websites and CDs but I didn't make any progress until I got an actual instructor (lessons via Skype). The FEEDBACK on what you're doing right/wrong is extremely critical in making any meaningful progress.

QuailCreekBanjos - Posted - 06/10/2020:  12:11:22


I have a few recommendations on my website's "Resources" page.

quailcreekbanjos.com/resources

WHTTW - Posted - 06/20/2020:  10:26:21


Disclaimer **New to clawhammer and new musician** feedback -

I'm having a good time working through the clawhammerbanjo.net/brainjo course. Very organized and fun to pick up some tunes fairly quickly. I say fairly quickly because I spent a month or so working through Josh's recommended (8 essential steps to learning clawhammer banjo) a free, pre-requisite youtube series he also put out.

Broken Ballad - Posted - 06/22/2020:  12:05:51


First I'd send you to banjo lemonade. This woman is an excellent teacher. If you look her up start with basic strum then go to more advanced techniques like double thumb and droo thumb. After that I'd send you to a few different songs. Not to learn but to listen to. Choose songs that your ears like the most. After listening for awhile you will form a style of your own.

AndyW - Posted - 06/22/2020:  14:54:48


quote:

Originally posted by Broken Ballad

First I'd send you to banjo lemonade. This woman is an excellent teacher. If you look her up start with basic strum then go to more advanced techniques like double thumb and droo thumb. After that I'd send you to a few different songs. Not to learn but to listen to. Choose songs that your ears like the most. After listening for awhile you will form a style of your own.






Not wanting to start the age old argument. But just to point out to OP that double thumb and drop thumb are 'basics' in the teaching methods of many. Such as Dan Levenson/Tony Spadero/Tom Collins.

jcking - Posted - 06/22/2020:  16:10:58


I'm still learning and I found Dan Levenson's free videos here



banjohangout.org/lessons/video...amp;id=13



to be very well organized and presented, especially with his discussion in Part 1 of orienting one's body/arm/wrist/downpicking fingernail for best effect. Not a complete course but a very good start I think.

Broken Ballad - Posted - 06/22/2020:  20:06:56


quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

quote:

Originally posted by Broken Ballad

First I'd send you to banjo lemonade. This woman is an excellent teacher. If you look her up start with basic strum then go to more advanced techniques like double thumb and droo thumb. After that I'd send you to a few different songs. Not to learn but to listen to. Choose songs that your ears like the most. After listening for awhile you will form a style of your own.






Not wanting to start the age old argument. But just to point out to OP that double thumb and drop thumb are 'basics' in the teaching methods of many. Such as Dan Levenson/Tony Spadero/Tom Collins.






Eh just my opinion. There are harder things, but It's most likely not basic for someone who hasn't done it before or has little experience. Though I'll admit It is very simple when you get muscle memory. Just curious, what are some more "advanced" techniques? I've been researching and found a few like the California roll, the galax lick, and ghost strum, if I remember the term correctly. They didn't seem to be that difficult.

AndyW - Posted - 06/23/2020:  10:48:11


Double Thumb and Drop Thumb are 'basics' for those instructors (and of course others) because they are the first things taught.

Basic frail single note and thumb 5th exercises first. Then changing strings. Then drop thumb. This is before any brushing or left hand techniques, and bum-ditty rhythm is not the teaching emphasis thought it is taught. Just a different way of doing things from the start, but ending up in a similar place for most.

I have a sneaky suspicion that techniques which seem easy at first, are actually very difficult to perfect especially when playing fast. Falling into the stuff you don't know you don't know category of life.

Broken Ballad - Posted - 06/23/2020:  12:13:31


quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

Double Thumb and Drop Thumb are 'basics' for those instructors (and of course others) because they are the first things taught.



Basic frail single note and thumb 5th exercises first. Then changing strings. Then drop thumb. This is before any brushing or left hand techniques, and bum-ditty rhythm is not the teaching emphasis thought it is taught. Just a different way of doing things from the start, but ending up in a similar place for most.



I have a sneaky suspicion that techniques which seem easy at first, are actually very difficult to perfect especially when playing fast. Falling into the stuff you don't know you don't know category of life.






Speed does make it harder. I never stated I have perfected anything, just implying that those other techniques didn't seem to be that difficult to learn. I was in fact unaware the double and drop thumb are the techniques instructors start out with. I started out brushing and striking , then somewhere down the line moved on to double and drop thumb. Seemed a bit more tricky because of the amount of time I spent brushing. I also have a sneaky suspicion that a debate was in mind after all. Everything I've said has been based on my opinion and my experience, I'm quite new and I'd enjoy information like this if it wasn't rude. So This is my last post due to my opinion that neither of us would let the other say they are correct. Everyone is right and everyone else is wrong. Have a good day.


Edited by - Broken Ballad on 06/23/2020 12:22:57

hweinberg - Posted - 06/23/2020:  14:13:22


It’s horses for courses. All the recommendations have worked for many players, but some will work better for you than others. Fortunately, it’s free or pretty low cost to try the non-private lessons. Some of us learned a long time ago from Pete Seeger’s book and as Dan said, “listening, listening, listening” and watching. We all figured out as I’m sure you will. Onward!

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