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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Carter style strumming

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:

mjherrod - Posted - 06/21/2020:  09:05:10


I posted this question in the bluegrass section before, but I think it actually makes more sense in this forum:


I was wondering if anyone played Carter style on the banjo?

I gave it a try recently and it seemed to work pretty well, but I can't find anything on the Internet about it.

You do miss the bass strings you get from playing the style on the guitar, but if you play the melody on the 3rd and 4th strings it still seems to work.

There's even a ukulele lesson on Carter style, which has even less bass to work with:

Fingerpicks make strumming a bit harder, but it you push the pick higher up your finger it seems to works OK. In fact, in looks like Maybelle Carter and Earl Scruggs wore picks while playing the style on guitar:

Has anything tried this, and if so, do you have any tips?

banjered - Posted - 06/21/2020:  13:29:11

Maybelle played the banjo but not much commercially. Some say she borrowed the technique from clawhammer and applied it to guitar. The rest is history as they say. I play CH on quite a few Carter songs. My lament remains that I have no idea how to post sound clips. i never got past the cassette stage of tech. It's frustrating because I could have been doing the TOTW on both songs and tunes these last 15-20 years on BHO, whatever. No demo today! banjered

UncleClawhammer - Posted - 06/25/2020:  04:12:05

You are already essentially playing "Carter style" - playing the melody and the rhythm at the same time - by playing clawhammer. The difference is that a guitar has three bass strings, and a banjo only has one.

janolov - Posted - 06/25/2020:  07:15:27

Earl Scruggs played a lot Carter strum on guitar, and he used the same picks as on the banjo, which gave hes strumming a special sound when struming down the inex finger with the pick on the inside of the finger, and then picking up. If using this this strum on the banjo, you first pick a bass melody note, but you can pick on any of the four strings or even fifth string and then to the down brush and up brush, and you can have the picks on all the time.

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