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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Drop Thumb- Edge of Thumb or Side of Thumbnail?


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/365897

GeorgeG - Posted - 06/30/2020:  13:03:32


Sorry to bring this up to you veteran pickers out there, but I'm working on the beginnings of drop thumb and wish to know if it's better to use the edge (meat) of the thumb to pick with or the side of the thumbnail. Seems like I can't get much "pop" doing it with the meat, but I have no real thumbnail to work with to try a comparison. My downstroke is with my index. I've been watching Cathy Fink's lessons and I can't tell what she's using. Same with YouTube videos. I just can't visualize it. But I know I can find the answer here. Much obliged and sorry if it's a dumb question.

Tobus - Posted - 06/30/2020:  13:22:16


I use the fleshy side of my thumb for drop-thumbing. There's an art to twanging it a bit with the thumb to accentuate it if it's not coming through as loud as you'd like.

Bill H - Posted - 06/30/2020:  14:20:03


Right or wrong, after thirty-fiveyears I always catch the side of my thumbnail on the string.

blazo - Posted - 06/30/2020:  14:24:16


Your drop thumb thumb position should be the same as your thumb position on the 5th string. It's the same stroke, you are just landing your thumb on a different string. I can't see why you would want to modify your thumb position for strings other than the 5th. I think you should get used to using the meat and try to bury your thumb past the string a little more before plucking the string. Check out this Tom Collins video on thumb mechanics.

Lew H - Posted - 06/30/2020:  15:43:21


GeorgeG You can slow down youtube videos. Click on the cogwheel icon at the bottom of the video screen, and a menu pops up. As I recall, you slow the video to 75% or 50%. This enables to better see picker's hand and finger actions.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 07/01/2020:  04:13:42


Don’t overthink this. Does your stroke work physically? Does it sound ok? (Not necessarily ideal) If yes then just play and learn tunes. When you get fluid and fluent with your playing style, then tinker with your stroke if your like. Getting “pop” on the 5th depends on many things—your strike, string diameter, string height, bridge, cut of the bridge slot.... I usually put a small piece of foam medical tape on my 5th string bridge slot to keep the twang down. Every one’s different. If you keep at it and get your playing down, you’ll have plenty of time to work on the fine points. You may well find that as you get more and more fluent, the sound issues will resolve themselves. If you haven’t tried several different bridges, do so. That may be an easy fix. And remember the clawhammer mantra: “Whatever works.”

Ziradog - Posted - 07/01/2020:  05:19:52


If you Google Tom Collins drop thumb video, you get 7 different videos. Is the one you mean "Banjo Blitz Episode 7: The Drop Thumb Doozy"?

Asking for a friend...

raybob - Posted - 07/01/2020:  06:28:15


I use the fleshy part of the edge of my thumb like Tobus says. I keep my thumbnail short so it doesn’t get involved. I don’t want the nail to do the picking because the sound is too sharp for my liking.
I used to use my thumbnail for finger picking the guitar, but now I either use my bare thumb or put on a thumb pick. (No, I would not use a thumb pick to play Clawhammer banjo.)

blazo - Posted - 07/01/2020:  06:46:54


Here's a Tom Collins video on thumb mechanics -- m.youtube.com/watch?v=RocEKIlpCQM

Not specific to drop thumb but the mechanics are the same.

GeorgeG - Posted - 07/01/2020:  08:26:51


Thank you for all of the replies. I like all of the suggestions, and the lack of snark. It gives me plenty to work on.

AndyW - Posted - 07/01/2020:  08:35:43


I second meat of thumb and it being the same stroke as normal just changing the gap between thumb and frailing finger. If you get the right Tom Collins video then he is probably the guy who goes deepest into basic stroke mechanics. He also has a great patreon site. Here's some other stuff with drop thumb in amongst it.

Dan Levenson 1
banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=235
Dan Levenson 2
banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=247
Dan Levenson 3
banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=260
RSB Videos
rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/rsbvideos.html
RSB Site
rsb=pricklypearmusic.net/

banjo_brad - Posted - 07/01/2020:  11:59:19


AndyW's last link to the RSB Site is not quite correct. It should be a -dot- instead of an "=" sign.
rsb.pricklypearmusic.net

AndyW - Posted - 07/01/2020:  13:58:10


quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

I second meat of thumb and it being the same stroke as normal just changing the gap between thumb and frailing finger. If you get the right Tom Collins video then he is probably the guy who goes deepest into basic stroke mechanics. He also has a great patreon site. Here's some other stuff with drop thumb in amongst it.



Dan Levenson 1

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=235

Dan Levenson 2

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=247

Dan Levenson 3

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=260

RSB Videos

rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/rsbvideos.html

RSB Site

rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/






 

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