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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Pretty Daughter - Clawhammer

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watercarving - Posted - 07/12/2020:  15:54:02

My friend and I play this song with me playing BG banjo. We are interested in slowing it down and trying a more haunting type version. In BG I don't retune. I just never play the B.

How would you approach this in CH? I've experimented with mountain minor but it doesn't sound like a minor chord when I do the brushes.

If you were going to play this song rhythm and take a lead break in CH what would your approach be?


BrooksMT - Posted - 07/14/2020:  22:00:23

I'd like to hear your BG version, can you post a video or .mp3?

Perhaps if BHO members heard your version, they could advise you on converting it to clawhammer (I probably don't have enough experience to do that for you).

watercarving - Posted - 07/15/2020:  04:39:08

I can do that but it's up to speed with the clip I posted. Way faster than we want to do CH. I want to tone it down.

Part of the issue is the brush in sawmill tuning sounds a little off. Not sure why. I'm working on a simpler version and it's getting better.

BrooksMT - Posted - 07/15/2020:  10:46:08

Sawmill (also called mountain minor) brush will sound off because the C on the 2nd string does not fit in normal chord intervals for the G chord. It's not supposed to :-). Mountain musicians did all sorts of things with their songs to make them sound weird/better/less sweet/take your pick. For instance, some intervals between notes were 1/2 a semitone (can only easily get that with a fretless instrument; fretted banjos can use a bend on the next lower fret to get the 1/2 semitone effect; I've never done it, only read about it, so not an expert).

If you want a more harmonious brush, leave a finger on the C string at 2nd fret, making it a D, giving you a 1-5 power chord with your brush.

Another thread on BHO tunes to a true Gminor key, dropping the C into Bb. You might try that tuning with your song.


Audacity allows me to slow any downloaded song to the speed I wish; I do it all the time for learning a song by ear. Audacity, a freeware program (donation accepted) will also change the key of the song, independently of changing the speed; again, I use it all the time to put the song in a key (tuning) I like.

Hope this helps.

Edited by - BrooksMT on 07/15/2020 10:52:40

watercarving - Posted - 07/17/2020:  13:23:41

I took a stab at it CH style.

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