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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: 2F index vs thumb lead


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/382724

DWFII - Posted - 04/19/2022:  07:09:54


Learning from Sebastian Schroeder's books...two questions:



First, there is a web site and a code inside the front cover to gain access to some recorded music. but going to the website produces an error and I don't know how to use the code or even if it still can be used.



Second, at one point in the thumb lead book he he describes a "drop thumb" technique that has the thumb striking the first string and the index finger hitting the fifth string. Man, that's awkward and almost counter-intuitive. Reaching for the fifth string with the index finger pulls my anchor off the head slightly.



How common is this "drop thumb: technique in 2FTL?



I'm a little torn, because  although I'm doing alright with the index lead technique,  the sound of the index finger striking the first string (in particular)  is annoying at best. I much prefer the sound, on all the strings, of using my thumb.

thisoldman - Posted - 04/19/2022:  07:43:28


You've been asking some interesting (and good) questions. Obviously you are putting a lot of thought into this banjo playing thing. Second, striking the the 1st and 5th strings at the same time is a "pinch". Striking down with the thumb on the 5th and "pulling up" with your index on the 1st at the same time. Takes some time to get something close to the same volume on both strings.  Check this video out "The Pinch"  Common move, sort of a space filler.   Like a strum or "dit" in the bum ditty clawhammer stroke.  


Edited by - thisoldman on 04/19/2022 07:47:10

janolov - Posted - 04/19/2022:  11:59:23


Will Keys is a famous 2FIL (index lead) player. He died in 2004 but there are some videos available on YouTube. He sometimes used to play a melody note by index finger on fifth string, immediately followed by a thumb note on the first string. Also BHO member Chip Arnold does the same, I think. I think playing first and fifth string is a little advanced, but you can start with thumb on first string and index on second or third string for practicing.



In this video you can see Will playing. It is index lead but he uses his thumb a lot on the first string: youtube.com/watch?v=Hq3864GG46Y



Also watch this 40 minutes video if you are intreseted in his style: youtube.com/watch?v=I029KWCeWNM


Edited by - janolov on 04/19/2022 12:14:13

chip arnold - Posted - 04/19/2022:  12:43:26


One caveat when watching Will's right hand. His thumb had an extreme backward bend, and I emphasize extreme, so it often appears that he's using it on the 1st string when he's actually picking the 2nd. And yes, he did use it on the 1st, just not as often as it may seem. When I asked him about using his index on the 5th string and he winked and said "I don't do that near as much as people think I do"! Will loved the fact that people couldn't figure out what he was doing and he liked to keep them guessing. I learned the index on the 5th from Will and used it even less than he did.
As for the tone produced by the thumb vs the finger, here's something to try. Sit facing into an uncluttered corner in your house and play. You'll hear what a listener in front of you would hear. You may be surprised at the sounds you're getting.

DWFII - Posted - 04/19/2022:  15:04:36


Thanks to all of you. I think I have the pinch pretty well...got that down in the first couple of pages of Shroeder's 2FIl book.



What's troubling me is that I love the sound of a thumb struck string. Every one of the five strings sounds different when struck by the thumb than they do when struck/plucked by the index finger. And the thumb struck strings sound beautiful to my ear--the tone is just rounder and sweeter.



But I am worried by having to strike the fifth string with my index finger not even because of the sound but simply because reaching for the fifth with my index finger tends to drag my anchor out of place. In Schroeder's 2FTL book he calls this "drop thumbing' and suggests an excercise striking the third string with the index, first string with the thumb, fifth string with the index and fifth string with the thumbe (all eighth notes).



That said, except for that one excersize I don't see (quick scanning) a single song in his book on 2FTL that has that index finger on the fifth or the thumb on the first. I guess I wonder if it was a mis-print (doubtful, I know) or just hardly ever used.

chip arnold - Posted - 04/19/2022:  17:35:38


You will never ever need to do that. No matter what he has in his book, you won't need to do it.

There are times in 3/4 time where I play i on 3rd string, t on 1st, i on 2nd, t on 5th. I do it to get a certain sequence of notes in D/D tuning, but they're not really necessary. I can play the same tunes without that sequence.


Edited by - chip arnold on 04/19/2022 17:37:09

DWFII - Posted - 04/19/2022:  18:02:17


quote:

Originally posted by chip arnold

You will never ever need to do that. No matter what he has in his book, you won't need to do it.

There are times in 3/4 time where I play i on 3rd string, t on 1st, i on 2nd, t on 5th. I do it to get a certain sequence of notes in D/D tuning, but they're not really necessary. I can play the same tunes without that sequence.






Thanks Mr. Arnold. I appreciate it.

thisoldman - Posted - 04/19/2022:  19:00:39


My bad..I misread the original post. Please ignore what I wrote.

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