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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Clawhammer Banjo by Miles Krassen


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/74269

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:55:24


I am trying my hand at clawhammer, and after reading a couple of tutorials on the bum ditty I decided to try and learn a song. At the same time I watched a video showing that you are supposed to pick the individual strings (the "bum") with the back of your fingernail? But when I do that I get this clicky sound I dont like.. I kinda play by picking the string normally with the underside of my finger and I think it sounds ok...

Am I missing something?

Check out "whiskey in the jar test1" on my homepage for an example.

tonehead - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:59:41


Yes, with the back of your fingernail. You may need to change the angle at which you hit the string if you don't like the sound you're getting.

Take a look at this. He's playing with his middle finger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2oTOXSrxhA


Be significant.



Edited by - tonehead on 02/08/2007 09:04:51

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  09:27:50


I´ve been experimenting using fingerpicks (the index and middle finger picks used in bluegrass) only turned upside down :P Since I have the suspicion my fingernail isnt long enough to make the correct sound, is that ok?

Rachel Streich - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:23:12


Some people do use a fingerpick worn backwards (covering the fingernail), especially if their fingernail isn't long enough, or wears out and breaks easily. So that part is OK.

But using metal or plastic fingerpicks might be what's giving you that clicky sound you don't like. Take off the picks and try downpicking with your bare fingernail instead -- you might find you like the sound better. You don't need a really long nail to play clawhammer / frailing style anyway -- as long as your nail extends just a little bit beyond the tip of your finger, you'll be fine. Even if your nail is shorter than that, you can still frail with it -- you'll just get a softer tone.

Rachel Streich

What?: c 1920 Weymann 5-string openback
How Long?: Since 1989
Venues: Mostly jamming, willing to teach
Style: Old-time clawhammer
Other: Fiddle, guitar, some mandolin, vocals
Working On: "Garfield's Blackberry Blossom"
Dream Banjo: I'll know it when I see it

Yopparai - Posted - 02/08/2007:  11:09:39


AND give it some time as well. Starting out, it takes a while for the claw stroke and the rhythm to settle in. As your hand settles into that groove, your attack and tone will get better without (consciously) changing a thing.

I keep my fingernail clipped back pretty short (the same as all the rest of them) so you don't HAVE to have a long nail. It also frees me from a lot of the concerns about breakage. There just isn't a lot of it sticking out that could break.

disclaimers:
1) I have pretty hard nails. You're milage may vary.
2) Some folks just prefer the sound they get with a longer nail. To each his/her own.

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:55:24


I am trying my hand at clawhammer, and after reading a couple of tutorials on the bum ditty I decided to try and learn a song. At the same time I watched a video showing that you are supposed to pick the individual strings (the "bum") with the back of your fingernail? But when I do that I get this clicky sound I dont like.. I kinda play by picking the string normally with the underside of my finger and I think it sounds ok...

Am I missing something?

Check out "whiskey in the jar test1" on my homepage for an example.

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  12:50:02


In preparation for a workshop next month, I have been expanding my ClearHead™ video series. We shot a few very brief instructional clips yesterday showing the motion of my hand during double/drop thumbing, as viewed from behind through a clear banjo head. I have run three of them together for your viewing "pleasure"

My middle (playing) nail is painted white, and I've used black strings to help make things visible.

http://zeppmusic.com/Clearhead/2thumbcomp.mpg

Cheers,
ZEPP





* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

Limax - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:34:15


Darn work machine won't do mpeg. I'll have to wait until I get to a machine that I have power over.

A salted slug gathers no moss.

Etnaforge - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:46:30


Can't open it ?

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:52:35


You can see it on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=zeppmusic

It lacks the mpeg's resolution, but http://zeppmusic.com/Clearhead/2thumbcomp.wmv works with Windoze Media Player...

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *


Edited by - ZEPP on 02/08/2007 14:02:10

jasperr - Posted - 02/08/2007:  14:54:30


Videos on youtube are very instructive... just wish they were longer.

Jim

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  15:04:36


quote:
Originally posted by jasperr

Videos on youtube are very instructive... just wish they were longer.


Thanks--they're just snippets of a project I'm working on. And, truth be told, it's really uncomfortable playing the banjo in the position I have to hold it for these shots!

Cheers,
ZEPP




* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

KE - Posted - 02/08/2007:  15:41:15


Those are very helpful. Thanks for doing this. It's great instruction.

BConk - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:08:35


quote:
Originally posted by ZEPP

Thanks--they're just snippets of a project I'm working on. And, truth be told, it's really uncomfortable playing the banjo in the position I have to hold it for these shots!




you need to make up some sort of belly cam


Brian
http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...4644&alid=-1

Limax - Posted - 02/08/2007:  17:25:28


quote:
Originally posted by Etnaforge

Can't open it ?





Opening it's fine. The problem is that the work version of Quicktime throws up a big 'Q' with a question mark in the middle. Thanks for the YouTube link, Zepp!

A salted slug gathers no moss.

ajbadger - Posted - 02/08/2007:  17:55:28


It came across very clearly from what I could see,

Thanks for sharing it.

Sincerely,

AJ

http://phritzysworld.wordpress.com
===============
"Reason is the slave of desire."

canerods - Posted - 02/08/2007:  18:32:58


Zepp, your clear head video's are really helpful...thanks for posting them! I've watched them many times -- they're great learning tools. Thanks for adding a new one!
Joe

"A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo, but chooses not to." Mark Twain

Galante_K4 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  19:13:03


Dr. Zepp your stuff is terrific. How else would I have ever heard of, let alone learned the Galax lick!
In 1962 I only had Pete Seeger's book and some real old 78rpm records in my College's library.

"Admitting to yourself that you have BAS is the first step in recovery."

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:55:24


I am trying my hand at clawhammer, and after reading a couple of tutorials on the bum ditty I decided to try and learn a song. At the same time I watched a video showing that you are supposed to pick the individual strings (the "bum") with the back of your fingernail? But when I do that I get this clicky sound I dont like.. I kinda play by picking the string normally with the underside of my finger and I think it sounds ok...

Am I missing something?

Check out "whiskey in the jar test1" on my homepage for an example.

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  12:50:02


In preparation for a workshop next month, I have been expanding my ClearHead™ video series. We shot a few very brief instructional clips yesterday showing the motion of my hand during double/drop thumbing, as viewed from behind through a clear banjo head. I have run three of them together for your viewing "pleasure"

My middle (playing) nail is painted white, and I've used black strings to help make things visible.

http://zeppmusic.com/Clearhead/2thumbcomp.mpg

Cheers,
ZEPP





* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:03:09


Do you know of any good books/dvd´s/tapes/stone tablets that teach clawhammer that can benefit a newbie like me? :) Preferably teaching both the technique and some songs.

thanks :)

ummy123 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:22:58


Ken Pearlman does a very good series of DVD's which are easy to follow and cover all of your requirements. Recommended*

jasperr - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:53:55


CLAWHAMMER BANJO FROM SCRATCH: A GUIDE FOR THE CLAW-LESS! by Dan Levenson avaliable at http://elderly.com or from Dan. Also on the web is Mike Iversons tabs and mp3's. http://www.bluesageband.com Hope this helps

Jim

chip arnold - Posted - 02/08/2007:  17:02:39


Mary Z. Cox and R.D. Lunsford and Dan Levenson are members here as are others who have good learning materials available. Take advantage of their stuff and you get to ask them questions on the Hangout!.

Play with a plan
Chip

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  17:15:57


I´m thining about this :
http://www.amazon.com/Clawhammer-St...e=UTF8&s=dvd

Is that good?

canerods - Posted - 02/08/2007:  17:59:30


An excellent on-line resource is Mike Iverson's website, excellent instruction for nearly all levels. Here's the link: http://www.bluesageband.com/Tabs.html

"A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo, but chooses not to." Mark Twain

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/08/2007:  18:06:11


talmir
Ken is one of the best teachers I've ever met and his books are organized beautifully. YOu can't go wrong buying his books.
That said, I still recommend finding a live teacher - someone who can give you direct feedback on the frail, drop thumb etc. It doesn't necessarily have to be straight weekl lessons, but it really helps to have someone who can point out what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right.

The Whiskey Before Breakfast variations and a few tunes in "F" tuning are now available on the web at:
http://home.thegrid.net/~fjbrad/id20.html

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  18:09:59


oldwoodchuckb : That´s a big problem for me.. I live in a very small country (iceland), pretty much a big frosen rock in the north sea. There dont seem to be any banjo teachers in the country.. Otherwise I´d love to get weekly sessions :(

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/08/2007:  19:29:26


Talmir
I would be glad to come over and give you lessons but the commute would be a bit too expensive for me.

My next best advice is to get a few videos over time and watch the difference between various styles. I don't know if any American (or for that matter European or Japanese) old time or folk groups ever play Iceland but I suggest keeping your eye out for an opportunity to see a live demonstration. If you can, you might arrange to meet and do a little study with a banjo player. Most are more than happy to help.

If there are folk music clubs in Iceland it would also be worth getting in touch with the management. Way back in 1966 a friend of mine went to Iceland for something to do with linguistics - his college minor. He carried his Frank Proffitt fretless 5 string everywhere and ended up playing a couple nights at what sounds very much like a coffeehouse style folk club. Time has faded the memory.

The Whiskey Before Breakfast variations and a few tunes in "F" tuning are now available on the web at:
http://home.thegrid.net/~fjbrad/id20.html

Faelan - Posted - 02/08/2007:  21:05:10


I am using Dan Levenson's book and it is working out very nicely. It's very informative and fun to read through as well. It also comes with 2 cds so you can hear what you're supposed to be doing.

scottee - Posted - 02/08/2007:  22:39:23


One more vote for Leveson's "Clawhammer From Scratch". I have both the the book/CD set as well as the double dvd package. I really feel like it's getting me off to a great start and helping me lay a good solid foundation. Penty there to grow on as well. Not JUST for basics.

It's the next best thing to a live teacher, (and even better in many cases, I suspect).

janolov - Posted - 02/09/2007:  02:36:00


Talmir,
I know how it is to try to learn banjo in a non-banjo land.

I think Ken Perlman's stuff is good. I have never tried to learn from it by I have looked through it, and as you see above, a lot of other recommend it.

I also rthink you can use BanjoHangout. Often there are links to different videos on Youtube. Look at them when you see them. Follow the discussions here. I think most possible and impossible questions on clawhammer and old-time banjo has been posted. You can also listen to Sound Off forum here. Since most of the music is "human" (it is home recordings by beginners and intermediates as well as by experts) you can hear how it sound when common people are playing. You can also post your own recordings to let other critizize your music. There are a lot of banjo teachers that are shown up here at BanjoHangout everyday and give advices.


Janolov

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:55:24


I am trying my hand at clawhammer, and after reading a couple of tutorials on the bum ditty I decided to try and learn a song. At the same time I watched a video showing that you are supposed to pick the individual strings (the "bum") with the back of your fingernail? But when I do that I get this clicky sound I dont like.. I kinda play by picking the string normally with the underside of my finger and I think it sounds ok...

Am I missing something?

Check out "whiskey in the jar test1" on my homepage for an example.

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  12:50:02


In preparation for a workshop next month, I have been expanding my ClearHead™ video series. We shot a few very brief instructional clips yesterday showing the motion of my hand during double/drop thumbing, as viewed from behind through a clear banjo head. I have run three of them together for your viewing "pleasure"

My middle (playing) nail is painted white, and I've used black strings to help make things visible.

http://zeppmusic.com/Clearhead/2thumbcomp.mpg

Cheers,
ZEPP





* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

talmir - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:03:09


Do you know of any good books/dvd´s/tapes/stone tablets that teach clawhammer that can benefit a newbie like me? :) Preferably teaching both the technique and some songs.

thanks :)

Porteiro - Posted - 02/07/2007:  21:29:36


I've got an old copy of Clawhammer Banjo by Miles Krassen, complete with record.

Unfortunately, I don't own a record player. In fact, I don't know of anyone who does.

Is there anybody out there who could share with me the mp3s from the CD they include with that book these days?

chip arnold - Posted - 02/07/2007:  21:49:09



I've have that old book with the little record for 25 years or so and I still look at it and find it useful. That one and Art Rosenbaum's Old Time Mountain Banjo, Oak Publications 1968, are my all time favorite instruction books.
I also have a fair bunch of old records and was able to find several record players to choose from at pawn shops.


Play with a plan
Chip

banjo_brad - Posted - 02/07/2007:  22:28:13


The tunes in Miles' book are not that extensively added to the CD:
Track List
1. Standard A tuning (aEAC#E)
2. Basic strum, drop thumbing
3. Hammering-on, sliding, pulling-off, plucking
4. The "Galax Lick"
5. Black-eyed Susie (aDADE)
6. Ducks on the Pond (aEADE)
7. Cumberland Gap (gEADE)
8. Betsy Lickens (aEADE)
9. John Hardy (aEAC#E)

I was disappointed when I bought the book a couple of years ago - I was hoping for more tunes from the book. My exposure to many of the tunes is nil, and I have to figure them out first to hear what they sound like.

Contact me off list if you have questions.

Brad

Banjo Brad
"Banjos and Fiddles and Guitars, Oh My!" (me)
http://ezfolk.com/audio/bands/5
www.PricklyPearMusic.net

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 02/07/2007:  22:51:34


I actually took both of those albums and digitally recorded them - painstakenly slow - but the deed has been done. Good old Kicking Mule! Nice stuff, they had in the old days.

It is nice to have all the files stored on my computer. I bought this turntable at Amazon for uner $ 100.00 and it comes complete with the RCA jack to plug into the sound card on the computer. I used Adobe's Audition to edit the files - one by one - both A and B sides of the LPS (I forgot there were two sides - duh!)...anyway, the results are nice. I can listen and I even digitized the tab in the books that accompanied the album so I can get to the files easily.




BANJOJUDY - Posted - 02/07/2007:  22:53:42


Whoops - neither was Kicking mule, eh? BUt I did do the same copying to MP3 from my two Kicking Mule albums -I think one was Melodic Clawhammer banjo and I think the other might have been an Art Rosenbaum - not at home and cannot look them up right now. GOod stuff and not at all scratchy. Guess we took good care of those LPS...


trapdoor2 - Posted - 02/07/2007:  22:54:42


I have been intending to transfer the little record to mp3 for some time now...but my buddy who does the digitizing is so far behind that I wonder if he'll ever get to the records I gave him last year.

As I have a pretty decent LP (and even larger 78 collection), I have thought about just buying a USB turntable and doing it myself.

Maybe I'll ask for one for my birthday! Yeah, that's the ticket!

"If banjos needed tone rings, S.S. Stewart would have built 'em that way."

===Marc

eickmewg - Posted - 02/08/2007:  06:29:04


I got my copy of Krassen back in 1970. At the time I think there was an LP you could get as well but I didn't. I've learned a bunch of tunes from this book over the years never having heard anyone play most of them. It would be interesting to compare my renditions with those from players who actually know the tune. It would be a good test of the tab system.

Bill

'05 Lee Rose Hill 12", #165
'06 Romero 13" custom walnut, #0684

banjo_brad - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:29:22


Rosenbaum's second book, "The Art of the Mountain Banjo" is accompanied by a CD of both of his Kicking Mule albums. That is a great book and CD, as is his earlier (out of print) "Old Time Mountain Banjo" book Chip mentioned. I got my copy of that on ebay about 2 years ago, I think.


Banjo Brad
"Banjos and Fiddles and Guitars, Oh My!" (me)
http://ezfolk.com/audio/bands/5
www.PricklyPearMusic.net

SJD - Posted - 02/08/2007:  16:48:33


I'm going to be seeing Miles this weekend and I will discuss the source and accuracy of the tabs and the possible re-issue of the tunesheet in cd. I know many of the collection sources came from Oscar Wright and Franklin George.
BTA.....Scott

ndlxs - Posted - 02/08/2007:  18:28:32


There were a number of Kicking Mules Banjer CDs:
2 by Art Rosenbaum performing
1 called "Old Time Banjo in America"
1 called "Southern Old Time Banjo"

One of the latter two was produced by Rosenbaum, one by Bob Carlin.

These last two are probably locked forever down in the secret Fantasy Records Vaults (who bought the assets of Kicking Mule).

I had all 4 of these, and they were all good. I still have the tab books for all four of them too! The vinyl has disappeared though.

Andy Alexis
www.offtocalifornia.com

Andy Alexis
Sacramento, California
"The Pearl of the Central Valley"
Buy my CDs:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/pineycreek
and
http://www.offtocalifornia.com

BRASMAN - Posted - 02/09/2007:  02:56:28


quote:
Originally posted by Porteiro

I've got an old copy of Clawhammer Banjo by Miles Krassen, complete with record.

Unfortunately, I don't own a record player. In fact, I don't know of anyone who does.

Is there anybody out there who could share with me the mp3s from the CD they include with that book these days?






I was in best buy today and they had an old time looking radio with radio tuner, CD, Tape and Turn table.

Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

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