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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: ClearHead™ Double/Drop thumb video


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/74321

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."

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