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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Arthur Kuykendall MP3s - Sand Mountain Master


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/74390

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;

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?

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/07/2007:  08:30:06


Anyone use their thumb nail while drop thumbing? Seems like Cathy Fink is on her "Singing with the Banjo" DVD.

Don't believe everything you think.

janolov - Posted - 01/07/2007:  11:18:17


I don't use the thumb nail, but there are some (or a lot?) that does. Usuyally they have the thum bcocked (the upper part of the thumb is parallel to the fingers) and touch the string on the real top of the thumb so the flesh together with the nail hits the string.

Janolov

raybob - Posted - 01/07/2007:  12:27:20


When I accidently catch a string with my thumbnail I see it as a sign to go trim it. The main reason is for the consistancy of the sound. If I were to have my thumbnail hitting the 5th string (instead of the fleshy corner) it would be ringing uncontrollably. And I can't imagine how complex playing would become to think about getting one's nail in there for the drop-thumbs and pulling it away for the 5th string.

For years I fingerpicked guitar with no picks at all, just my nails. Since I've been playing the banjo I've kept my thumbnail short and used a thumb pick for the guitar. It works for me.

Ray

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...4951&alid=-1

stringbeaner - Posted - 01/07/2007:  17:18:42


unless you let your thumbnail grow in a strange and exotic manner you shouldn't hit the string with the thumbnail. It will throw your right hand out of position and unless you do some artistic trimming and shaping it will change the sound and probably just hang up.

banjobutte

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/08/2007:  09:23:04


Thanks all for the advice. I guess I'll go trim it now. Which do you suppose is the best method: chewing it off, emory board, nail scissors or just running the belt sander against it :-)

Don't believe everything you think.

Madgenius - Posted - 01/08/2007:  09:35:45


I favour a very small amount of C4 plastic explosive

Yopparai - Posted - 01/08/2007:  10:08:28


I use my nail some on my alternating bass line backups for vocals, but if it catches in the process of more orthodox CH drop thumbing, its usually loud and jarring and sticks out like a ... Sore thumb.

KE - Posted - 01/08/2007:  10:28:31


Ok, I have got to be little disagreeable here. I do use nail for drop thumbing, but I do not use nail for the fifth string unless it is a melody note. After paying attention to what's going on down there on the digits, my thumb nail length and angle of the thumb are such that it catches flesh and no nail generally when hitting the fifth string. With a slight twist, it can catch nail if i want it to. For drop thumbing on strings 1-4, the flesh and nail land on the string and then the movement of the thumb catches nail on the way up. The fifth string tends to hit the side of the thumb in a parallel fashion, while other strings catch the thumb at an angle. I have played thumbstyle guitar for a number of years and nail care is a constant obsession. My thumb seems to have a mind of its own at this point and doesn't require much if any intervention on my part.

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/08/2007:  12:11:05


Thanks Yopparai & KE. So maybe I did see Cathy Fink using her thumb nail. Like everything else in banjo it comes down to being able to control what you want to do.

Don't believe everything you think.

Couchie - Posted - 01/11/2007:  14:30:25


I play a little classical guitar so I have my right hand nails longer for that style of playing. I am not sure but I probably use my thumb nail on the banjo strings the same way I would for classical guitar but probably a little less nail on the banjo.

I don't think it would be a bad idea as long as it doesn't overpower the other notes.


Don.

O=='=#

Bill Rogers - Posted - 01/11/2007:  16:57:59


My thumbnail always hits whatever string...and when I break it, and play with a cutoff nail, I really feel it--and the banjo sounds diifferent. But this happens naturally within the context of my playing. I do not cock my thumb or otherwise make any additional effort to use the thumbnail as I play.

Bill

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 01/11/2007:  17:23:37


I'm with bill here. I do bend my thumb sugnificantly and the nail does hit - unless it is broken off. For me using some nail gets a sharper sound from the thumb and one that blends more with the sound of the finger.
In situations where I'm playing a less staccatto style and the 5th string starts to sound like it is the only thing I'm hitting, I tend to back off on the bend to the thumb and hit with the flesh alone.
I've played such a mishmash of styles over the years that I frequently find myself playing a tune I haven't played in decades and automatically play it in the style in which I learned it.
The other night at a jam we played "Wild Hog In The Woods" -first time in 22 years minimum. I kept trying to play the tune up the neck but when my group playeed it D was at capo 2 on a 22 fret fingerboard. Now I do D at capo 4 and have a scoop at fret 17. It was not a pretty sound.

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

chip arnold - Posted - 01/11/2007:  18:52:13


I fingerpick with the nails on my index and thumb. When I break a nail I use an Alaska pick until it grows back. For me, using the thumbnail gives me the capacity for extra volume on all the strings while using less force. Like anything else, you have to learn to control your touch in order to control your sound.Softening the sound and playing with less volume can be learned even if you're wearing cast iron on your fingers. On the other hand, getting extra volume when you need it can be difficult with bare skin. YMMV

Play with a plan
Chip

Cathy Fink - Posted - 02/08/2007:  23:12:42


quote:
Originally posted by Galante_K4

Anyone use their thumb nail while drop thumbing? Seems like Cathy Fink is on her "Singing with the Banjo" DVD.

Don't believe everything you think.



Galante_K4 - Posted - 02/09/2007:  09:30:34


Hi Cathy:
Good to see you on the Hangout!
But your post doesn't seem to indicate if you do or you don't use the thumb nail???
Robert

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

chip arnold - Posted - 02/09/2007:  10:35:49


But always think about what you believe! :-)

Play with a plan
Chip

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?

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/07/2007:  08:30:06


Anyone use their thumb nail while drop thumbing? Seems like Cathy Fink is on her "Singing with the Banjo" DVD.

Don't believe everything you think.

jbalch - Posted - 02/05/2007:  16:52:27




Welcome to the hangout Arnie!

I am a really big fan of your music! I enjoy listening to your CDs regularly.



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch


Edited by - jbalch on 02/05/2007 16:54:00

vrteach - Posted - 02/05/2007:  16:57:33


Me too! Welcome!


Erich
-------
http://vrteach.freepgs.com/banjo/

banjomikey - Posted - 02/05/2007:  17:03:42


I don't really listen to OT, but welcome anyway! We're glad to have any and all pickers here at the hangout! Way to take the intiative and make him feel welcome John! Hello Erich.

Mike

You can pick your nose and you can pick your banjo, but you can't roll banjos into little balls and flick 'em! (_)==='~

vrteach - Posted - 02/05/2007:  17:13:41


Hey Mikey! I won the game! I like popcorn.

( In case other people think I'm acting oddly, go to banjomikey's BHO blog page )


Erich
-------
http://vrteach.freepgs.com/banjo/

arnie - Posted - 02/05/2007:  21:18:04


Hi John! and thanks for the welcome everyone. I'll try and show up every now and then.
Boing Twang, Arnie

Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

maryzcox - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:58


Welcome Arnie,
Love your music!
Best wishes,
Mary Z. Cox

www.maryzcox.com

If you suspect you need a new banjo--you do. Trust your musical instincts. If a banjo calls to you to buy it, don't fight destiny. It was meant to be. :)

Emiel - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:29:50


I just ordered that CD "The Banjo Special", it's amazing. Welcome.

Emiel


http://www.nowhereradio.com/emiel
http://www.bluerounders.com

jbalch - Posted - 02/06/2007:  09:05:54


In case some of you aren't enlightened to Arnie's music yet, check out the link in his signature line.

Here is a link to a sample of Gunslinger from 5-strings Attached volume 2

http://208.106.133.235/music/Arnie%...de%20out.mp3



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch

Stev187 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  09:14:29


Great to have Arnie here!

Steve
Flint, MI
-----------------------------------
Current Old-Time Ohrwurm: "New Money,"Doc Roberts

FretlessFury - Posted - 02/06/2007:  09:16:11


That's some real fine picking, Arnie. Welcome to the hangout!


Tom Collins

--------------------------
www.newhottimes.com

Red hot old time music.

Couchie - Posted - 02/06/2007:  15:50:23


Welcome Arnie,

Arnie is a wonderfull musician and a great clawhammer player.

Don.

O=='=#

scottee - Posted - 02/06/2007:  16:31:55


Fantastic sound clip!
I wonder if the banjo is tuned low, or has a large diameter pot (both?)

Powerful lower register.

dbrooks - Posted - 02/06/2007:  17:05:07


I welcomed you in another thread, Arnie. Feels good to do so here as well.

David

rinemb - Posted - 02/06/2007:  17:12:05


Ahoy! Brad

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-Lessen the want of enlightenment.

arnie - Posted - 02/06/2007:  17:17:32


Scotee Gunslinger is in a standard Dm pitch tuning. I use a bronze wound .026 for the fourth string on the 11" tubaphone, and it will give a nice bass tone when worn a little bit. & hello everyone!
Arnie


Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

brokenstrings - Posted - 02/07/2007:  00:32:39


Hello right back!

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

SJL - Posted - 02/07/2007:  07:51:16


Welcome to a fellow Canuck.

Emiel, I have The Banjo Special CD. It is one of my favourites. They do an annual show in Toronto. It is this Sunday. Here is some more information. For those of you anywhere near Toronto this would be worth going to. It is our banjo event of the year.

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...anjo,Special



"If the woman is alive at the end of the song, it ain't Bluegrass".

wrangler - Posted - 02/07/2007:  08:57:37


Welcome Arnie. I especially like Becky the Beader.

Mike

To peace, happiness, banjos that stay in tune and people likewise.

arnie - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:22:56


I have discovered that my record co. website is down today. So if you've tried to go there - obviously you didn't make it - I hope to get it all straightened out soon - so sorry for the inconvenience.

Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

Clawdan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:40:33


A belated but quite enthusiastic WELCOME ARNIE! Great to have you on the site and as a friend.

Play nice,
Dan "Ain't no bum-diddy" Levenson
Old Time Music and Dance
www.ClawhammerBanjo.us
Author of Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch, A guide for the claw-less - a MelBay Publication
and Old Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo (MelBay 20313) - 117 tunes tabbed for clawhammer banjo with standard notation and suggested chords.
Tune list at http://www.folknet.org/dan/FestTunesBJBook.htm

Kevan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:12:05


Many times I've told people, "My highest goal in banjo is to play 'The Blackest Crow' like Arnie Naiman."

Kevan
"Don't sheetrock a patio, don't sheetrock a patio"

arnie - Posted - 02/08/2007:  18:19:27


I've just managed to put a few sound files up on my profile page - and they're free! Hope you give them a listen.
Cheers, Arnie

Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

jbalch - Posted - 02/08/2007:  22:12:31


All are fantastic! 5-stars!! Thanks.

hey Arnie have you ever done anything with that tune you recorded on the gourd? The copy you sent me was called Gourdness" I think. I like it a lot too.



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch

arnie - Posted - 02/08/2007:  22:21:21


Well - John actually that tune will be coming out in the near future - That's about all I can tell you right now. - Glad you remembered that one.

Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

Chris Quinn - Posted - 02/08/2007:  23:09:44


Arnie,

Welcome! You are in for a lot of Q and A, my friend. See you at the Banjo Special on Sunday. I'm gettin'a big bowl of tators for Taheny!!!!!!

Chris Quinn

www.foggyhogtownboys.com

arnie - Posted - 02/08/2007:  23:23:44


Chris, What's that banjer doing in front of yer face anyhow? "Taters for Taheny" - now that's a good name for a new tune!
See ya Sunday for the Special.
Arnie

Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

GSCarson - Posted - 02/09/2007:  13:22:37


Welcome Arnie, Really enjoy your music. I met you briefly at Clifftop last year when you came to our campsite (in the mid level woods with the Pennsylvania crowd) to visit with Bill Rickard. Good to see you here, I appreciate some of the input and insight you've posted already.
Best,
Glenn Carson

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?

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/07/2007:  08:30:06


Anyone use their thumb nail while drop thumbing? Seems like Cathy Fink is on her "Singing with the Banjo" DVD.

Don't believe everything you think.

jbalch - Posted - 02/05/2007:  16:52:27




Welcome to the hangout Arnie!

I am a really big fan of your music! I enjoy listening to your CDs regularly.



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch


Edited by - jbalch on 02/05/2007 16:54:00

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:13:26


Hello all,

Years ago when I discovered the banjo I immediately fell in love with the sound. Now some time later I've finally purchased one (gold tone cc-50) and Dan Levenson's book "Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch".

I've been playing the guitar for about 15 years off and on so I've got an electric tuner, but is there anything else I should pick up for right now?

Also any tips and tricks I should know?

Thanks in advance!
-Faelan

rinemb - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:30:35


I would buy lots of CD's of old time music and clawhammer banjo music. I would also buy several instructional DVDs, such as Bob Carlin, David Holt, others. If there is a local CH instructor around get a few lessons. Banjo Fakebook and Banjo Players Songbook are also a good resource. Brad PS. Welcome!

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-Lessen the want of enlightenment.


Edited by - rinemb on 02/07/2007 14:31:21

haiku - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:33:33


Well, welcome on the Hangout!

A capo comes in handy, but I assume you allready got one from the guitar.

I'll pass on tips and tricks, beeing kind of a newbie myself!

-----

What will ya have?!
I'll have a pint!
I'll have a pint with you, Sir!

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:45:11


Actually, I don't have a capo.

I've gone from one extreme to another really. When I started playing guitar I was mostly influenced by metal (Metallica, Panera - the like), so I only needed standard and drop d tuning.
Then I got bitten by the Irish trad. bug, and I picked up the tin whistle. I set off to by an acoustic guitar to mess around with and do some irish trad stuff with and ended up getting the banjo instead.

I'm off to the store again tomorrow so I'll pick up a capo and this nifty tuner I've been eye-ballin for a while.

KE - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:45:13


Welcome, Faelan! Let's see . . . yeah, you might want a pair of socks.

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:45:42


I got a whole package of brandnew socks! lol


Thanks for the welcomes all.

KE - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:51:43


That's good! Try rolling up a pair and stuffing it between the coordinator rod and the head, See if you (or others living with you) like the sound any better. Some do, some don't.

beach pete - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:59:15


Get a big bottle of wine, also. Always helped my ears.

" twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe." Lewis Carroll

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:59:36


I don't like the sound as much but playing in this small room, it makes it easier on my ears.. thanks =D

Nide44 - Posted - 02/07/2007:  15:14:34


Welcome,
Try getting an inexpensive capo, first. Se if you like practicing with it on.
I prefer open, myself- but a lot of tunes are in double D (double C tuning
capoed up 2 frets and the 5th string tuned 2 frets higher -7th fret).
I use an elastic guitar capo (The elastic banjo ones stretch out too soon)
I've tried to buy a nice Shubb, on at least 4 occaisions - but they were sold out.
Welcome to the forum.
Oh, BTW - the Perlman 2 DVD set, with his book - is a good investment
in a traching/ learning method. Different than Dan's Ain't no Bum Diddy style.

Bob B
Yup ! Them's red braces


Edited by - Nide44 on 02/07/2007 15:20:45

jasperr - Posted - 02/07/2007:  15:17:22


Welcome. Check out Mike Iversons site, if you haven't done so already. http://www.bluesageband.com/Tabs.html

Jim

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  15:47:48


One more question about tunings.

The book I have has you use the double c tuning and then later capo to double d.

Is there any others I should be aware of right now or should I stick with those two for the time being?

haiku - Posted - 02/07/2007:  15:59:07


quote:
Originally posted by Faelan

Actually, I don't have a capo.
I've gone from one extreme to another really. When I started playing guitar I was mostly influenced by metal (Metallica, Panera - the like), so I only needed standard and drop d tuning.



Oh yeah I know, been on the same path...

About the tunings: the G tuning (capo to A eventually) is also an usual tuning (g-D-G-B-D).
I know Dan Levenson's book goes works only Double-C tuning, but as you've played the guitar before, I think you'll be able to handle both of them. Just an advice, but it's working for me so far.

-----

What will ya have?!
I'll have a pint!
I'll have a pint with you, Sir!

mom of 10 - Posted - 02/07/2007:  16:48:44


First, with your Irish Trad. did you play with a jam? I play my clawhammer banjo every week with a celtic jam. I just chord (bum ditty with the reels) along, but it sure helped my ability to do that. If you have an Irish jam, then after you've learned bum ditty, go plunk along with them.
Second, I really started having lots of fun with my banjo when I realized everyone does clawhammer different. So, listen to them, learn from them, and if you do it a little different, no sweat. At least, that's my advice. I'm kind of a newbie myself.
Melanie

If y'got time to breathe, y'got time for music.
Briscoe Darling, 1963

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/07/2007:  18:03:29


The other most common tuning is G which is also capoed for A
gDGBD. This is the standard tuning for bluegrass, and it is a easy tuning for guitarists to start with since it is so close to guitar tuning.

The item I recommend most highly for beginning frailers is a teacher. IT doesn't have to be an "official - take the lesson every week, here is Mr. Index finger," sort of relationship, just someone who Knows how to clawhammer, and can give you a hand over the hump.

The only real problem for an experienced guitarist learning clawhammer, is getting that motion down. It is completely non-intuitive and there is nothing even similar done on guitar, save Flamenco and a couple South American styles.

If you know how to read tab you really don't need much in the way of instruction past doing the drop thumb. There is a wealth of material tabbed out on the web. If you are good at picking stuff off records you won't even need the tab for long.

Electric tuners are good - they are the one item I really wish had been cheaply available back when I was teaching. I use an Intelli 500 that I got for about 19 dollars (shipped) off ebay. It is the best (and cheapest) I've ever had. It clips to the instrument and gives as good a reading as other tuners do when you plug the pickups directly into them. It is a vast improvement over pressing my KORG to the banjo head.



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

TMarshall1 - Posted - 02/07/2007:  18:10:21


Welcome Faelan - You gonna LUV the Hangout!

Good luck and good pickin
T

"...if ya got time to breathe, ya got time for music..."
Briscoe Darling - Apr.29,1963

Lonesome Steve - Posted - 02/07/2007:  19:16:54


One other suggestion... You may want to have "spikes" or a fifth string capo installed. You probably already figured out that a standard capo doesn't affect the fifth string, so some people install model railroad spikes in the fretboard under the fifth string that the string can be hooked under. The affect is like fretting the fifth string, pretty much like a capo. There are various other contraptions that can be used as a fifth string capo, but the spikes are my personal favorite.

I'm a newbie too, and I'm find that I have a capo on most of the time (usually Double C tuning capoed to D, or standard G or sawmill tuning capoed to A).

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  23:58:50


quote:

First, with your Irish Trad. did you play with a jam?


Nope, have never made it to a session yet. Someday soon I hope as I finally found an irish session in town.

BRASMAN - Posted - 02/08/2007:  03:24:36


Faelan,

I have the same book you have and found it helpful to get both of his DVDs to use with the book and it has been a great help.

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

Faelan - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:01:50


I am thinking about getting the dvds but going to work with the book a bit more for a while first.

I just bought 'Clawhammer Banjo' volumes 1 through 3 from iTunes. 56 tunes total to listen to!

Clawdan - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:11:53


Hi Faelan,
Glad to have you at the hangout. Hope folks told you I'll be in Tucson in a couple of weeks. I'll make workshop space for you if you like. You can meet the other dozen or so dedicated Tucson clawhammer players and get off to a good start.

We winter in Yuma and I'll be doing a concert there next week (17th). I take students there too.

SO, I sure hope we get to meet. Thanks for starting out with CBFScratch. G/A is the other tuning, but we'll get into that later.

Play nice,
Dan "Ain't no bum-diddy" Levenson
Old Time Music and Dance
www.ClawhammerBanjo.us
Author of Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch, A guide for the claw-less - a MelBay Publication
and Old Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo (MelBay 20313) - 117 tunes tabbed for clawhammer banjo with standard notation and suggested chords.
Tune list at http://www.folknet.org/dan/FestTunesBJBook.htm

Faelan - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:20:59


Hi Dan,

I stumbled across a post that said you were going to be in town. Unfortunately right now I am in the market for a new job and have no idea whether I will have that time free or not.

Is it possible to tentatively plan on my being there?

Thanks =D

Clawdan - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:23:11


quote:
Originally posted by Faelan

Hi Dan,

Is it possible to tentatively plan on my being there?
Thanks =D



You bet. We'll be in town for a few days too, so if the workshop doesn't work out for you we'll schedule a private session or so. Just want to make sure you get off to a good start and meet some of the local folks. There will be a jam on Friday night also if I remember correctly. Feel free to e-mail me off list.

Play nice,
Dan "Ain't no bum-diddy" Levenson
Old Time Music and Dance
www.ClawhammerBanjo.us
Author of Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch, A guide for the claw-less - a MelBay Publication
and Old Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo (MelBay 20313) - 117 tunes tabbed for clawhammer banjo with standard notation and suggested chords.
Tune list at http://www.folknet.org/dan/FestTunesBJBook.htm

Faelan - Posted - 02/08/2007:  14:47:29


I've been practicing for about the last hour or so and I am amazed at how I'm coming along. Maybe it's because I already know where the frets are for the most part because of playing guitar - don't know. In Dan's book I've got part A of Example 13 (Double Thumb Spotted Pony in C) completely memorized and only play a mistake every 4th-5th time through.

I do have a tendency to ignore the metronome and start speeding up out of the suggested 50bpm however. Anyone got any tips on how to force yourself to slow down? I can't seem to do it! D=

I've always had this preconceived notion that the banjo was extremely hard.. I think I was greatly mistaken.

Faelan - Posted - 02/09/2007:  14:03:25


Another question for you folks.

With my guitars I like to keep a lot of strings on hand and I figure I should do the same for the banjo.

I really like the strings that came on my Gold Tone CC-50 but looking at the website they want 8bucks a pop for em. Are there any other brands comparable to what Gold Tone sells that cost less, or a certain brand yall think I should try out?

Thanks.

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/09/2007:  17:29:40


I get my strings at a local music store and usually pay about 3.50 a set for them. There is nothing special about Gold Tone Strings. If yours came with the same guages as those I've seen in stores just about anyone's light guage set is going to be similar. Look for
1 --.010 or 011
2 -- .012 or 013
3 -- .014 to 016
4 -- .022W to 024W
5 -- .010 or 011

I find that less that an 010 on the fifth string can get rubbery if you ever pitch it below G - and I pitch mine as low as E. 010s will reliably go up to A without problems and probably higher - I just don't really have any occasion to go higher.


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

wormpicker - Posted - 02/09/2007:  20:02:14


The Folk Shop has lots of banjo strings, for around $3.50 a pack, like OWCB says.

Paul

Obsession is a great substitute for talent. -Steve Martin

J-Walk - Posted - 02/09/2007:  20:09:10


Man, Tucson is turning out to be Clawhammer Mecca.

Welcome aboard, Faelan. It's a small town, so I'm sure we'll meet up eventually. Hopefully at D.L.'s workshop.

Faelan - Posted - 02/10/2007:  02:27:05


Thanks! =D

I plan on being there but can't make no promises right now. I am also hoping to make it to the session out in oro valley the night before but - I still gotta run this all by my better half.



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?

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/07/2007:  08:30:06


Anyone use their thumb nail while drop thumbing? Seems like Cathy Fink is on her "Singing with the Banjo" DVD.

Don't believe everything you think.

jbalch - Posted - 02/05/2007:  16:52:27




Welcome to the hangout Arnie!

I am a really big fan of your music! I enjoy listening to your CDs regularly.



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch


Edited by - jbalch on 02/05/2007 16:54:00

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:13:26


Hello all,

Years ago when I discovered the banjo I immediately fell in love with the sound. Now some time later I've finally purchased one (gold tone cc-50) and Dan Levenson's book "Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch".

I've been playing the guitar for about 15 years off and on so I've got an electric tuner, but is there anything else I should pick up for right now?

Also any tips and tricks I should know?

Thanks in advance!
-Faelan

Tobias - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:19:34


I recently purchased a CD by The Red Hots on ITunes Music Store, and I am just crazy bout that banjo.
It has a very rhytmic and galloping sound. I have heard it in other places too, in various forms.

Here it is with The Red Hots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR4C7yfOm9g

Its kind of the same with the banjo of The Pilot Mountain Bobcats:
http://www.myspace.com/pilotmountainbobcats

Can anyone tell me about this technique?
Im guessing its quite modern and relies heavily on doublethumbing. "Riding the 5th string"
Maybe with very little drop-thumbing!?

Does anyone play like this or can tell me more about it?


/Tobias

Clawhammer banjo in "Big Hungry Joe" - www.bighungryjoe.com
www.myspace.com/hungryjoe

frailin - Posted - 02/08/2007:  09:31:46


A whole lotta double-thumbing going on in the first clip. Yep, same with the second. Richie Sterns does this technique as well.


"Gospel. The most powerful music in this world... and the next."


www.banjohangout.org/my/frailin
www.frailin.com
www.myspace.com/frailin
www.myspace.com/eelpouts
www.myspace.com/singletonstreet


Edited by - frailin on 02/08/2007 09:32:45

Etnaforge - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:05:41


Fantastic - touches my soul -


tonehead - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:08:57


Sounds a lot like Abigail Washburn's playing on Uncle Earl's last CD. "She waits for night"
I love it!


Be significant.

Etnaforge - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:24:36


Double Thumbing or Drop Thumbing ??

jojo25 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:32:34


Tobias,

thank you!!...for helping this old dawg get in touch with that youtube thang!!!

at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utgc...ated&search=

Banjonically yours

Joe

jojo25 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:33:37


dag nab computers!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utgc...ated&search=

what is the name of the tune they are playing on this clip?

Banjonically yours

Joe

frailin - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:36:43


"Double"- thumbing...dinga-dinga-dinga-dinga. Every other note played is the 5th.

Both banjo players are doin' a great job. That first clip is electric! What a great jam!!

"Gospel. The most powerful music in this world... and the next."


www.banjohangout.org/my/frailin
www.frailin.com
www.myspace.com/frailin
www.myspace.com/eelpouts
www.myspace.com/singletonstreet


Edited by - frailin on 02/08/2007 10:37:25

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/08/2007:  14:04:50


No one's ever done it better than Walt Koken -- best heard for that in his pre Highwoods days with the Busted Toe Mudthumpers. There should be tapes floating around.

Bill

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/08/2007:  18:14:22


Dan Levenson used the term "riding the 5th" for this technique. I'm referring to what "Frailin" describes as every other note played on the 5th (I have no sound card and haven't watched the video). I have appropriated "riding the 5th" as the best technical term I know for doing this. It describes it all in three little words.

Kyle Creed used to ride the 5th for several measures then do a blaze of drop thumbs. He was the Count Basie of stringband clawhammer. I'm almost certain Creed was Ritchie Stearn's source for this, either directly or through one of the older Cornell area players.

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

brokenstrings - Posted - 02/08/2007:  19:21:21


We've had some discussion before on double-thumbing vs. drop thumb. Some disagreement on the subject (some use the one to mean the other).

However, that "galloping" effect--I noticed it a lot in the playing of Dock Boggs, and it seemed to me I was hearing the fifth string more often than usual.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Tobias - Posted - 02/10/2007:  03:50:40


Thanks for the good replies :-)

/Tobias

Clawhammer banjo in "Big Hungry Joe" - www.bighungryjoe.com
www.myspace.com/hungryjoe

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?

Galante_K4 - Posted - 01/07/2007:  08:30:06


Anyone use their thumb nail while drop thumbing? Seems like Cathy Fink is on her "Singing with the Banjo" DVD.

Don't believe everything you think.

jbalch - Posted - 02/05/2007:  16:52:27




Welcome to the hangout Arnie!

I am a really big fan of your music! I enjoy listening to your CDs regularly.



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch


Edited by - jbalch on 02/05/2007 16:54:00

Faelan - Posted - 02/07/2007:  14:13:26


Hello all,

Years ago when I discovered the banjo I immediately fell in love with the sound. Now some time later I've finally purchased one (gold tone cc-50) and Dan Levenson's book "Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch".

I've been playing the guitar for about 15 years off and on so I've got an electric tuner, but is there anything else I should pick up for right now?

Also any tips and tricks I should know?

Thanks in advance!
-Faelan

Tobias - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:19:34


I recently purchased a CD by The Red Hots on ITunes Music Store, and I am just crazy bout that banjo.
It has a very rhytmic and galloping sound. I have heard it in other places too, in various forms.

Here it is with The Red Hots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR4C7yfOm9g

Its kind of the same with the banjo of The Pilot Mountain Bobcats:
http://www.myspace.com/pilotmountainbobcats

Can anyone tell me about this technique?
Im guessing its quite modern and relies heavily on doublethumbing. "Riding the 5th string"
Maybe with very little drop-thumbing!?

Does anyone play like this or can tell me more about it?


/Tobias

Clawhammer banjo in "Big Hungry Joe" - www.bighungryjoe.com
www.myspace.com/hungryjoe

uncledelphi - Posted - 02/09/2007:  07:37:16


The Digital Library of Appalachia has added a collection of frailing MP3s recorded by Uncle Arthur Kuykendall MP3s. He was the Master of the Sand Mountain style, which is both rhythmic and melodic at the same time. This is the traditional frailing style from the Sand Mountain area of Northeast Alabama. It originates with a slave, who learned or developed the style on a plantation before the American Civil War. After the war, the freed slave taught the style to Arthur Kuykendall in the 1880s or 1890s. Uncle Arthur added his own personal influence, and later taught the style to Jim Connor. Jim Connor played banjo for John Denver and in the Kingston Trio (1969-1972). Jim later taught me. There are only a handful of players left in this tradition.

The MP3s can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/2kckg2

I am one of the last players of this style, and I intend to document it in a book once I finish my Masters degree. Listening to these tunes, I hear myself. It might as well be me or Jim playing them. I am so happy that the DLA has posted these tunes.

Austin Rogers

Edit: Fixed URL.


Edited by - uncledelphi on 02/09/2007 07:39:13

Arcadian - Posted - 02/09/2007:  08:39:01


Austin,

For some reason, I couldn't open the mp3s on this page, though I could save and download. The Kuykendall files and history are fascinating, and the Digital Library is a real gold mine. Thanks for sharing.

"If I get Up There and all they have is harps, I'm gonna have to re-negotiate the whole thing" --Arcadian

gailg64 - Posted - 02/09/2007:  10:27:03


Hello there Austin,
Thank you so much for drawing our attention to these wonderful sound clips. That's classic old-style southern knockdown banjo for sure.

However, fabulous as it is, it's not exactly unique nor is it dying out---fortunately for us all on both counts! Maybe I'm missing something subtle here, but to my ear, Kuykendall's playing sounds like a variant of the general downstroke/knockdown style found all over the south, but best known in the mtn. areas. This is the kind of banjo that brought Cece Conway to do her extensive research on the Black influences on the banjo.

It brings to my mind players like Rufus Crisp of KY to Wade Ward, Enoch Rutherford, Carlie Marion of VA--and probably hundreds & hundreds of anonymous others, many of whom were women. (There's a nice clip of Carlie Marion on a 1999 Folkways program by David Holt. I just heard on WUNC last night.)

You can still hear a very similar sounding style today from some of the younger folks playing in and around SW VA and NW NC. the young banjo players of NC & VA such as Trish Kilby, who's on this board and the banjo players she mentions on her homepage such as Mack Traynham. Some of the old timers played more melody (Wade Ward), some less (George Stoneman), but it's a big happy sound witih a driving rhythm and plenty of brush. Many of the generation born from the late 19th and early 20th centuries used resonator banjos and some of the youngsters are turning to these banjos for the ring & sustain.



quote:
Originally posted by uncledelphi

The Digital Library of Appalachia has added a collection of frailing MP3s recorded by Uncle Arthur Kuykendall MP3s. He was the Master of the Sand Mountain style, which is both rhythmic and melodic at the same time. This is the traditional frailing style from the Sand Mountain area of Northeast Alabama. It originates with a slave, who learned or developed the style on a plantation before the American Civil War. After the war, the freed slave taught the style to Arthur Kuykendall in the 1880s or 1890s. Uncle Arthur added his own personal influence, and later taught the style to Jim Connor. Jim Connor played banjo for John Denver and in the Kingston Trio (1969-1972). Jim later taught me. There are only a handful of players left in this tradition.

The MP3s can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/2kckg2

I am one of the last players of this style, and I intend to document it in a book once I finish my Masters degree. Listening to these tunes, I hear myself. It might as well be me or Jim playing them. I am so happy that the DLA has posted these tunes.

Austin Rogers

Edit: Fixed URL.




uncledelphi - Posted - 02/09/2007:  10:34:59


Gail, the differences are subtle. It will be my job to document them. Here in Alabama it is pretty well recognized that the Sand Mountain style is unique (and it certainly varies from frailing styles found in north-central Alabama, where I live now). Also remember that Uncle Arthur was an old man when those recordings were made. He was certainly not playing as well as he had played earlier. If you ever have an opportunity to listen to Jim Connor, please do so; his sound is much more clearly differentiated from other Southern frailers.

One thing I like about the Sand Mountain style, and other similar southern styles, is that it is very, very different from Round Peak, and the currently popular "homogenized clawhammer" that I hear everywhere.

Austin Rogers

Rich B. - Posted - 02/09/2007:  13:20:00


Hi,

I'm able to open and listen, but not save. How does one download songs from this site?

Rich B

uncledelphi - Posted - 02/09/2007:  13:23:18


quote:
Originally posted by Rich B.

I'm able to open and listen, but not save. How does one download songs from this site?



Here's what I am doing under FireFox 1.5. From the song list, I click on the title of the song. Then I click on "Access this item." It tries to open the mp3 in a new window, but then FireFox brings up a dialog asking whether to open or save the file.

YMMV due to different browsers, operating systems, security settings, etc.

Austin Rogers

MrSrubas - Posted - 02/09/2007:  15:29:30


quote:
...which is both rhythmic and melodic at the same time

Austin, can you elaborate on this?
I can see how emphasis in one direction or another is noticeable, but it always strikes me as splitting hairs. Music requires both.
Thanks,
Steve Srubas

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/09/2007:  23:55:40


I have to agree with Gail that Uncle Arthur's playing is pretty much standard good ol' frailing, the kind I learned from the Pete Seeger (yellow) book when I was beginning in 1960. I'd expected to hear playing much more like Austin's, with a lot more melody and (I assume) drop-thumb. To my ear what Austin plays is a much more distinct style, and if it's representative of Sand Mountain playing then there's good claim to it being unique.

Bill

R.D. Lunceford - Posted - 02/10/2007:  03:12:09


Austin;

Thanks for your continued efforts to educate about theSand Mountain style.
You are doing a very important thing.

R.D. Lunceford- "Missourian in Exile"
*************************
Model 1865 Bowlin Fretless Banjo

Emiel - Posted - 02/10/2007:  07:58:18


This is Austin's description the the Sand Mountain Style:

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...PIC_ID=65993

Emiel


http://www.nowhereradio.com/emiel
http://www.bluerounders.com

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