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Clawhammer Reso: A Surprising New Path (Now with mp3)

Posted by FretlessinTexas on Friday, October 1, 2010

Update on the blog below. By popular demand -- ok, a few of you asked -- I have posted in my music section a recording of "Little Billy Wilson," played clawhammer style on a resonator guitar. I hope you like it. Read the blog below to find out how I stumbled upon this path.


A strange thing has happened this summer that has me both scratching my head and becoming very pleased with a journey that I have found myself on. Some time back, I traded two open-backed banjos for one National Triolian resonator guitar. (Not to worry, I still have eight banjos.)

I remained playing banjo this summer with friends at the Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering and at old-time music jams in Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia during my travels. But more and more, I was becoming intriqued with the sound and the possibilities of the resonator guitar. After a great deal of experimentation, using fingerpicks and playing an up-picking style, I resorted to what I knew best -- clawhammer.

The results were surprising to say the very least, with unanimous consensus from my fiddle playing friends that I was making a sound that was worth pursuing. As a result, when attending jams where there were other banjo players, I would pull out the resonator guitar -- tuned in open G or capoed to A or aDADE. Notice that I am playing in banjo tunings here. Yep, that's right. What's more -- I removed the sixth string as I wasn't using it.

In good concious, I should not post any recordings here because this is the banjo hangout and I am playing a resonator guitar ... albeit in clawhammer banjo style.

But the result, the sound, is something unique and different, using a bass string as the drone or fifth string. Indeed, I just might be the only person doing this for all I know.

Were it not for  my fiddle playing friends giving me encouragement, I probably would not have pursued this path. Thankfully, I had friends to try this this thing on. And, like I said, this thing is good, very good.

Mind you, I'll still be playing the banjo, but clawhammer reso gives me an extra tool in the toolbox.

If any of you want me to send you an mp3, well, just let me know.

Best wishes and best of luck.







3 comments on “Clawhammer Reso: A Surprising New Path (Now with mp3)”

banjotef Says:
Friday, October 1, 2010 @1:56:18 PM

don't be shy... I would welcome some sound samples. Sounds like a geat idea!

Nuts Says:
Saturday, October 2, 2010 @10:45:32 AM

I would be curious to hear it as well.

Last summer Christine (Strokestyle) and I where playing some tunes and I tuned my 1917 Washburn parlor in open G and handed it to her. We had not tried this before but she took off claw hammering away! The bottom string, now tuned to a low D seemed to get in the way so I figured I would tune it up to G and make it a low drone. The wound Nylgut string promptly broke, apparently not liking to be tuned up that much. It did however get the 6th string out of the way and off she went, it sounded pretty darn good.

I say if it can be claw hammered, it shouldn't matter if it's a banjo or not, post away. If you don't want to please send me the Mp3, I know Christine would love to hear it too.

RatLer Says:
Sunday, October 3, 2010 @10:18:51 PM

Go ahead and post it...its just a banjo in reso clothing !!!!

I've tuned my guitar to banjo tuning, even thought about taking off the last two strings and putting on a banjo fifth...

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