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Clawhamer Reso: Who would have thunk?

Posted by FretlessinTexas on Sunday, October 10, 2010

Clawhammer Reso: Who would have thunk?

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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 earlier blog below to find out how I stumbled upon this strange and twisted 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.

1 comment on “Clawhamer Reso: Who would have thunk?”

Dock Jekel Says:
Sunday, October 10, 2010 @8:40:23 PM

Fantastic idea. Go for it! -must sound pretty interesting,... wished I thought of it myself. Hey, I too suddenly began pursuing a second intrument this past summer- fiddle. I regret playing banjo less, but, can't say I regret the fiddle!

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