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Picks for clawhammerin

Posted by ccress on Monday, August 29, 2011

How many of you guys use a pick for claw hammerin?? I guess the ones that do like it? I have never used one. I'm also thinking it makes the banjo sound louder? I've heard of claw hammers letting their nail grow long.I don't think I could do that..any input would be appreciated. Just wondering..


5 comments on “Picks for clawhammerin”

dbrooks Says:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @3:49:52 AM

I use the Fred Kelly Freedom Pick when playing at contra dances. It's my favorite. John Balch has several suggestions on his web site (just Google his name): picks made from ping pong balls and picks filed down from Acri brass fingerpicks. Some just like to reverse a plastic or metal fingerpick and reshape it a little. Quite a few have an artificial nail put on their frailing finger.

corgies Says:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @12:38:54 PM

While I prefer the sound produced by a bare nail, I use an Ernie Ball "Pickey Pick" with the long tip ground/filed down to a shorter "nub." The pick covers only the mid-part of the nail, but does offer protection. The sound it produces is different from a bare nail of course, but not loud or harsh. If I want a louder tone, e.g. while playing with a large group, I'll use a Fred Kelly Freedom Pick.

Bill Anderson Says:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @8:08:09 PM

I play clawhammer with and without a pick depending how I feel. I like the Freedom pick, a reversed Dunlop is even o k.....My absolute favorite is Joel Hooks picks, a handmade brass open thimble as seen in the 1895 S.S. Stewart banjo catalogue. Joel is a member of Banjo Hangout, you can order from him directly.

You are correct that a pick increases your volume, furthermore it is consistent and brings a tonal quality that I am unable to obtain with my best nails. I think the additional weight of the brass Hook picks is important to the tonal fulness.

For years I would not use a pick.....after learning that Kyle Creed, Grandpa Jones, and Frank Lee to mention a few, used a pick, I gave it a try. Frank Lee has a tremendous instructional video. He discusses and demonstrates using a reversed banjo pick on his middle finger. He gets a powerful cluck by using his index to dampen the strings when desired.

Good luck, you will just have to try 'em out and see what works for you. Let us know how it turns out.

ccress Says:
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 @5:01:24 PM

I may have to get a few of these.I've never used one..for claw hammerin..Thanks for your input.

cb56 Says:
Friday, September 2, 2011 @7:55:28 PM

another vote for the Fred Kelly freedom pick,

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