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Hard to practice Scruggs style when you lose the thumbpick- and a bridge tweak makes clawhammer fun!

Posted by banjopogo on Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The problem was that the thumb pick I bought to start Scruggs picking again was CLEAR.  When you're as disorganized as I am, they have to have some kind of color to them. Clear blends in with EVERYTHING!  So I didn't practice Scruggs for a while.

I had made a bridge out of a section from some beechwood salad tongs I found for cheap last year.  A few days ago, I decided to take a bit off of the end of the treble end of the bridge and a bit off between the 5th string and the 4th string, and it really helped. (WARNING- this is a unique home-made bridge- it probably won't help YOURS!)

Anyway, the banjo is louder now, so I can play with less effort to get the same volume, and then dig in for accents- I find it very inspiring when an instrument allows me to do that, and so I've been playing way more clawhammer than normal.  It's also clearer, yet still mellow sounding- it really sounds like a more expensive banjo than it is.  Part of the inspiration is that during the Christmas season, I didn't  use the banjo for gigs, since I don't really know any Christmas songs on the banjo!

Last time I was in a music store, I decided I needed a different thumb pick, and I decided on a white National- easier to find, and more comfortable too!

I tried Scruggs picking again with it last night.  It really is fun, even if the only tune I can do right now is Cripple Creek!  When I took off the picks and tried to clawhammer, it felt SO strange.

I'm going to either have to find my old Dunlop finger picks, or buy some new ones- I've been using Ernie Ball Picky Picks I bought to reverse for clawhammer.  But I need a wider pick.



1 comment on “Hard to practice Scruggs style when you lose the thumbpick- and a bridge tweak makes clawhammer fun!”

Tom Berghan Says:
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 @4:35:34 AM

My favorite thumb pick they the ages was the good old National brand. I always like Dunlop 0.2 fingerpicks until I tried ACRI, which are way more comfortable. They ride farther back on the finger and seem to be more stable as a result. As far as sound, I think all the stamped out stainless picks sound the same (in blindfold tests). Now I have a BlueChip thumb pick, which is fantastic for Scruggs style - but very pricey! It was a present.

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