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Clawhammer or Scruggs

Posted by Judith511 on Saturday, February 17, 2018

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I got. my banjo back from the shop. They put a 5th string Capo on it.  Seems to work well. I really missed it, the other one is louder and heavier but I do like it. I put the towel in it but that didn't seem to make a difference. I will try a larger one.

I have been thinking of trying some claw hammer. Does anyone do both or just choose a style?  I have watched some basic videos...practice I guess. 

I have joined Spotify and am finding lots of Bluegrass music. So much I have never heard. I was always more into folk style music. There is just so much great music out there I just cant seem to find the time for it all! 

8 comments on “Clawhammer or Scruggs”

AndyW Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @12:10:11 AM

The thing with clawhammer is you don't get anywhere fast. It takes a fair bit of learning to get the basic motion going correctly. Once you've got that things pick up a bit.

So if you want to 'trial' it you'd have to put in a fair bit of time and effort.

A lot of folks who make the switch prefer clawhammer though.

Texasbanjo Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @4:43:05 AM

I've tried both and personally, prefer Scruggs. Clawhammer was, to me, rather boring.... no hot licks, no driving rolls. So.... try it out, see if you like the bum-ditty type thumb, finger picking. If you do, then go for it. If it's not satisfying you, stay with Scruggs.

It does take a bit of getting used to to get the rhythm down, but it can be done with a lot of woodshedding.

Whatever you decide, it's your decision. Listen to lots of clawhammer type music and see if that sounds better to you than the bluegrass and if it does, then it's clawhammer for you. If not, then it's better to stay with bluegrass.

Judith511 Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @6:20:38 AM

I have always been more of a picker than strummer. I have tried to do a bit and it is hard to get into the rhythm but I guess that comes with practice. I like the sound of some of the clawhammer music.

AndyW Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @8:43:24 AM

Clawhammer as in fiddle tune clawhammer certainly is the opposite of strumming. Google Wade Ward who is possibly the best clawhammerer ever. Hardly a strum sounded.

There is ultra basic bum-ditty chord clawhammer, but no reason to aim so low if you want to be good instrumentally. On the other hand many people who sing like a basic accompaniment. Horses for courses.

Judith511 Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @9:22:38 AM

@AndyW. oops I guess I had it wrong as in it is not a strum but a different style of picking. I have watched a lesson or two in the Clawhammer course and practiced a bit. Ye Is thought it would be good for accompanying a singer, that is my plan anyway. I don't see why I can't learn both, it is about the practice and see how much I can get in daily.

AndyW Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @11:15:49 AM

Dan Levensons 'Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch' book will give a good grounding. It's quite methodical on the basics. It's a bit short on hammer ons, pull offs etc further in but I'd imagine you've got all that down from scruggs already.

If you don't want to invest any cash, download Rocketsciencebanjo which is a good read even for a scruggs picker.

Double C tuning might give you a 'double take' at first, it did me, but you soon adapt.

AndyW Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @11:19:03 AM

Alternatively, for a pure bum-ditty song accompaniment style Pat Costello's 'Tao' book (also a free download) is happily used by many. Just don't mention him in the forum as he's a very divisive character.

WayneConrad Says:
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @12:21:37 PM

I started with Scruggs, but switched to Clawhammer because every time I heard a clawhammer tune it made my ears stand up. I think that's the key--whatever you pick it's going to take a lot of work, so pick what pleases you the most. Just like how Scruggs makes Texasbanjo happy. Music is too much work to do just because--you have to love it, you have to be deeply in love with it, in order to sustain the effort it takes to learn it. So pick what you love most.

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