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Three finger/clawhammer duets

Posted by Don Borchelt on Saturday, November 22, 2008

For quite a few years now, I have been playing three finger/clawhammer banjo duets with my pal, Ed Britt, who lives in Wakefield, Masschusetts, right next door to Stoneham.  Ed is a gifted clawhammer player, as well as a noted banjo historian and designer.  I have come to believe that the two techniques can compliment each other every bit as much as a banjo and fiddle, albeit in different way.  There are some other fine examples posted here on the BHO by some very talented members, to help me make my point. This could be the next killer banjo app!  In no particular order...

Tom MacKenzie & Doug Knight:
Hangman's Reel

Tom MacKenzie & Gordon Stone:
Balkan Ride

Linda Frank (ZenPickin) & Wes Carter:
Old Mother Logo
Angeline the Baker

Glenn & Russ Carson
Soldier's Joy

Terry Baucom & Mark "Clawgrass" Johnson:
Farewell Blues
Sally Ann

Mark "Clawgrass" Johnson with himself:
Soldier's Joy

I don't remember any others right now, but if someone else has some links, feel free to add them, or point me to them.

7 comments on “Three finger/clawhammer duets”

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Saturday, November 22, 2008 @2:14:22 PM

Hey, I don't know about you, but to my ear three-picking sounds old-timey if you do it without finger picks, especially on an open-back banjo.  For bonus points, if the banjo doesn't have a tone ring, and especially if it has nylon strings, the resulting 3-picking sounds quite compatible with frailing.

jimh269b Says:
Saturday, November 22, 2008 @4:07:48 PM

hey don great a again

Saturday, November 22, 2008 @11:03:22 PM

Yup my point exactly,this is really a good approach to some fine banjo duets. I'll try some clawpickin' as the three finger stuff  I do could use some work and these fine examples are valuable to me as targets to shot for...............

PruchaLegend Says:
Saturday, November 22, 2008 @11:14:24 PM

"Old Friends" is an album made by Alan Munde and Wayne Shrubsall. It's great!

Granada90 Says:
Sunday, November 23, 2008 @4:21:35 AM

Scrugg's and McEuen's version of Soldiers well as the 2 playing Nashville Blues together.

Banjov1 Says:
Friday, November 28, 2008 @7:56:05 PM

Great stuff Don, I'm gonna have to put a CD together with these tracks. It really makes me want to hunt down some clawhammer folks in Baltimore

This style needs a name though. I like how Elwood calls it clawpickin' or Mark Johnson's nickname "Clawgrass". It needs something you can dress up and put on a t-shirt. ;-)




John Kuhn Says:
Tuesday, December 2, 2008 @11:30:01 PM

Hey Don, Ive been hangin out on your page alot lately as well as your website an have a new found appreciation for  the clawhammer style.You guys present both styles in a unique way that is very appealing both rhythmically and melodically.Ya find both parts needing one another but yet standing on their own.I find myself messin with balance knob alot..LOL.Ill be honest, I some of those on your website, I cant tell in places whether its 3 finger or clawhammer.(Wind that Shakes the Barley)I enjoyed a nice relaxing Hr and 1/2 on your website tonite.Great reading, jokes, and tunes Id never heard becoming ones I like alot!!!.Im gonna check out these other duets you posted.Thanks, John





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