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Clawhammer another way (30 days in the bum-ditty)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Now I signed up for clawhammer class at Old Town School. Completely different than the Dan Levenson book. WE do bum ditty. Only one thumb stroke now. I won't bring up alternatives to my teacher, Jonas Friddle. He came all the way from Berea College to teach us clawhammer in Chicago, and then we dump a couple feet of slush on him. I feel sorry for the little guy. So we're back in open G for now, and then "sawmill tuning" (which he says people in Chicago looked at him blankly about and then told him "Oh, you mean MODAL tuning!")

I've been to a few jam sessions lately (At OTSFM and a floating jam at someone's home) but I played fiddle, not banjo. And felt pretty insecure on fiddle, at that. Next week is the to-be-named band rehearsal again. I'm the only fiddler so it's no-banjo night. Stump Grinders? Apple Knockers? How about The Slack Adjusters (in honor of my summer of factory work at Sloan Valve Company's Railraod Division). Taking up the slack, sort of a Norman Blake vibe there...

My right hand is indeed struggling with the banjo. Nowhere to plant my pinky so my index finger kind of hits or misses the proper string.Yes, we use index finger in class, no choice offered. I'm the oldest guy in the class, which is a bunch of males in their 20's and 30's of varying ethnicities. And of course Jonas, the teacher, is younger than my youngest son.

But one thing I'll say for clawhammer... it's helped save my marriage after a rocky year of bluegrass banjo. My wife likes it much better and doesn't turn up "Law and Order" quite so loud now.


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Playing Since: 2007
Experience Level: Just Startin'

[Jamming] [Socializing]

Occupation: Manager (Health Care)

Gender: Male
Age: 68

My Instruments:
A rented Deering Goodtime -- for now

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Tangleweed, Doc Watson & David Holt, Steve Rosen, and all the masters

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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 5/25/2007
Last Visit 8/20/2021

I've played guitar for almost 40 years, took up fiddle a year ago and banjo (starting with bluegrass style) last month. Taking a class at Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. This thing is a BEAR! Give me a year and I'll know if I'll ever work this thing. I get together with a couple other guys every few months, mostly on fiddle. My wife begged me not to take up the banjo 'cause she'd have to lsiten to me practice. Ya think that's a compliment about my fiddle playing?

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