Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

616
Banjo Lovers Online


Why Choose Clawhammer Over Up-Picking (Seeger Basic Strum)?

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Mar 20, 2020 - 5:08:51 PM
likes this
5 posts since 3/15/2020

Up-picking feels a lot more natural to me, I do it far more accurately than clawhammer.
What are some reasons to choose clawhammer over up-picking.

Mar 20, 2020 - 5:44:30 PM
like this
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

563 posts since 10/15/2019

I've tried to come up with a reason for years, but no luck. I'm an up-picker.

I'm happy to steal all their tabs though!

Edited by - Eric A on 03/20/2020 17:48:35

Mar 20, 2020 - 5:47:35 PM
likes this

9651 posts since 2/22/2007

You either like that sound or you don't.

Mar 20, 2020 - 7:47:16 PM
likes this

4633 posts since 5/9/2007

I have an acquaintance that Clawhammers His Guitar ...
Different DownStrokes for different folks.

: >)

MrP

Mar 20, 2020 - 8:10:50 PM
like this

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23425 posts since 6/25/2005

I started with up-picking from the Seeger book, then moved to frailing as the book suggested. Took a while to master it, but what a difference. I could play harder, faster and more accurately. When I mastered dropping my thumb, I was set. I never looked back because I could do everything I could up-picking and a lot I could not. I’m considering Seeger-style up-picking here. If you mean NC-style two-finger like Doc Watson played, that’s a different kettle of fish. Every bit as hard and fast as clawhammer. Note that NC-style has two up-strokes before the 5th. Seeger-style has one up then one down before the 5th. I could never master NC-style.

Mar 20, 2020 - 9:04:29 PM

rcc56

USA

2748 posts since 2/20/2016

I play both ways. I learned Seeger style first, and it's a good place to start.

I added clawhammer later. It took a while to get the hang of it, and if I don't use it regularly, I get rusty and it takes some time to get my stroke back.

You can integrate a double thumb lick with Seeger style that performs the same function as the drop thumb in clawhammer.

After I turned 60, the nail on my middle finger developed a tendency to curl inward, making it difficult to get a clear tone if I use clawhammer. It doesn't hurt the up-picking, though. So I'm clawing less and up-picking more.

Mar 20, 2020 - 9:14:12 PM

Paul R

Canada

12702 posts since 1/28/2010
Online Now

I started with the Seeger style. Then I took a couple of clawhammer lessons and that was it. I never went back to the Seeger method. I'd like to bring it back just to have another option. I do some two-finger thumb lead, though.

I prefer the clawhammer sound. Plus, it feels more natural to me. When I was introduced to it, it was like coming home. This was also the time when Ken Perlman's Melodic Clawhammer Banjo came out (as well as Miles Krassen's book), so you might say the stars aligned.

These days there is more awareness that clawhammer isn't the only "old time" style.

Mar 20, 2020 - 10:02:52 PM

raybob

USA

13464 posts since 12/11/2003

I agree with Bill and Paul. I like the sound.

Mar 20, 2020 - 10:05:54 PM
like this

doryman

USA

811 posts since 11/26/2012

Like others here I started with Seeger style up-picking and then learned clawhammer. Now I've developed some strange style of my own where I do both at the same time in a single song. I have to disagree with Bill Roger (which is odd, because usually I agree with everything that he posts), in that I can really drive harder, faster and more accurately when I up-pick. It may just be that I'm better at it than I am at double thumbing clawhammer. I say that if you like up-picking and it works for you then go for it! It's great for singing along with the banjo too.

A caveat...I'm not at all a fan of Ken Perlman's style. He's amazing, it's just not what I want to play or listen to.

Mar 21, 2020 - 12:50:46 AM
likes this

2628 posts since 4/29/2012
Online Now

I too started with the Seeger book. So up-picked for a few weeks until I came to the "Frailing" chapter (Cripple creek ?). It took some time to get used to the counter-intuitive action (I already played a bit of guitar). But once I did I never (so far - and excluding a little bit of 2 and 3 finger) up picked again. Faster (when I want to be), cleaner more accurate. I think this is partly for 2 reasons: gravity is doing much of the work as the sound comes on the downstroke and using the back convex face of the nail gives a cleaner sound then the front concave-plus-fingertip of up-picking.

Mar 21, 2020 - 1:15:44 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

40410 posts since 3/7/2006

Up-picking is very similar to easy clawhammer "bum-di-ty"), but in more advanced playing clawhammer seems to be easier that up-picking. For example I find it difficult to play drop thumb in Segger style. But you can play advanced even with up-picking, just check out Chip Arnold or Will Keys!

Mar 21, 2020 - 2:23:33 AM

Emiel

Austria

9447 posts since 1/22/2003

If you practice it a bit, you can do drop-thumb and double-thumbing with the up-picking ("basic strum") just as wel as with clawhammer…

Mar 21, 2020 - 3:40:29 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

40410 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

If you practice it a bit, you can do drop-thumb and double-thumbing with the up-picking ("basic strum") just as wel as with clawhammer…


With emphasis on practice it a bit smiley

Mar 21, 2020 - 4:27:29 AM

2628 posts since 4/29/2012
Online Now

Just cos there's nothing else to do at the moment I tried to play a couple of simple tunes that I play frequently but using up-picking. Haven't up-picked for years. It now seems as clumsy and counter-intuitive as down-picking seemed to be when I first started. Accurately hitting a middle string is particularly hard.

Mar 21, 2020 - 5:50:58 AM

Fathand

Canada

11581 posts since 2/7/2008

I also learned up picking first but when I went to down picking it was so much smoother and faster I never went back.

I think up picking is even more clumsy when it comes to drop thumb but that might just be me.

Mar 21, 2020 - 6:27:58 AM
like this

274 posts since 3/28/2013

Interesting. I started with clawhammer and went to up picking later. I find it more accurate and I can play much faster and cleanly than with clawhammer. Plus, I like the way I can switch seamlessly from two finger thumb lead to up picking and back. I do use picks, though.

Mar 21, 2020 - 6:49:55 AM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2480 posts since 3/10/2008

I seem to be like everyone else here--starting with up-picking, then frailing. I only had the Seeger instruction LP. I didn't know there was a book to go with it until years later. I've lost my touch with up-picking, except for going very slow. The thing I miss most about it is the calypso rhythm that Seeger did with up picking. Maybe I'll practice up-picking again to develop speed and get the Caribbean rhythm back. I also want to try Emiel's idea of drop thumb with up-picking.

Mar 21, 2020 - 6:51:02 AM

m06

England

8744 posts since 10/5/2006
Online Now

There is no ‘why?’

Many banjo players, myself included, down pick and up pick. We just play the way we want to, often according to whichever direction we feel works better on a particular tune. For instance, personally I tend to up pick on tunes in 3/4 time. But not always; there are no expressive or creative rules, and we all have differing preferences and propensity.

Edited by - m06 on 03/21/2020 06:53:04

Mar 21, 2020 - 3:35:12 PM
likes this

Emiel

Austria

9447 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Lew H

Maybe I'll practice up-picking again to develop speed and get the Caribbean rhythm back. I also want to try Emiel's idea of drop thumb with up-picking.


And also double-thumbing works well with up-picking. With double-thumbing, I mean the technique where the thumb stays on the fifth string and does not drop to the 2nd or the 3rd (or even the 4th).

Personally, I'm also better with clawhammer than with up-picking when doing drop-thumb, because I claw more frequently than I do the up-picking/basic strum. Lately, I tried those techniques again with up-picking and I discovered that it does not need much practicing to get a good result. 

Here's a nice video by Colin Bazsali of up-picking; 500 Miles as played by Hedy West, with double-thumbing at appr. 3:20:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKWBR8xrLyE

Watch it to the end, where he explains…

Edited by - Emiel on 03/21/2020 15:39:04

Mar 21, 2020 - 4:16:47 PM
like this

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23425 posts since 6/25/2005

Here’s just one example of a clawhammer tune I don’t think can be played with Seeger-style up-picking with the punch, drive and speed displayed here.  I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen it.  This is why those of who want this sort of attack and speed have gravitated to clawhammer or various finger-picking styles. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-OfA5qSVJLM

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 03/22/2020 00:20:48

Mar 21, 2020 - 6:14:29 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12553 posts since 8/30/2006

I stopped up picking for my wrist
Then I came back and relearned it using two finger pinch chords

I play everything even in the same song
I like the way it sounds

Mar 22, 2020 - 12:52:24 AM

72 posts since 3/10/2020

When I play clawhammer I feel like I can do more with it than finger picking. I have a better understanding of rhythm. You're able to swap rhythm styles, you can drop and double thumb with claw, ho/po and finally you can switch between claw and picking while playing.

Mar 22, 2020 - 4:56:22 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

40410 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Here’s just one example of a clawhammer tune I don’t think can be played with Seeger-style up-picking with the punch, drive and speed displayed here.  I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen it.  This is why those of who want this sort of attack and speed have gravitated to clawhammer or various finger-picking styles. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-OfA5qSVJLM


Here is an example of up-picking tune I don't think can be played with clawhammer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sCzQUJQ5ww

Or this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkLmFK-X0mI

Edited by - janolov on 03/22/2020 04:58:36

Mar 22, 2020 - 5:36:17 AM

Emiel

Austria

9447 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by janolov
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Here’s just one example of a clawhammer tune I don’t think can be played with Seeger-style up-picking with the punch, drive and speed displayed here.  I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen it.  This is why those of who want this sort of attack and speed have gravitated to clawhammer or various finger-picking styles. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-OfA5qSVJLM


Here is an example of up-picking tune I don't think can be played with clawhammer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sCzQUJQ5ww

Or this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkLmFK-X0mI


That is something different, in my opinion. That is two-finger picking; here in a combination of thumb-lead and index-finger-lead, I believe. I thought we were talking about the "up-picking" as it's called by Art Rosenbaum, "basic strum" by Pete Seeger. The only difference with clawhammer is that the finger on the "bump" picks up, not down.

Mar 22, 2020 - 5:37:03 AM

2628 posts since 4/29/2012
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by janolov
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Here’s just one example of a clawhammer tune I don’t think can be played with Seeger-style up-picking with the punch, drive and speed displayed here.  I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen it.  This is why those of who want this sort of attack and speed have gravitated to clawhammer or various finger-picking styles. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-OfA5qSVJLM


Here is an example of up-picking tune I don't think can be played with clawhammer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sCzQUJQ5ww

Or this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkLmFK-X0mI


Like the first one. Sounds like a challenge I've currently got plenty of time to take up. I can't see why it couldn't be played more or less as-is in clawhammer.

Mar 22, 2020 - 7:07:12 AM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

40410 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by janolov
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Here’s just one example of a clawhammer tune I don’t think can be played with Seeger-style up-picking with the punch, drive and speed displayed here.  I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen it.  This is why those of who want this sort of attack and speed have gravitated to clawhammer or various finger-picking styles. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-OfA5qSVJLM


Here is an example of up-picking tune I don't think can be played with clawhammer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sCzQUJQ5ww

Or this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkLmFK-X0mI


That is something different, in my opinion. That is two-finger picking; here in a combination of thumb-lead and index-finger-lead, I believe. I thought we were talking about the "up-picking" as it's called by Art Rosenbaum, "basic strum" by Pete Seeger. The only difference with clawhammer is that the finger on the "bump" picks up, not down.


I agree. It is not Seeger's basic strum. Pete Seeger had his hand in the air while playing and played up - down - thumb (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rrfs2uaGQag), while Will Keys has his hand anchored to the head. In the basic strum it is difficult to do drop thumb / double thumbing, but with the hand anchored it is easier. I think I had Pete Seeger use to anchor the hand when "double thumbing".

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.21875