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Feb 23, 2021 - 8:44:49 AM
567 posts since 10/9/2017

Has anyone here taken up "Clawhammer Guitar" a la Molly Tuttle or Steve Baughmann? A post earlier this week got me thinking about it as a way to branch out into another instrument without having to acquire a whole new skillset. Can anyone who's done so shed any light on it?

1) How easy is it to pick up for someone with effectively zero guitar experience?

2) How broadly applicable is it for vocal back up? Does it have the same limitations that CH Banjo has for compound time signatures?

3) How does it work in a jam situation? Can you sub in if the guitar player gets the sniffles?

4) Other issues...


Feb 23, 2021 - 1:00:37 PM



682 posts since 7/4/2017

If you removed the 6th string and tuned to open G you could pretty much have an easy time of converting a bunch of banjo tunes. Only difference would be a low G done rather than a high G.

I expect Double C would work the same.

Feb 23, 2021 - 8:39:55 PM
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1226 posts since 8/7/2017

I found it not hard to pickup the basics, but the string spacing on my D-28 is closer than on my banjos, so more accurate right hand fingering is needed for dropthumb.

I left all 6 strings on, just repeated the root note on the 6th (so my "drone" string is not same as on banjo). Its possible to replace 6th string with a banjo-sized 5th string equivalent. But when I did this, I did not like the sound, so went back to the normal guitar 6th string.

The string tension of banjo tuning will be less than guitar tuning, and your neck bow will respond after about a month (leading to open strings buzzing on the frets). You can either a) adjust your guitar's neck rod to straighten the neck by lessening rod tension or b) just retune to normal guitar pitches each time after you are done playing (thus restoring normal guitar string tension).

I like the sound of frailing guitar, so just leave mine tuned to double C tuning (and adjusted neck-rod tension). Steve Baughman videos were my introduction to frailing guitar. He makes it sound very nice :-)

Hope this helps.

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