New to claw hammer. I have been looking at videos etc and am confused on the direction of the hand motion to hit a single string. One video says the action is similar to a knocking motion from the wrist. Another says to use a side to side wrist action. It seems the knocking motion makes it difficult to pluck a single string whereas the side to side wrist motion allows me to pluck a string with the back of my finger nail. I understand that the fingers should remain in a relaxed claw shape. Thoughts?
Edited by - HighLonesomeF5 on 04/18/2021 05:03:17
I've seen different ways to hold the claw. Some play with a straight thumb and some with a bent thumb; find what's best for you. Always remember that the 5th string is plucked on the up motion of your hand. To play single strings, you just have to concentrate and practice using your ear as the judge.
I'm of the school that if you're not using a drop thumb for a note, then the thumb should be playing the 5th string. For me, that drone is a lot of what clawhammer banjo playing should sound like.
Keeping the hand moving constantly is what I like, i.e. not bum-ditty-bum. There was a thread some time ago on hand motion.
Hope some of this is helpful.
Here's Tony Spadero's 'RocketScienceBanjo' basic motion video (amongst others).
Dan Levenson 1
Dan Levenson 2
Dan Levenson 3
There are at least 25 ways of playing clawhammer. You have to choose one method and learn that method, and not interfere with other methods until you master the first method. I think Dan Levenson's material is a good start (see links above). It costs some money, but he is serious and accomplished, and the money will be well invested.
Thanks everyone! I will give DL a look.
'La Marseillaise' 17 min