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Aug 2, 2021 - 4:54:40 PM

Heady

USA

108 posts since 4/25/2021

I'm partial to clawhammer so that's what I've been trying to learn. I think it's going well.

I found some 2 finger thumb lead tabs that piqued my curiosity. Would it be a bad idea to try them 2 months into starting clawhammer? Should I wait a bit?

Aug 2, 2021 - 5:13:23 PM
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banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11515 posts since 2/22/2007

Yes, focus on one or the other at this early stage. Two finger is easier imo so starting there may be a good idea if you want to get to making what sounds like music as soon as possible. The right hand is so different between the two styles that you may as well be playing two different instruments. And if you can learn two different instruments at the same time, then go for it, but that would be far beyond me.

Aug 2, 2021 - 5:51:08 PM
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Enfield1858

England

128 posts since 8/1/2020

@Heady - I'd second the advice from banjo bill-e; stick with one until you're really solid with that before branching out.  Clawhammer and TFTL are so utterly different from each other that I think trying to switch from one to the other at this stage  - or, even worse, trying to learn both at the same time - would really mess you up.

With best regards,
Jack

Aug 2, 2021 - 5:51:40 PM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

376 posts since 5/11/2021
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I learned clawhammer and 3finger/scruggs at the same time. When I got bored or hit a "wall" with one style, I would switch to the other. I think there's some merit to doing it this way, for me playing 3finger made my drop-thumb much better, and playing clawhammer made my understanding of scale patterns better.

You just need to accept that your progress will be slower for each individual style.

Aug 2, 2021 - 9:57:38 PM
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4156 posts since 10/13/2005

How much time do you have for music? I think learning 2FTL and clawhammer would NOT be too difficult or slow you down that much. Follow your muse. banjered

Aug 3, 2021 - 12:44:36 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25156 posts since 6/25/2005

Stay with clawhammer until you’ve got a serious grasp of it and can play tunes easily and with all the notes. Then it will be time to explore other approaches. I would say the same thing if you’d started with another style: master the one you’ve begun to get a real grip on—then proceed where you wish.

Aug 3, 2021 - 2:17:57 AM
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145 posts since 12/4/2007

Mark Johnson's "Clawgrass" is a very good in between.

clawgrassbanjo.com

Aug 3, 2021 - 2:53:33 AM
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3807 posts since 4/29/2012

This is supposed to be fun. If you get more fun by playing around with different techniques then go for it. If it slows down your progress in one technique then so what ? What's the hurry ? (And I'm not convinced that it would slow you down anyway).
If you were studying for an exam to get a professional qualification in clawhammer banjo to enhance your resume then I'd give different advice. You're not are you ?

Aug 3, 2021 - 5:09:33 AM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

376 posts since 5/11/2021
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by steveintampa

Mark Johnson's "Clawgrass" is a very good in between.

clawgrassbanjo.com


Mark Johnson is awesome. Clawgrass is just clawhammer with a good marketing team. 

Aug 3, 2021 - 5:58:45 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14498 posts since 8/30/2006

Once, an immigrant from Africa thought it was too late for her to learn music. "Nonsense."

I don't know what your music lab is doing upstairs in your big brain, but it sounds like the furniture is getting moved around. Good.

I first learned up-picking, then down picking as in frailing all the strings or claw for more single notes. Some of us think there is a difference.

Two finger is a hoot.

Later I went back and re-learned up picking, now I use up and down interchangeably in the same song for dynamics and emphasis.

I did not obtain a permit to do that.

Then the pinch chords just fall off the banjo, two finger chords with two fingers picking those strings on the right hand.

It's your lab and muscle memory, maybe your lab can handle the rush of information if you don't apologize.

Just enjoy yourself.

Clawgrass? I like it, but Bluehammer is more my style.


Aug 3, 2021 - 2:14:56 PM
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Paul R

Canada

14918 posts since 1/28/2010

Everybody learns differently. You'll have to be the ultimate judge of what you can handle.

Meanwhile, you may find that 2FTL tabs can easily be converted to clawhammer.

Aug 3, 2021 - 6:26:26 PM
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509 posts since 2/8/2003

I will say that “a lot” of clawhammer (basic tunes at least) easily transpose over the 2finger. I started learning 2 finger after playing CH for a couple years, so it may be better to get experience on one or the other first. That way you become familiar with old time melodies and song selections. I can find the melody easily for tunes I know, and play 2 finger and fill with rolls and pinches, and vice versa from 2finger to CH. I ain’t all that good, as I have limited thumb motion due to an injury, which is why I quit scruggs style and switched to clawhammer in the first place, which I am better at. But I love doing Boggs stuff in 2 finger, though technically he used 3, and other stuff using thumb or index lead.

Aug 3, 2021 - 7:44:20 PM

Heady

USA

108 posts since 4/25/2021

I float between teaching myself a new instrument and taking lessons and I do have a teacher right now. I guess I'll go with the flow for now and when she starts giving me things in other styles I'll have more faith that it's time.

Thanks everyone :)

Also I just realized I didn't get bit by a mosquito on the tip of my thumb and first knuckle of middle finger - I actually got a blister from practicing too much yesterday. Definitely want to stick with clawhammer long enough to get calluses in all the right places. And maybe pay more attention to what I'm doing because I didn't realize I was dragging that knuckle across the strings until it turned red.

Aug 5, 2021 - 7:07:23 PM

Heady

USA

108 posts since 4/25/2021

I'm a liar. I lied. Not to you all - but to myself. I believed when I said it that I'd wait for my teacher, and then I gave in to the urge.

I'm definitely smitten. I'm going to focus the majority of my practice on claw hammer and then let myself play around a bit at the end of practice. I can't recall who here tabbed out the beginner level Frankie Baker here, but it's so pretty. I am not hearing the tune I expected when I played it so maybe I'm just delusional - but it's a lovely little piece that really is doable for a beginner - so thanks whoever wrote that out.

Can't play by ear to save my life though I am working on it - so a nice clear tab is such a treat - at least I finally got comfy with tabs - I came from a classical bowed instrument background and previously couldn't play *anything* without standard notation - nonstandard tunings cured me of that and that Frankie Baker beginner tab is much appreciated.

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