Learn How to Play Clawhammer Banjo – The Ultimate Guide

Clawhammer banjo is a popular and unorthodox instrument. It is sometimes called frailing.  It is a typical banjo with the components of American old-time music. People often ask about how to play clawhammer banjo? There is a misconception that always revolves around such stylish and casual instruments. People think that it would be hard to master such instruments. But in reality, you can easily with practice learn to play this amazing instrument efficiently. In it, only the thumb and middle or index finger are used. The finger always down picks. Hitting the string with the back of the fingernail.

Once you start doing practice and get into a little rhythm of it then it would not be hard at all afterward for sure. You can learn quickly if you find the right way of learning as for that matter. It is called clawhammer firstly because of the shape of your hand. While playing the clawhammer banjo your hand should be in a claw-like position. And secondly because of the way you play it. You hammer the strings. That is the reason why it is called a clawhammer banjo. check here how to play clawhammer banjo.

How to play a clawhammer banjo for beginners? 

how to play clawhammer banjo

Many people do not prefer the clawhammer banjo for beginners. But it is really not the case. With little practice and disciplined learning, a beginner can master it in no time at all. You need to first hold the banjo head like a claw. Then hit the string of your banjo like a hammer. In this exercise, you need to hit the strings like a hammer. You are not hitting up and down like a normal usual guitar.

Instead hit the strings in and out. Make sure the thumb rests on the 5th string. You can use this exercise to practice your banjo skills initially and learn how to play clawhammer banjo. As you learn more with practice then you can use your middle finger or the index finger to hit a note or a string and at the same time also hit the banjo. You will learn different styles and notes as you continue to practice. 

How to play clawhammer banjo in 8 essential steps?

how to play clawhammer banjo

It is not very complex to learn a clawhammer banjo. It is quite easy to understand even if you have no history in string instruments. People might find it a little odd to play it. Because of its different approach to playing. There are 8 essential steps of playing a clawhammer banjo.

The first essential step is to relax your hand and make a claw shape with your hand. Imagine you are holding a flashlight. The shape of hand you make then is needed to play a clawhammer banjo.

In the second step, you are required to rest your thumb. You need to make sure while playing a clawhammer banjo that you are keeping the fifth string ringing. You have to rest your thumb on the fifth string at the end of the movement.

The third step would be striking single strings. You have to start with a very light touch and then eventually increase the amount of force on each string. Start doing some experiments with notes and strings by applying different forces on different strings.

In the fourth step, you need to ring the fifth. Practice picking the fifth string with your thumb. With practice, you will learn it, and then when you play a note then with your fingers also use your thumb to play the fifth string.

The fifth step is basic fretting and picking patterns. Learn basic fretting first. Use light pressure when you fret. Push the strings down as close to fret as possible.

In the sixth step hammer the banjo. In clawhammer banjo, you do not play the traditional way. You have to hammer the banjo head.

The seventh step requires you to pluck off. After hammering the strings you need to pluck off. Meaning take your hand back after hitting the banjo head.

And in the eighth step is to practice the strumming technique. You do side-to-side movement in it. relax your hand and play it.

How to play clawhammer banjo deering?

To play a clawhammer banjo deering you need to first learn how to hold it. It is an unorthodox way of holding. You hold the banjo head like a claw. And instead of thrusting the strings up down, you hit them like a hammer. With some disciplined practice, you can learn to play the Deering quite easily. 


Q-1 How to play a banjo clawhammer style?

To play a clawhammer banjo, you must first form a claw-like shape with your hand. This is the only way to hold the banjo head. Remember to smash the strings like a hammer after you’ve held it in that position.

Q-2 How to play shady grove clawhammer banjo.

To play it, down the banjo’s volume to dADGA. This relative tuning is the same as G modal or Gdgcd. This is usually played on a modern steel-stringed banjo.


Also, check out How to play How to Play Cripple Creek on Banjo? if you wish to play banjo with ease.