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Chicken Charlie Explain Clawhammer, please? (12) RE: Explain Clawhammer, please? 20 Aug 01

The right hand, esp. thumb and either index or middle finger, is basically hooked into a claw shape. The downbeat, referred to as "knocking down" (as in "Ham, he knocked down on that song, the best tune you heard ever," from the song "Banjo and the Possum") consists in doing just that--knocking the strings with that clawed hand. Then you pull up with a little roll of the wrist that results in striking the thumb string and the other outside string separately. Rhythm is therefore BUM ditty, BUM ditty, BUM ditty and so on, to insanity or the end of the song, whichever occurs first. AKA "two-finger" because that's all you need for the basics. As opposed to three-finger, which lets you do all kinds of syncopated, calibrated, fenestrated, inebriated patterns known as "rolls" which are probably wasted on an instrument like the banjo, but which provide mountaineers who would otherwise be bored with days and days of entertainment. Banjo lovers of the world, relax. I'm kidding; I own two of the silly things myself.


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