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I want to be your clawhammer
April 7, 2006 10:18 PM   Subscribe

So, you want to play banjo? But not that bluegrass nonsense. You want to keep it real--play the old-timey clawhammer/frailing stuff. Then you will want to read Patrick Costello's "The How and Tao of Old Time Banjo," available for free (thanks Creative Commons) and of course download the podcast lessons. This is okay, too. Too hard? Start somewhere.
posted by imposster (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome! Being a non-blugrass banjo player this is right up my alley. I've always suspected my style was semi-clawhammer, semi-classical, now I can find out. I'll have to check it out tomorrow when I can start playing again (after ten is too late, bugs the neighbors).
posted by Jawn at 10:35 PM on April 7, 2006


Cool! My wife bought me a Rover Weather King banjo for my birthday last year. I still can't do much but a few chords.
I really want to play some Primus or Ministry on it, but you know, first things first..
posted by Balisong at 10:40 PM on April 7, 2006


This might be the thing to get me started again. I'll need new strings first, though, the ones on the ol' banjo now are a few years old and don't stay in tune ...
posted by bcveen at 10:45 PM on April 7, 2006


Yeah, my cheap and cheerful Deering is looking at me right accusingly right now. How could you leave me on a stand like this for so many months, i_am_joe's_spleen? It has no idea what it's in for tonight...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:04 AM on April 8, 2006


Great post, but I swear we've had a frailing/clawhammer FPP before.

But since I'm too lazy to search and call you out, I'll just enjoy this one. Well done! Kudos!
posted by sourwookie at 12:08 AM on April 8, 2006


My goodness, this is good. I haven't even seen similarly good resources for guitar--complete with podcasts, and lessons (and neat stories). Is there stuff out there like this for guitar (or, say, piano)?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 12:25 AM on April 8, 2006


(Um, besides the guitar link on that website, I mean)
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 12:44 AM on April 8, 2006


No sir. No indeed. No, I do not want to play the banjo, in any of its vile, grating, twangy, hick-ass styles. Thank you.

What's the difference between a banjo and an onion? Okay GO!
posted by Decani at 5:07 AM on April 8, 2006


... nobody cries when you chop up a banjo. Frailers have been telling these ones for years, mainly 'cos you've got so many tunings, you've got to say something while you're fixing the strings.

Maybe you should listen to some good banjo music, Decani. It exists.
posted by scruss at 5:59 AM on April 8, 2006


Exactly. Prejudice, dumb as an ox and twice as difficult to shift.
posted by Wolof at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2006


Prejudice? But that would assume that I haven't heard much banjo "music", and that would be a false assumption. Prejudiced, in fact.

(Damn, banjo fans are so easy)
posted by Decani at 7:29 AM on April 8, 2006


*walks up to imposster*

You sayin' bluegrass is nonsense, son?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2006


If by "nonsense" you mean one of the most influential musics of the 20th century. My love of bluegrass led me down the path towards other banjo styles.

(The link to a bio of Earl Scruggs was to indicate my admiration for his skill and wide-ranging musical imagination.)
posted by imposster at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2006


that's more like it.

I play fiddle in a bluegrass band. I know very little about the banjo, but I sent this thread to the banjo player for his approval.

"What do you say to a banjo player in a suit?"
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2006


Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Jr., famously said that a man cannot be argued into liking a glass of beer. But if that man doesn't like what Mark Twain called " the glory-beaming banjo," he has a hole in his soul.
posted by rdone at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2006


If it's good enough for Steve Martin, it's good enough for me.
posted by Balisong at 8:58 AM on April 8, 2006


Cool, I actually have this book. I'll have to check out the podcasts. I've been a clawhammerer for about 4-5 years.
posted by jefbla at 9:10 AM on April 8, 2006


I don't know. I know the difference between a banjo player and a large pizza, and what you do when a banjo player knocks on your door, but I don't know. What do you say to a banjo player in a suit?
posted by eriko at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2006


"Will the defendant please rise..."

What's the difference between a banjo player and a savings bond?
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2006


Thanks for this.

And for the banjo-haters, probably nothing can be done to change your minds, but here's an interesting, Tom Waits-esque, non-bluegrass banjo song from 1914.
posted by interrobang at 10:33 AM on April 8, 2006


Did somebody say "glory beaming banjo"?
posted by chowder at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2006


If it's good enough for Steve Martin, it's good enough for me.

Awesome. I'm using that.
posted by Decani at 6:27 PM on April 8, 2006


I know the difference between a banjo player and a large pizza

A large pizza can feed a family of four.

What's the best or fastest way to tune a banjo?
posted by Ynoxas at 9:02 PM on April 8, 2006


Prejudice? But that would assume that I haven't heard much banjo "music", and that would be a false assumption. Prejudiced, in fact.

You can play all sorts of music on all sorts of instruments. More premature congratulations on your part, I am afraid.
posted by Wolof at 5:37 AM on April 9, 2006


Horrifically complete list of Banjo Jokes.
posted by Overzealous at 7:38 AM on April 9, 2006


You can play all sorts of music on all sorts of instruments. More premature congratulations on your part, I am afraid.

I'm sorry, I have no idea what pertinence that statement has. It's sort of like lexical banjo music. It twangs and rattles to no apparent end other than to be a needless irritant.
posted by Decani at 4:19 PM on April 9, 2006


I'm sorry, I have no idea what pertinence that statement has.

If you don't know the difference between the signal and the channel I can't help you.

It twangs and rattles to no apparent end other than to be a needless irritant.

Quite unlike your elegant and fragrant shit on the banjo in a thread pointing out resources for same.
posted by Wolof at 5:19 PM on April 10, 2006


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