the choice: bluegrass or clawhammer

Most people don’t know that there are multiple styles of playing the banjo.

THE TWO MOST POPULAR ARE BLUEGRASS AND CLAWHAMMER.

It’s important, before you begin your journey, to choose your path.

Each uses different mechanics and sounds different.

Think of them as two different paths, with different views and experiences. Take a moment to listen to examples of both styles below.

Which one excites you more? As you’ll see on the next page, both are technically challenging.

Have no fear: whichever path you take, we will guide you to the top. 

CLAWHAMMER BANJO

Spotted Pony – Advanced Clawhammer

Clawhammer banjo is played using a downward strumming motion over the strings. Typically, the melody of a song is played by striking one string, quickly followed by a strum of two or three strings. This creates a rhythm that sounds like: “boom – chick – a” or, more precisely, “claw – ham – mer.” The method involves one’s thumb and pointer finger shaped in a “claw.” Watch the video!

BLUEGRASS BANJO

Roanoke – Advanced Bluegrass

Also known as three-finger style or Scruggs-style (after Earl Scruggs whose innovative approach influenced generations of players) the picking consists of an up-picking motion by the fingers and a down-picking motion by the thumb. Traditionally the player wears finger picks on the thumb, index and middle fingers. Watch the video!

LEARN ABOUT THE SKILLS YOU WILL START WITH: