Thanks to modern science there are three ways to learn authentic clawhammer banjo: 1) Transport yourself to the early 1800's using MIT Professor Seth Lloyd's quantum teleportation theory and learn it directly from Joel Sweeney (a little risky as the theory is still in beta); 2) Head over to the J. Craig Venter Institute and request their in-patient genetic sequencing procedure with some of Sweeney's DNA (very expensive); 3) Pick up this interactive video course from Cathy Fink and start clawhammering tonight (very affordable, no needles and extremely effective).
Clawhammer banjo is a gas; highly rhythmic, super Americana, and absolutely guaranteed to trigger big smiles and tapping feet in your audience. Clawhammer refers to its down-picking technique where the hand forms a claw-like shape and the strings are struck by the fingers in a down-picking style. This unique picking style is what generates clawhammer banjo's signature sound.
Learn how to play clawhammer and you can legitimately adopt a cool stage name like the early clawhammer banjo pioneers Uncle Dave Macon, Grandpa Jones, Stringbean and Cousin Emmy. If you prefer a slightly more contemporary vibe you would likely prefer to channel players like Tommy Jarrell, Don Stover, Mike or Pete Seeger, Ola Belle Reed or Tommy Thompson.
It's also a lot easier to learn than you would imagine largely due to Cathy Fink's engaging, hands-on educational approach -- you'll be making music immediately even if you're a flat-out beginner. And if you already play guitar, you'll have a set's worth of tunage under your belt within just a couple of weeks (plus, many well-known guitarists like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Neil Young use the clawhammer strumming style in their guitar playing).
In Beginner Module 1, Cathy steps you through all of the basics, from both G and C tuning to right-hand techniques, chords, scales, hammers, pull-offs, and slides. Along the way you'll learn to play Skip to My Lou, Cripple Creek, Sandy River Belle, Little Liza Jane, Buffalo Gals, Old Joe Clark, Shady Grove, This Little Light of Mine and Old Paint - enough of a solid repertoire to participate at the jams and treat family and friends to your new-found clawhammer banjo prowess!
In Beginner Module 2, Cathy steps up your clawhammer banjo game with more cool tunings, chords, scales, insight and of course more songs for your repertoire, each filled with additional key techniques that you can use in hundreds and hundreds of songs. You'll learn Coming Round the Mountain, Careless Love, Walkin' in the Parlor, Needlecase, Mississippi Sawyer, Angeline the Baker, Soldier's Joy, and Get Along Home Cindy. Completing this module rounds out your clawhammer banjo chops with enough skills to take on virtually any song or standard banjo tune and lays a solid foundation for an advanced learning study program (coming soon from Cathy!) and a lifetime of enjoyment.
Everything is demonstrated and broken down note-by-note in full living color. The interactive lesson player equips you with handy tools for zooming, looping and for calling up charts tab, and notation with a single click. Slow and at tempo playalongs get you in the clawhammer groove quickly and accelerate the learning process. You will play your way through the course - no tedious theory or boring exercise to struggle through!
Skip the time travel and genetic splicing -- pick up Cathy Fink's Clawhammer Banjo series and treat yourself to one of the most enjoyable and musical learning experiences you will ever encounter. Oh, and start thinking about that cool stage name!