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I’m always surprised by how much I like the sound of a clawhammer’d waltz. Why?
Because it’s signature element, it’s “raison d’être” if I’m in a pretentious mood, is that driving 2 beat pulse. That pulse evaporates when we move to a 3 beats per measure kind of feel.
Rhythmically, it’s hard to tell the difference between a waltz that’s up-picked or one that’s down-picked. And from a technical standpoint, it’s easier to fingerpick a waltz. So why ever bother with the additional technical hurdles that come with clawhammering a waltz?
Each time I do so, I’m reminded of the answer to the question. It’s the tone.
In our prototypical even-beats-per-measure clawhammer tune, that beguiling clawhammer pulse hogs the attention. In its absence, the special and unique tone that you only can get from a down-picked banjo jumps to center stage.
(RELATED: The tab-walkthrough for this tune is now available in the Breakthrough Banjo workshop archives. Click here to learn more about the tab-walkthrough videos).
“THE COWBOY WALTZ”
gCGCD tuning, Brainjo level 3-4
Notes on the Tab
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
(RELATED: Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.)
Click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault