Learn Clawhammer Banjo
Banjo Lessons for the Adult Beginner
by Josh 22 Comments
Earle Rowe says
Do you have cord charts? The basic ones you want use to learn?
I have chord charts as part of the video for this month (Chords in standard G tuning). But I think a downloadable PDF of them would be good too, eh? I’ll put something up soon. Thanks for the feedback.
You’re fast, I got it. Thanks for the chords. A couple of these are going to take awhile to train my carpel tunnel hand.
Sara Schley says
These are great! I was thinking a cord chart for each month would be helpful too – maybe on the overview page – with that monthly tutorial video and the links to all the Level 1 and Level 2 song versions 🙂
Glad you’re enjoying them, Sara! And thanks for the feedback. If you haven’t seen it yet, I have added a PDF chord chart for this month on the month one member page, just below the chords video (https://clawhammerbanjo.net/breakthrough-banjo-month-one/). I will continue to do this as we add more chords, etc.
Level 2 tutorials will be up for you very soon as well.
Mandy Mitchell says
Hi Josh, just having a go at Cripple Creek Level 2, having decided I prefer it to the drop thumb version, and am struggling with the notation in the tab in the 4th measure. I’ve got the hammer on from 4th string open string to 4th string 2nd fret, but it’s the next bit that has me flummoxed. It sounds okay if I just do a 4th string 2nd fret pull off, but I can see that it’s more than that in the tab. Please explain!
Sure thing, Mandy.
It looks more complicated than it is. You start that measure by hammering from the open 4th string to the 4th string, 2nd fret. Then you strum across the strings, and after the strum you pull off from the 4th string, 2nd fret back to the open 4th string.
In other words, you’re playing a bum ditty pattern with the picking hand, while the fretting hand is hammering onto and then pulling off the 4th string.
Let me know if that’s not clear.
Also, do feel free to experiment with the arrangement if you desire. As long as you’re letting your ears be your guide, you can’t go wrong. 🙂
Thanks Josh, I had a little go and understand it now. Thanks.
I am left handed, is it me or are the cords backwards. I have the banjo setup for left hand, the strings are the same as rights. But the carts seem backward. I love brainjo. I’ m a 67 yr old drummer. But always wanted to play the banjo. Thanks again Jeff Cave
Josh when u explained to Mandy above hammer on and pull off after the strum, does the fifth string get plucked same time as pull off of the fourth string ?
That’s right, you’re plucking the 5th string after that strum, and you’re also pulling off the 4th string with your fretting hand, which sounds the open string at the same time.
This will likely feel awkward at first, and if so, try first looping through that measure without doing the pull off on the 4th string. Just play it as strum-thumb stroke (ignoring the pull off). Once you can play it that way easily, then try adding the pull off. It’s much easier to learn each maneuver on its own, then combine them, than it is to try to learn both simultaneously.
Hi Josh – Where are the backing tracks? And When I go to one of the tabs it redirects me to some dropbox website and all I get is a blank page with a circle spinning around in a box that goes on forever. What am i doing wrong??? Thanks.
Hey Chuck! The Cripple Creek backing tracks are on the video playlist that you see on this page (if you click the arrow tab on the side of the video, it should pull up all the videos in the playlist). There are also more backing tracks available in the “jam player,” which you can access from the member home page (in the “supplemental materials” section). Usually the spinning circle of doom indicates a connectivity issue – try accessing it again at a different time and let me know if it still occurs.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks Josh – I found the backing tracks – Thanks!!! Unfortunately I still can’t access the tabs. I guess drop box doesn’t work for me 🙁
Josh, the slow speed video says moderate and I believe the tab is going moderate speed, but the music is the right slow speed.
On the level 2 arrangement sorry I left that out.
I have been working on “Cripple Creek”, “Long Journey Home” and “Will the Circle be Unbroken” for a while now, and seem to be a long way from playing at performance speed.
What is your expectation about how long I should remain at this level. The slow and moderate speeds are ok, but when I try performance speed, I’m not even close!
Do you have any suggestions for me?
Cripple Creek Level 2 (once figured out) is such a fun song to play! On this one, I can get the eighth notes just fine. On Long Journey Home Level 2, I am baffled by the rhythm. Strange, eh?
errr, are those 16th notes? My music lessons from so long ago are escaping me!
The backup track shows a sequence of chords. How should we use those chords. Are we supposed to be playing them, or what?
Hi: Having a terrible time with chords C Chord ring finger is tough also
G Chord. I started playing when I retired in 1992 only played a few months gave
up put the banjo away. Now 27 years later Bought a Deering Goodtime am enjoying it very much but Hands shake a lot takes me awhile to calm down a
little to play . Strings just love my mistakes
Last 45 years I have Called and Taught Western Square Dancing.
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