The banjo claw hammer is a particular way of playing the 5-chord banjo; it differs from the technique used for bluegrass music. Only the right thumb is used for the upbeat, while another right hand finger, from a closed hand, is used for the downbeat. Found mainly in old-time American music, this technique can be applied to other musical styles. Ideal for accompanying yourself while singing or playing melodies, it can be as powerful as it is delicate.
The banjo claw hammer can be learned by everyone. No music theory or music reading is necessary. Most of the learning will take place orally. It will mainly involve listening and reproducing the sounds, with a minimum of written material. This is the quickest way to learn and remember songs, without any specific sheet music and tablatures, which, for most melodies, do not exist.
The claw hammer technique will be practiced with different tunings. It will be developed in all its aspects, in order for the student to be as polyvalent as possible, playing solo melodies or accompanying songs, using different rhythms (4/4, 3/4, 6/8), the drop thumb, the hammer on/pull off/slide…
The basic technique will be taught individually, in 30-minute long classes. Students will learn the repertoire and further techniques in small groups of 2 or 3 same-level individuals, during one-hour long sessions. Each student will be fully active during these classes.
NB: this technique cannot be taught on a four or six-chord banjo. The five-chord banjo is a must, because of the E-string presence. We can lend you a study banjo for the first class and advise you about where to obtain one.