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Clawhammer Banjo: Right-Hand Basics

Clawhammer banjo combines melody and rhythm in a way that makes people want to get up and dance. This playing style sounds unlike anything else in American music! The exact origin of the word [more…]

First Tips for Clawhammer Banjo

After you've found a good hand position, try a few exercises to get used to striking the strings in the clawhammer style. Clawhammer is very much an individualized approach to banjo playing. Even the best [more…]

Lead Playing Banjo in a Jam Session

Lead playing on your banjo has to do with those times when you're the center of attention in your band or during a jam session. If you're playing a well-known banjo instrumental like “Cripple Creek” or [more…]

4 Clawhammer Banjo Right-Hand Exercises

You can work up to playing the basic clawhammer strum by first getting comfortable striking individual notes. For the exercises here, use the right-hand index finger for playing melody notes [more…]

What is Bluegrass Banjo?

Bluegrass-style banjo originated with the innovations of Earl Scruggs, who burst upon the national scene in the mid-1940s. The bluegrass style is characterized by a flurry of fast, brilliant-sounding notes [more…]

How to Choose Banjo Thumbpicks

Bluegrass banjo players use metal fingerpicks on their right-hand index and middle fingers and a plastic thumbpick on their thumb. Initially, you may find that getting used to the feel of these picks is [more…]

How to Choose Banjo Fingerpicks

Like thumbpicks for banjo playing, metal fingerpicksconsist of a blade-shaped striking surface joined to a collar that holds the fingerpick around the end of the finger. You want to fit the picks on your [more…]

Get Set to Play Bluegrass Banjo

One of the main reasons people love bluegrass banjo music is that it's so incredibly fast and loud. In order to play at those tempos that approach the speed of sound, you need to find a right-hand position [more…]

How to Play the Banjo in D Tuning

The banjo classic “Coal Creek March” is usually played in D tuning, where the banjo is tuned to the pitches of a D major chord. This tuning is also used by bluegrass players, so it's definitely worth checking [more…]


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