Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fingerpicking technique primarily used by banjo players, but also by some guitarists.
  • n. Alternative spelling of claw hammer.

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Burn Through Bring Me My Queen City of Refuge The mix works, with Ms. Washburn's voice and plucky "clawhammer"-style banjo holding the center.

    This Is Not Your Usual Pop R

  • Martin honed his expertise of various banjo styles, such as "three-finger" picking, made famous by Scruggs, and "clawhammer" - also known as "frailing" - a style known for its syncopated rhythms and distinct melodic phrasing that employs the back of the fingernails to strike or strum the strings, and a thumb technique that alternates between the strings.

    NPR Topics: News

  • At the same time, Mr. Mainer heralded a distinct change from the drop-thumb style known as clawhammer .

    The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines - The Washington Post

  • I've been learning clawhammer, which is a much different left-hand pattern than anything I was used to from guitar.

    Ask MetaFilter

  • Martin is regarded by aficionados as a master of a complicated five-fingered playing style known as clawhammer, or frailing, in which the instrument's strings are pushed down by fingernails rather than pulled up with picks.

    Film | guardian.co.uk

  • The cut of the "clawhammer" dress-coat does not differ from that of to-day, but it was often of blue cloth with brass buttons; shirts were frilled, and waistcoats of gold-sprigged

    Mr. Punch`s history of modern England, Volume I -- 1841-1857

  • The banjo is played in the more rhythmic "clawhammer" style, which has a sound not dissimilar from a chicken clucking.

    Phawker

  • He prefers to use the "clawhammer" method of banjo playing.

    Marshall Independent

  • "clawhammer" blue broadcloth and gold buttons, and to which I shall have occasion to refer again.

    Reminiscences of a soldier of the Orphan brigade,

  • Mr. Martin, who learned banjo as a teenager by slowing down Earl Scruggs records, plays in two traditional picking methods, clawhammer and three-finger style.

    Banjo Player Walks Into a Nail Salon

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Clawhammer-style banjo playing is most commonly a 5-string open-back (sans resonator) playing style wherein the player sounds melody notes with a down-stroke of the right-hand index fingernail while the right-hand thumb rhythmically plucks the shorter 5th drone string after nearly every melody note. Left-hand noting consists of numerous hammer-ons and pull-offs that complement and facilitate this melodic style of playing. In more sparse and advanced forms, such as the round peak style, the right-hand thumb typically "drops" to play selected and occasional melody notes in what is known as drop-thumb playing or "picking". Some players use the right-hand third finger to note melody tones as well. This older playing style predates the up-picking 3-4 finger style made famous by Earl Scruggs and others who laid the foundation of modern Bluegrass banjo playing.

    October 12, 2009

  • Clawhammer-style banjo playing is most commonly a 5-string open-back (sans resonator) playing style wherein the player sounds melody notes with a down-stroke of the right-hand index fingernail while the right-hand thumb rhythmically plucks the shorter 5th drone string after nearly every melody note. Left-hand noting consists of numerous hammer-ons and pull-offs that complement and facilitate this melodic style of playing. In more sparse and advanced forms, such as the round peak style, the right-hand thumb typically "drops" to play selected and occasional melody notes in what is known as drop-thumb playing or "picking". Some players use the right-hand third finger to note melody tones as well. This older playing style predates the up-picking 3-4 finger style made famous by Earl Scruggs and others who laid the foundation of modern Bluegrass banjo playing. Clawhammer is NOT a 5-fingered picking style. Most players use only the fingernail of the right-hand index finger, and the right-hand thumb - thus, a 2-finger picking technique.

    October 12, 2009

  • “Among country and bluegrass musicians, Mr. Martin is regarded as a master of a difficult five-fingered playing style known as clawhammer or frailing, in which the instrument’s strings are pushed down by fingernails, rather than pulled up with picks.�?

    The New York Times, Jokes and Films Are Fun, but He Loves His Banjo, by Dave Itzkoff, February 1, 2009

    February 3, 2009