Banjo teachers at the Asheville Music School can teach either bluegrass 3-finger picking style or clawhammer (aka frailing or old-time style). The 3 finger style, a la Earl Scruggs, is a common style heard in modern bluegrass music. Although it’s referred to as ‘Bluegrass Banjo’, this is the main technique that most banjo players use to play other styles of music as well (e.g. Bela Fleck). We can learn how to play any style you are interested in: bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, classical, etc.
Clawhammer players usually play a banjo with an open back (no resonator) and sometimes a scooped neck (no frets close to the banjo head). You’ll see their right hand bouncing up and down a lot, instead of staying put on the banjo head like a 3-finger bluegrass player. They are strumming down on the strings with the back of their fingernail, then picking up on the 5th string with their thumb. To learn clawhammer banjo we usually start with the basics of this right hand ‘frailing’ technique along with some basic old-time melodies and easy chords.
Click the teacher links below to learn more about our Banjo faculty.