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February 12, 2009



Please do not forget to mention Clarence Ashley. I first saw this clip in the documentary "Desperate Man Blues" the story of Joe Bussard. Clawhammer style is such a amazing sound.


Clawhammer, yes!! Richie Stearns got me hooked on clawhammer in the 80's.

st vincent

Cool stuff, Stranger!

You might also want to check out R.D. Lunceford:


And another amazing banjoist, Morgan Sexton, sadly departed:

I'm a fledgling fingerstyle guitarist, self-taught until I started lessons last fall... I had it pointed out to me that I my right had does a weird mutation of clawhammer/frailing. I am now learning to do it "the right way" as a proper fingerstyle player, but I will still keep my mutant clawhammer style in my bag of tricks.

Great post! Thanks!!!

John L

Is this the same Al Tharp that's in Beausoleil? (Who was the guy in the band who died awhile back?) And I guess that's a typo spelling it Tharpe?


Thanks for the comments and feedback-that clip of Clarence Ashley playing "Cukoo Bird" is THE reason that I got a banjo and decide to learn clawhammer. Richie Stearns is amazing-that's a wicked version of "Leather Britches." Indeed Al was the bass player in Beausoleil-I'm not sure if they have a new guy now or not but you can see him with James Leva in a band called Purgatory Mountain. There's a few clips of Al with them on YouTube.


Here is another example of some classic clawhammer banjo playing by Uncle John Scruggs in the 1920s outside of Richmond, Virginny:

Goyim in the AM

Here is a well-known frailer, doing clawhammer style:

Al Tharp

Yup it's the same Al Tharp.. I'm my own best alibi!

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