Learn to play the traditional music favorite “Shady Grove” using many of the techniques you’ve already learned. Steve shows you how to modify the bum-ditty pattern by just playing a single note instead of the brush stroke, and then he walks you through the melody of “Shady Grove” phrase by phrase, giving you a chance to play along with him as he goes. He also shows you how to add hammer-ons and pull-offs to the melody
So far you’ve been playing the bum-ditty clawhammer pattern with your thumb just playing the sixth string, but it can play other strings as well. In this lesson, you’ll learn to “migrate” your thumb to other strings, first with a version of “Shady Grove” in the key of A, where your thumb will play the fifth string (A), and then in G modal tuning (DGDGCD), a popular clawhammer guitar tuning that will not only make it easier to finger melodies but to use your thumb on different strings.
Learn how to play percussive slaps and left-hand filler taps. Using the version of “Shady Grove” in G modal tuning, Steve shows you a percussive slap that you can use in place of the brush in the bum-ditty pattern. Steve also shows you how to use a filler tap (a tap of a string with the left-hand) in the space between the “bum” and the “ditty” in the bum-ditty pattern, and where to use it in “Shady Grove.”
The old-time favorite “Cripple Creek” is one of the first tunes banjo players learn to play, and it makes a great clawhammer guitar tune as well. You’ll learn to play it in open-G tuning: DGDGBD. Steve shows you a slide and pull-off lick you’ll need to play “Cripple Creek” before walking you through a basic version of the melody. Once you’ve learned the melody Steve shows you a version with the thumb playing the third string and how to add a palm slap.
“Angeline the Baker” is one of the most popular tunes in traditional music. You’ll learn a version of the tune played clawhammer style in double-C tuning (CGCGCD). Steve walks you through his arrangement, showing you where to play the melody with open-string pull-offs and hammer-ons and where to play regular pull-offs and hammer-ons.
“Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss” is another old-time fiddle tune that sounds great played clawhammer style on the guitar. Like “Angeline the Baker” you’ll learn it in double-C tuning (CGCGCD). Steve takes it apart, phrase by phrase, showing you a few melodic options as he goes.
Stephen Foster’s beautiful melody “Hard Times” is a good tune to learn a form of clawhammer guitar that uses gentler strums, a sort of rake across numerous strings with the fingernail that produces a more chordal sound. Steve’s arrangement is in double-C tuning (CGCGCD) with some cool moving lines and chord voicings.
Learn to play the old-time ballad “Little Sadie” in G modal or “mountain modal” tuning (DGDGCD). Steve shows you the basic melody before showing you how to “bum-dittify” the tune, which just has one part. He also shows you a few things to spice up your arrangement, including playing different strings with your thumb, adding percussive slaps, and a cool octave bass lick.
Steve’s arrangement of the traditional song “Reuben’s Train” is in open-D tuning (DADF#AD) and includes a lot of great clawhammer techniques. In addition to the basic melody of both parts, you’ll learn a few simple embellishments and variations you can add, like open-string pull-offs and percussive slaps.
In this second lesson on playing “Reuben’s Train,” Steve adds a number of variations, including one that sounds a lot like the great clawhammer banjo player Wade Ward’s tune “Peach Bottom Creek.” He also introduces some new techniques. You’ll learn “clawmonics” (in which you play the melody with 12th-fret harmonics), how to use a slide on the ring finger of your fretting hand, and more.
Learn the old-time banjo favorite “Cluck Old Hen” in double dropped-D tuning, in which you drop both E strings down to D (DADGBD). In addition to a basic arrangement of the tune, Steve shows you how to spice it up with clawmonics, double stops, harmony lines, and open-string pull-offs.
The American folk classic “Home Sweet Home” sounds great played clawhammer style in open-G tuning. You’ll learn a basic version as well as a variation on the second part that uses barre chords.
“Old Joe Clark” is a popular old-time and bluegrass tune. In this lesson you’ll learn an unusual Texas-style version of “Old Joe Clark” that comes from fiddler Howard Rains. Steve’s arrangement is in open-G tuning, and after playing it through a few times he breaks down the melody of both parts, showing you a few variations as he goes. He also shows you how you can move the thumb up to the top strings to give it a lighter, gentler sound.
There are a few different versions of the old-time fiddle tune “Brushy Fork of John’s Creek.” Steve’s version is in Orkney tuning (CGDGCD), which is like G modal tuning, but with the low D string tuned down to C.
The minor-key four-part tune “Falls of Richmond” comes from fiddler Edden Hammonds. Steve plays it in DADGAD tuning.