Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I noticed that as you play, at times your thumb sits on top of your index finger. I can't tell if you're playing strings with your thumb in that position or is it all index finger??

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No...all finger. The "Hammer Stroke"


Great! Thanks!...I've been trying to figure that out. Tough to see in videos. I'm trying to refine my stroke and not be so sloppy from typical clawhammer chord playing. This takes a lot more precision...thanks again!!

I remember reading long ago Tim discussing how he 'reinforces' his index finger hits with his thumb resting against his index finger (Tim can you find where you wrote about this a few years ago?) ...especially when hitting multiple notes in a row with his index finger.  This makes sense as a technique and may in fact be mentioned in one of the tutor instruction books.  But I'd also like to mention that not everyone does this.  Myself for instance (not that I'm any great example to follow) I always keep my index 'hitting finger' on its own, unsupported by the thumb when striking a note.  Not everyone holds or uses their fingers exactly the same way, especially since our hands are physically all slightly unique.

I don't know if this is what Tim does or not but your description (Strum) sounds like what I do when/if I back up someone on guitar.  I hold my thumb against my index finger as if I were holding a pick but instead, use my finger nail, down only....Alternating bass note with a chord.

Exactly...it seems like comfort and reinforcement....I can see why he does it. Every now and then it feels like my thumb gets lost, so it's always there and in tune (no pun intended) w/ the rest of the stroke...

Converse, in 1886, claimed that there are but 2 movements to Stroke Style banjo...the Hammer and the Combination. I have found this to be a truth 99% of the time. 

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