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Thread: clawhammer question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    9

    Default clawhammer question

    Has anyone experimented with different brands of strings to see how they affect clawhammer techniques, on 4-string or 8-string tenor uke?

    Would appreciate hearing any observations and suggestions from this very knowledgeable community.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Hi Seasidesal. Could you get a bit deeper on what you are looking for? I’m not sure I understand how different strings might change or impact my right hand technique while playing claw style. I recently restrung a tenor with Seaguar line I had from stringing open back banjos, and while the sound was a bit different from the old strings I don’t see how they changed my playing technique.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Sure, but I'm a beginner so I might not even know how to say what what I mean! And I know that the ultimate answer is to keep trying different strings until I find the right fit for me. But I am frequently amazed at how observant people are and how much I've learned even from the most casual comments, so I'll try to explain.

    I guess one thing is the way the fourth string responds to being snapped. I played one that felt tough and stiff, and I played another one that felt weak and fragile. Since there is infinity in between those two extremes, I just wondered what strings I might try next in this experiment. They both made dull thud sounds. I don't know what brands they were but they were both white.

    Another thing is the way the picked strings ring out (or don't) over the snapped string and the brushed strings. The sounds I make are very unbalanced. Probably operator error but you never know what others might have learned until you ask.

    I might try the Seaguar fix first so thanks for the idea. I just found a bunch in the fishing tackle collection that is embarrassingly larger than the ukulele collection right now. But the ukes are quickly catching up. Always about balance, right?

    Thank you for being willing to chat about this!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Hi Seasidesal,
    It may be different terminology or perhaps different technique, but I don't use a snapping motion on the g. I lift my thumb off the string as my arm move up into position to begin another down stroke. The string releasing from the fleshy part of my thumb as it lifts off is what rings the string.

    A brush stroke is lighter than striking a single string, and angled more across the plane of the fretboard. Striking a single string has more drive, is angled down into the head/soundboard and has a different sound from a brush due to the difference in the nature of the strokes.

    Let me know if that makes sense. I’m happy to clarify if needed. Also keep in mind this comes from how I play the banjo and is simply my own experience and method and not intended as a statement of authority.
    Last edited by bf_; 05-12-2019 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Yes, it does make a lot of sense, and sounds like the way to get good results from a little tweaking of my techniques. I'll pay attention to everything you mentioned while I'm practicing because I'm pretty sure it will make a difference. I might experiment with strings but not until AFTER working on these ideas.

    I'm excited to make some progress, thanks bf.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    339

    Default

    You could try raising the height of the 4th string. A small folded piece of paper over the saddle and in the nut slot will do the trick. A very small increase can make technique easier to achieve. Or a sliver of card under the saddle may work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    9

    Default

    I checked and my saddle is glued but the nut is free so I will try the paper trick, thanks Barrytone.

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