Beginning Clawhammer Banjo

with Steve Arkin

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Beginning Clawhammer Banjo

  • Acoustic
  • Americana
  • Bluegrass
  • Instrumental
  • Old Time
  • School of Music class

Clawhammer (also known as frailing) style of playing banjo is the descendant of the earliest banjo technique. It’s the easiest banjo style to learn and the most fun to play. You will learn tuning, basic chords and the all-important right and left-hand techniques that clawhammer is based on. It’s an excellent introduction to the five string banjo and opens the door to playing traditional fiddle tunes, accompanying singers, and to many other musical genres.   Be sure to bring a 5 String Banjo, Capo, Digital Tuner, and a notebook or digital recorder.  A cell phone with a video capability would be very useful. Handouts will be provided.

Visit Steve’s band’s website here.

This class meets on Thursdays from 6:30-7:45pm on March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16.

Please note: The Passim School of Music is located at 26 Church St. Cambridge, MA. Classrooms are located on the third floor and, unfortunately, we do not have an elevator. 

Limited to 7 students (16 yrs of age or older); 3 students are required for class to meet. If a class is canceled due to low enrollment, you will receive a full refund.

Steve Arkin

Steve Arkin grew up in New York’s legendary Washington Square music scene, playing both old-time and bluegrass music in early bands with Jody Stecher, David Grisman, Maria Muldaur and other outstanding musicians. For several months In 1964, Steve played banjo with Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys (in James Rooney’s book, “Bossmen,” Monroe is quoted as saying, “Steve could play the best backup banjo I ever heard!”).  Since then, Steve has won numerous banjo contests and played in many bands, including nationally-known Northern Lights and the Virginia-based old-time band, Troublesome Creek, whose CD, “Fast as Time Can Take Me” on County Records received widespread critical acclaim. He plays clawhammer and his own brand of 3-finger style with equal facility, and he has taught both bluegrass and old-time banjo at a variety of music camps and festivals. Steve currently plays with New Cut Road, the featured band at the 2017 Rockbridge Mountain Music and Dance Festival.

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