Bluegrass Banjo for Beginners: 3 Finger Style vs. Clawhammer

In bluegrass banjo, the two main main playing types: 3-finger style and clawhammer design on the list of styles of banjo playing.

3-finger style may be the more widespread of these two variations and is characterized by its utilization of rolls–a series of rapid eighth notices played along with your right hand fingertips (index, midst, engagement ring) that produce a bubbling or going noise. This type is well-suitable for actively playing fast-paced bluegrass music.

Clawhammer fashion is more traditional and was really the initial way the banjo was played out before 3-finger style came along. In clawhammer design, your right-hand fingernails or toenails (not hands!) are employed to hit the strings in an up-selecting motion whilst your left-hand supplies the melody. This design is well-best for more slowly music or those with an even more relaxed feel.

Given that we’ve included the basic principles of every type, let’s take a good look at the way to perform 3-finger fashion.

A few-Finger Rolls: The Construction Prohibit of 3-Finger Type Banjo

If you wish to play 3-finger design bluegrass banjo, figuring out how to perform three-finger rolls is important. rolls are comprised of several eighth information (enjoyed on surpasses 2, 3, 4, and 1) and so are played out with your right hand fingers (list/midsection/ring). When these notices are played out in swift succession, they create a “moving” noise–hence their title!

Here’s how to perform a simple 3-finger roll…

1. Make use of right-hand list finger to pluck the string on overcome 2.

2. On surpass 3, make use of middle finger to pluck the string underneath the a single you merely plucked together with your list finger.

3. On beat 4, use your band finger to pluck the string beneath the one you only plucked along with your center finger.

4. Lastly, on surpass 1, use your right-hand list finger to pluck the string beneath the 1 you merely plucked with the band finger–after which commence back again at step 1!

Process this roll slowly in the beginning up until you get more comfortable with the the right time and movement then attempt obtaining the tempo till you can play it at full pace.


Learning to perform bluegrass banjo doesn’t have to be overwhelming–hopefully this beginner’s guide has revealed you merely how simple it can be! Whether you decide to learn 3-finger design or clawhammer style (or both!), we desire you luck on the music journey.

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