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Is Clawhammer Easier Than Bluegrass?

Are you thinking of learning to play the banjo? There are currently two most prominent styles of Banjo playing. The first one is Clawhammer, and the next one is Bluegrass. But which one should you learn first, and which one is comparatively easier to play as a newbie? This question may come to your mind, right?

Answering the question is not impossible but a bit difficult as it reckons on a person’s interest, patience, & confidence. Throughout the context, we have provided definitions of both of them & then explained which one is easier to play. You can check out the write-up if you are looking for an exact answer regarding the query.

Definitions of Clawhammer & Bluegrass

Before discovering the easier one, the individual definition of them should be perceived first. Let’s be familiar with that.

Bluegrass Banjo

Bluegrass Banjo was invented by Earl Scruggs [1924-2012], who was an American Musician. In December 1945, on the Grand Ole Opry [a weekly American country music stage concert], when he joined the musical group “Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys, “he first displayed the Bluegrass Banjo. Earl’s playing style was influenced by his brother Junie Scruggs and & several older players such as Hammett, Mack Wool, and Snuffy Jenkins. After that, he used ideas that he gathered from the more senior players and created his own faster and smooth style name, Scruggs Style.

The fundamental concept behind the style is that a song’s melody is played as part of a notes’ series called  “Rolls.” The maximum number of rolls comes with either eight notes or four notes. The best & exciting part of Scruggs Style is the vast number of notes that come from the banjo.


The is also called old- banjo that has roots in West Africa. Joel Sweeney is the very first person who has played the banjo on the stage. He is the person who learned the clawhammer banjo styles from African-American slaves.  However, the picking direction of the clawhammer makes it different from the other banjo that is played with down picking styles. Generally, this banjo style is played in old-time music, where Scruggs style banjo is played in bluegrass music.

Is Clawhammer Easier Than Bluegrass

The two most common questions that we are often asked by many newbies are: Which style of banjo should I learn first, and which one is relatively easier to play? Our answer is “it depends on” that we have already said above. Basically, it relies on how much time you can spend on practicing and the eminence of your practice session.

Truth be told, if you are highly enthusiastic about learning the instrument, this question is entirely inappropriate. Keep in mind that every instrument comes up with characteristics and quirks; comparing to one another is somewhat embarrassing. So, if you are supposed to play this instrument, make sure that how much dedication  & practice you can put into the learning.

But, regarding the query, we can suggest something to comprehend which one will be comfortable for you to learn. You can go to YouTube, check out some channels, or attend some musical events to sort out which style attracts you and drives you on an emotional level. Then decide which style will be effortless for you to learn.

Most Effective Tips for Banjo Beginners

Banjo is a kind of instrument that attracts almost everyone, even in a low mode. Many people intend to learn banjo, but from where they should start and what tips should be followed, they don’t know. In this segment, we have discussed something that should be focused on by new learners.

1.  Listen To Music

This is the initial step that beginners should follow. Download or listen to music from YouTube or other sources that are played on Banjo. Listen as much as you can at any time when you are working, walking, or doing exercise. You can listen to banjo music as much as you can and never touch any notes until you can tootle or hum the tune you desire.

2.  Start With Simple Notes

If you don’t want to kill your interest in Banjo learning, start with the simple notes. Beginning with s can destroy your excitement. On top of that, never attempt to play fast until you attain a technique ultimately. To become a master of a specific technique, you should acquaint yourself with the device initially and plan to kick off from the natural cords and notes.

3.  Follow The Appropriate Posture

Observing the correct posture is one of the most vital things for newbies. First, learn to grip the banjo, even before you play it. For instance, when we start computer typing, placing fingers on the keyboard should be appropriate, right? In the same way, playing banjo requires the proper position of your wrist.

When you begin learning, it seems not so important to properly place your wrist, but the wrong wrist will make you tired over time. We recommend learners know the exact position of their wrist and hand from the date to start learning a banjo.

4.  Timing & Pressure

When beginners start learning Banjo, they feel that the notes don’t confer that intended sound like other string musical instruments. Because of that, a significant portion of people lose hope of playing the instrument properly. Why happens that should be identified first? Usually, banjo doesn’t produce sound due to less pressure and simultaneously releasing the string too early. To get rid of the problem, you need to put more pressure on the string.

5.  Set a Target & Interact With Other Banjo Player

Spend some time regularly or weekly to learn and practice the instrument. Besides, set a  goal and date to help you comprehend your progress after a certain period. In addition, try to meet professional banjo players & get tips from them as they are experienced.

Final Verdict

So we are at the end of the article where we need to clear something. To be honest, learning both Bluegrass and Clawhammer Banjo style is not as complicated as you think. But you have to know the proper approach that will be convenient for you. The basic level is similar mainly as they both furnish the melody with either an easy roll or clawhammer lick. It is true that focusing on a single style is better, but not bad if you can continue with more than one, isn’t it?

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