Clarence Ashley—“Cuckoo Bird”

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Clarence Ashley (1895-1967) sings while playing claw-hammer banjo with Doc Watson (1923-2012) on guitar.


 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
No, I'd like to learn if I had the time. My boys are pretty good. Here's one of them playing at a festival. My oldest, Josiah, is on the banjo and my second, Jacob is on the mandolin. Their friend Johnny is playing guitar.

 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
No, I'd like to learn if I had the time. My boys are pretty good. Here's one of them playing at a festival. My oldest, Josiah, is on the banjo and my second, Jacob is on the mandolin. Their friend Johnny is playing guitar.

They sound great! Thanks for sharing.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Yeah, they blow me away. It's amazing how fast a young person can learn to play if they have a desire to learn. We've never had to tell them to practice. We often have to tell them to give it a rest. I've always wanted to learn clawhammer. I really enjoy bluegrass but love the older Appalachian mountain music even more. But the nearest instructor is over an hour away. And with a wife, six kids, the church and seminary, it isn't as though I have a lot of time on my hands.
 
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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
If you've never played guitar clawhammer it's fairly easy but if you have played guitar it can be little more difficult...but not much. I picked it up watching youtube, I would record my playing and have people online offer criticism to improve my playing. I've gotten away from it but with this lockdown I play everyday again.

 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Sounds great. I'd be content to play at that level. What kind of banjo is that?
That one is an Old Time banjo made by Gold Tone. I sold it and now miss the frailing scoop in the neck, it allowed for that "cluck" sound and added a little something to the music. I can still hit the cluck but it comes and goes.


Now I use a an American made Goodtime banjo with throw back tuners. Open back of course.

Nothing beats a Lord's Day afternoon of frailing hymns on a banjo!
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Of course. I have recently been drooling over Pisgah Banjos out of Asheville, NC. They're works of art.


They look very nice and the price isn't bad at all. The little extras are nice, the tuners look like fricton pegs and the extra 5th string cappo spikes are a plus. As you probably know old time banjo has many different tunings so the spikes are handy. My Goodtime has one.

If you purchase one I'd love to see you post a vid.
 
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