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April 16, 2022


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John Steele

Roy Clark used the melody in a nice mash-up with the Bo Diddley beat.


Clawhammer is a strumming technique, not a ukulele: McCartney and James Taylor use it alot (see, e.g. Blackbird).

WHere are Peter Paul and Mary?

Molly Tuttle fan

Phrases like "clawhammer banjo," "clawhammer ukelele," or "clawhammer guitar" are perfectly cromulent.


Yes, because all of these stringed instruments can be strummed using that technique.

Lubet stated above: "I never knew there was such a thing as clawhammer ukulele."

There isn't. There is no such thing as a "clawhammer ukelule."

And, saying so is perfectly cromulent.


More cromulent,

"According to a 1968 Paul McCartney interview with Radio Luxembourg, it was during this time that Donovan taught Lennon and McCartney finger-picking guitar styles including the clawhammer ..."

"While in India, the Beatles jammed on acoustic guitars, and Lennon and McCartney adopted the clawhammer style of finger-picking they were shown by British folk singer Donovan to craft new songs such as “Julia” and “Blackbird.”"
Chicago Tribune, NOV 16, 2018.

If one doesn't know, why argue?

Molly Tuttle fan

Lubet did not state, "I never knew there was such a thing as *a* clawhammer ukulele." That would have been wrong, for sure. But that's not what he said.

Rather, Lubet cromulently stated: "I never knew there was such a thing as clawhammer ukulele." Which is as cromulent as "I've always enjoyed clawhammer banjo," or "I never knew there was such a thing as clawhammer guitar until I saw a Molly Tuttle video," etc.


IF one knew what "clawhammer" means, one would have, by reason of this knowledge, never have marveled that one can use the clawhammer style to play a ukulele (or act like "clawhammer ukulele" is a thing).

The clawhammer style is used to play the guitar or banjo or ukulele or other stringed instruments. This strumming technique is not referable to the INSTRUMENT played, but to the style of playing it.

When you hear "Blackbird" by the Beatles, do you marvel that there is such a thing as "clawhammer guitar"?

Of course, one can play a banjo, guitar, ukulele, or perhaps even a lyre, using this STYLE OF PLAYING.

I'd hate to go there, but, I also believe that your grammatical construction of the phrase "clawhammer ukulele" is not cromulent.

The adjective is used to modify the noun "ukulele." That construction isn't cromulent, because "clawhammer" refers to the action of playing the ukulele. One would needed to have said, "I never knew there was such a thing as clawhammer ukulele playing."

I didn't know "clawhammer ukulele" is a thing is no more correct than saying "I didn't know that playing a ukulele is a thing."


Suspending my rule for the sake of curious (or confused) readers:

Not all picking styles can be used on all stringed instruments, some are unique to a particular instrument. There is no Scruggs picking mandolin or Carter Family picking banjo, for example. Clawhammer banjo is a well-known technique, about which I have posted before.

I am not embarrassed to say that I was unaware of clawhammer ukulele, which is pretty unusual. Note that the heading on the clip itself is "clawhammer ukulele," obviously referring to the picking style, as was I, which Molly Tuttle Fan obviously understood.

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