Dink's Song

December 7, 2013 10:39 AM

traditional American tune, played clawhammer style on the guitar.

So thanks to this excellent post, I discovered Dink's Song today and thought it sounded nice played clawhammer style. Tuning is open C, and the coda is a bit of John Fahey's Sunflower River Blues.

posted by gorbichov (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

That post was also the first time I'd heard of the song. I'd favourited it to listen to later, so it turned out that I listened to your version first. I know the first time you hear something kind of turns it into the definitive version. But in all honesty, having then gone back to the original post and listened to all the other versions, yours is my favourite. I just love the guitar. Thanks for this.
posted by billiebee at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2013

oh wow, that's super nice! thanks very much :)
posted by gorbichov at 3:09 PM on December 7, 2013

You're smashing it with the claw hammer. I'd happily pay money for these tunes.
posted by we are the music makers at 5:57 AM on December 8, 2013

thanks so much watmm - really great encouragement!
posted by gorbichov at 1:48 PM on December 8, 2013

Awesome, I love it. I've been trying to learn clawhammer banjo and ukulele in the last week or so (and I have a pretty messed up index fingernail to show for it). Never thought about clawhammer guitar, though. Really great sound!
posted by uncleozzy at 8:47 AM on December 10, 2013

thanks uncleozzy! I really learned this technique from Steve Baughman, who's a great guy and teacher (and player!). Steve also has a dvd out teaching clawhammer for guitar - full disclosure, I have no financial interest or anything, just really enjoy Steve's playing and teaching.
posted by gorbichov at 3:49 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Heard this on the Podcast and had to come here to rave. Brought tears to my eyes. Truly, truly beautiful.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:14 PM on December 10, 2013

man, so glad you all dig it!
posted by gorbichov at 7:44 PM on December 10, 2013

This is great. It makes me want to run to my guitar. The Sunflower River Blues coda is welcome as well--it has been my favorite John Fahey tune for a long time. It's the only one that I know how to play.

Do you have any quick tips for a fingerstyle guitar player trying to learn clawhammer?
posted by umbú at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2013

hi umbú, glad you like it! I think the biggest challenge for fingerstyle guitar players (myself included) is the right-hand mechanics required for clawhammer. (For the purposes of this brief explanation, I'll assume you're right handed! If not, reverse the terms!) The basic rhythm pattern (which is at the core of all of this clawhammer stuff) is a quarter note followed by two eighth notes - like "ONE TWO - AND THREE FOUR - AND" - also called the "bum-ditty." I know, a silly name, but the syllables sound out the rhythm. The trick is that your thumb only plays on the "ANDs", never on the downbeat, which is pretty much directly the opposite of many other fingerstyle techniques. Right hand position and "use" is pretty different too - the downbeats of the bum-ditty rhythm are played with the back of your index (or for some people, middle) fingernail. You really form your hand into a claw of sorts, with the fingers curled under, and the thumb landing on your low string with each downstroke (whether or not you actually play the low string, it's a good habit to get your thumb landing there each time). Lots of repetition trying to get that rhythm, along with the position of your right-hand, are really the foundation.

I absolutely can't take credit for that short explanation - it really comes directly from Steve Baughman, who has a bunch of youtube videos that give demos and even some basic instruction on how clawhammer works. Here's a good one. You can also check out beginning clawhammer banjo videos for some other ideas of how the right-hand technique works. Hope that description helps though, it's a super fun and surprisingly versatile way to play.
posted by gorbichov at 3:22 PM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, and you should absolutely not be afraid to use alternate tunings with clawhammer - sometimes it's absolutely necessary to make the song playable and sound cool!
posted by gorbichov at 3:23 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks, gorbichov. I'm determined to give it a try.
posted by umbú at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2013

Listening to such a piece... this is my idea of a good time. Thanks.
posted by nicolin at 11:18 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cheers, nicolin!
posted by gorbichov at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2013

Wow missed this. Sounds great.
That tuning with the low buzzy string, I just love that sound.
posted by chococat at 11:31 PM on December 23, 2013

thanks chococat! yeah, that low C on my small bodied acoustic is almost too floppy, but it's the "almost" part that makes it good, I think.
posted by gorbichov at 7:15 PM on December 27, 2013

and now, several months later, I realize that umbu teaches (or has taught) music and I feel like my explanation could read as a little patronizing. So, oops! sorry about that, umbu :)
posted by gorbichov at 11:33 AM on May 23, 2014

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