These free clawhammer banjo tabs are written out in the simplest possible way. Like “normal” tab, the five horizontal lines represent the five strings of your banjo. The numbers on the lines represent the fret that you play on that string.
What’s not so “normal,” is that I have not included the rhythmic clawhammer stroke as part of the tab. What you have here is only the naked melody.
If you already have the basic clawhammer banjo rhythm nailed down, you know that it sounds like “bum dit-ty,” or “claw-ham-mer.” The “bum” or “claw” is the melody, the “dit” or “ham” is the rhythmic brush stroke, and the “ty” or “mer” is your fifth string played with your thumb.
As you look at one of my free clawhammer tabs, you’ll see the melody is written out for you in only two ways. 1) If you see a melody note with a single vertical line attached above or below the note, that is a quarter note, and is the “bum” or “claw” of the basic clawhammer banjo stroke. After this note, you’d play the rest of the clawhammer stroke (“dit-ty” or “ham-mer.”) 2) When you see two notes connected with lines, those are each eighth notes, and you play those with no rhythmic clawhammer stroke.
Here’s me teaching the clawhammer stroke.
To truly understand the clawhammer style, may I suggest my book, Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus.” Like the title suggests, this is book for beginners, and has taught thousands of beginners to play clawhammer style banjo. In fact, I personally guarantee it will help you. If you don’t like it or don’t learn anything from it, I’ll send you your money back. Just tell me how much you paid for it. How’s that?