5 Best Clawhammer Banjo Books

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Are you hoping to find the best clawhammer banjo books available today? Want to take your clawhammer banjo journey to the next level?

While there are plenty of resources out there for learning the 5-string banjo, it’s sometimes trickier to find great books for clawhammer-style banjo. Although the clawhammer banjo style is a bit older than the 5-string style made popular by Earl Scruggs, there seem to be fewer learning materials out there for it.

Fortunately, we’re here to aid you in your search. In this article, we’ve listed the 5 best clawhammer banjo books for beginners as well as more experienced players.

Top Clawhammer Instruction Books – Quick View

Clawhammer Style BanjoCheck Price on Amazon
Clawhammer Banjo Primer Book for Beginners (w/ DVD)Check Price on Amazon
Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus 40th Anniversary EditionCheck Price on Amazon
Melodic Clawhammer Banjo: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Clawhammer BanjoCheck Price on Amazon
Clawhammer Banjo: Tunes, Tips & JammingCheck Price on Amazon

Best Clawhammer Banjo Books – REVIEWED

If you can’t wait to start learning the clawhammer banjo, read on. Here are our favorite clawhammer banjo books.

1. Clawhammer Style Banjo

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Best Clawhammer Banjo Book For Beginners

The first book on our list is Clawhammer Style Banjo by Ken Perlman. This is a great book for beginner clawhammer players, but more advanced banjoists will find a lot to love as well. Ken Perlman has done a great job with this book, and this is one of the most comprehensive books on clawhammer banjo out there.

The book is mapped out in an easy-to-follow way and is great for newbies to the instrument. In this guide, Ken Perlman covers all of the essential techniques of clawhammer banjo. This includes right and left-hand positioning, brush techniques, strumming, pull-offs, and sliding. More experienced players will be happy to learn about double thumbing, harmonics, improvisation, and other more involved techniques and skills.

This book is a great option for players and features over 40 different banjo tunes to learn and practice. The banjo book will help you build your skills quickly, and you’ll be playing short tunes after only a few exercises.

2. Clawhammer Banjo Primer Book for Beginners (w/ DVD)

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Clawhammer Banjo Primer Book For Beginners

The Clawhammer Banjo Primer Book is another great option for beginners and includes video and audio instruction as well. If you want the full course on learning the clawhammer banjo, this instruction book will give you all that you need.

Banjo players already experienced with the 5-string banjo will learn a lot in this book, but it’s also a great fit for complete beginners as well. Plenty of techniques are covered in this banjo book including strumming, hammer-ons, pull-offs, reading banjo tablature, and more.

This book is filled with great songs to learn including favorites such as Cripple Creek and Old Joe Clark.

3. Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus 40th Anniversary Edition

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Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus

Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus is another great clawhammer instruction book and is completely meant for beginner players. Beginners to the clawhammer banjo won’t have trouble following the clear and concise instructions that are in this book.

The original version of the instruction was written in 1973 and is one of the most popular clawhammer banjo books of all time. Now released in a 40th Anniversary Edition, this instruction book has spiral binding and has been updated and improved considerably.

The book teaches you how to play 31 old-time classics including Buffalo Gals, Cluck Old Hen, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Cripple Creek, Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Shady Grove, Wild Bill Jones, and many more.

4. Melodic Clawhammer Banjo: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Clawhammer Banjo

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Melodic Clawhammer Banjo Instruction Book

Another instruction book by Ken Perlman, Melodic Clawhammer Banjo takes a slightly different approach and focuses on the modern melodic clawhammer banjo style. Beginners will learn to play melodic clawhammer banjo using 50 different tunes that have become favorites over the years.

This book contains arrangements from some notable contemporary players and has information about both basic and more advanced skills. You’ll learn to play all kinds of tunes including fiddle tunes, New England hornpipes, Irish jigs, and a lot more. The clawhammer banjo book has more than 70 illustrations along with plenty of photos and historical notes.

5. Clawhammer Banjo: Tunes, Tips & Jamming

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Good Clawhammer Banjo Instruction Books

Clawhammer Banjo: Tunes, Tips, & Jamming is a comprehensive guide that will serve beginners, intermediate, and experienced players well. The instruction book features 44 old-time banjo tunes for beginners to play and plenty of techniques are covered as well. Those who want to learn how to improvise will learn quite a bit with this book.

Some of the well-known tunes covered in this clawhammer banjo instruction book include Barlow Knife, Cumberland Gap, Leather Britches, Shady Grove, Soldier’s Joy, Texas Gals, and Whiskey Before Breakfast. Also worth noting is that this book comes with an instructional CD as well.

Final Thoughts

If you want to learn the clawhammer banjo, then it’s important that you take a close look at the best clawhammer banjo books that we’ve listed above. A great clawhammer banjo lesson book can speed up your progress and make your journey of learning the style a much simpler and easier one.

Want to find a great set of strings to use with your clawhammer banjo? Check out our list of great clawhammer strings now.