Encyclopedia > Frailing

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Frailing is a way of playing the banjo also known as claw-hammer. To frail a banjo, hold the right hand with the middle finger bent stiff:
  1. Hit a string with the back of the middle fingernail, plucking it.
  2. Optionally, pluck a string with the thumb.
  3. Strum several strings with the back of the middle fingernail.
  4. Optionally, pluck a string (usually the 5th) with the thumb.

The result is melodic but can have a strong strummed rhythm which allows the frailed banjo to stand well as a solo instrument. The dynamic range of the instrument is quite good when played in this way.

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