Today's workshop was extraordinary. Not just the material, but the pedagogy! You are a master at making the most of the technology, from the camera angles, to the lighting, to the use of both ear training and tab. Well done!” - Scott Clemons


- Pre-workshop package (videos, tab) to make sure you are up to speed with the techniques that you will need for this workshop.  As well as a tune arrangement which is referred back to in the workshop to put each technique into context. 

- access to video of the Zoom workshop exactly as it went down live on Jan. 10/2021

- a 20-page written overview of the topic (including tab examples)

- Video examples of everything that is tabbed out. 


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"Dirty Tricks Workshop"
  • "Dirty Tricks Workshop"

"Dirty Tricks Workshop"

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Please note that prices are in USD. If for whatever reason you can't afford the workshop, but would like to take it, email me and we'll find a way to make it work.

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Who doesn’t want to add a few dirty tricks to their repertoire!?

In this workshop, we’ll look at 3 techniques that are a bit unconventional, but that are integral to my style of playing clawhammer banjo.  I think you’ll find them useful tools to have in your back pocket! We’ll use a common tune (which you will learn before the workshop) as a vehicle to show how you might apply each of these techniques practically.  


Strummy-strum is a silly name that I’ve given to the technique of breaking away from the clawhammer stroke and stumming the banjo. Think of it as temporarily becoming a tenor banjo player (the way a Dixieland player strums the banjo). It’s a technique that I first became aware of from hearing Bob Carlin do it on some of the later John Hartford albums. My friends, and great Toronto-based banjo players, Arnie Naiman and Frank Evans artfully incorporated it into their playing and I followed suit. It’s become a big part of my style, especially when playing with The Lonesome Ace Stringband.

- Increases my dynamic range
- Allows me to play on songs with time feels that are hard to pull off convincingly with clawhammer
- Allows me to emulate a guitar, as well as, a banjo-uke or mandolin
- adds a very unique element that can be (with practice) applied to moments in your tune playing

I’ll show you how it works as a “stand-alone” technique as well as how it can be something that you can access at any time during your regular clawhammer playing. We’ll look at how the right and left-hand work together, and hopefully, get you started on this very cool and exciting technique.


The name sort of speaks for itself! Adding bass lines can be a great way to add variation, musical tension, and moments of excitement to your playing. I’ll show you a basic overview of how bass lines work, and how they can be applied to clawhammer. Then, using drop thumb and rest beats, how you can make them FUNKY!


This is a name I gave to a ghost note (ASPO) lick that I use to make my playing (especially solo) much “bigger” sounding. Although you can use this lick in G tuning, it really shines in double C, and that’s where I use it the most. It’s a trick that allows me to get that low C string to “growl” over other phrases, in a sense letting the banjo back itself up. It’s super cool, and I look forward to showing you how to do it, and how you might apply it to your playing.


take a look at this video for examples of me using all these techniques.