Make YOUR Music
(what it is)
ClawJam fingerpicks are a patent pending design that enables you to play Upstroke (3 finger "Scruggs" or guitar styles) and Downstroke (clawhammer or frailing styles) with the same pick…. with no need to change it around on your finger. Dual conjoined blades make it easy to smoothly transition between styles within the same song, or even the same measure of a song! Strumming and flat-picking styles are also possible…without any adjustments to the pick or how it is worn.
"The ThumbClaw" thumbpick is designed to be used in conjunction with the fingerpicks to enable down (or up) picking with the blade. More importantly, the blade is offset to allow the fleshy part of the thumb to be exposed enough to come in contact with the strings for clawhammer and frailing styles. This is accomplished by simply angling the thumb slightly.
These picks were designed primarily with the banjo in mind, but also work well for guitar, dobro, pedal steel, or any other stringed instruments where finger and/or thumb picks are desired.
(what it’s for)
While these picks may of course be used and enjoyed by musicians who play exclusively in one style or another….. the intent of the design is to liberate you to be able to play in any style you wish within the same song…… Creating your own styles and musical versions of songs…… Utilizing enhanced musical dynamics with your instrument for your tunes….and Maximizing your creativity and enjoyment for the music YOU make.
ClawJam picks are like the swiss army knife of picks. A combination of all the tools you’d want to create a full sonic arsenal with your playing. You might prefer your old favorite pick(s) or thimbles for a singular style of playing, but you will not find anything, anywhere, that offers this much variety and versatility in a single pick.
Singing players will find these especially useful, as they enable you to vary your picking/ strumming style to accommodate and enhance your vocal performance.
As a newbie to the banjo, I encountered a lot of the same frustrations that other beginning players have, particularly when it comes to singing while playing the banjo. Also, what type of picks to use for different styles, and even the need to “choose a style”….most people seem to choose either “Scruggs” or “Old-time/ Clawhammer”…..these are even divided into separate categories in most cases. While I understand the reasons for doing so, this didn’t really work for me. I enjoy many styles and didn’t really want to have to separate them. I like learning to play the traditional styles, but I also want to use the banjo for a variety of non-traditional styles of music while utilizing a variety of techniques.
I enjoy finger picking, but I also like the down-stroke style, and I find that I often want to do both within the same song to get the most musical result. For example, playing a lead break or melody section in the 3 finger style then switching over to clawhammer or strum style to back up the singing or a fiddle break. While I could do this to some degree with bare fingers, (I can’t keep fingernails and fake nails aren’t an option), picks sounded so much brighter and clearer and enabled more speed and precision. I just couldn’t find anything that worked well for both simultaneously.
So necessity is once again the Mother of Invention. Speaking of mothers….mine just happens to be a silversmith. So I drew up a sketch of what I wanted and she made one for me out of sterling silver. Thanks Mom!! I asked her to show me how to make them myself, and I started making different prototypes. Silver was too expensive to experiment with, so I started experimenting with a variety of metals. Personally I like the stainless steel for it's strength and longevity, but each metal has it's pro's and con's, so it really comes down to personal taste. I am going to add a FAQ sheet to give my opinions on the different metals.
(how it’s made)
ClawJam picks are hand crafted in my barn in Pungo, VA. from high quality 304 stainless steel, with a finished thickness of approximately .022. I also make them in nickel silver, brass and copper.
Originally hand sawn, the picks are now laser cut from a sheet, then deburred, burnished, etched, stamped, filed, bent, shaped, heat-blued (stainless only) and polished by hand. The "blueing" makes them even more unique....no 2 look exactly alike. The stainless also now come in a regular shiny "silver" as well.
I also make regular single bladed fingerpicks for bluegrass pickers, so if you’d like single bladed fingerpicks made out of stainless steel in the style band that I make you can order that as well. If you desire something custom, send an email and we can discuss….I may be able to accommodate.
(what's it sound like?)
On the videos page are some musical ideas I’ve tried thus far, but the main idea is for YOU to create, experiment, and HAVE FUN with it. I believe it’s important that musicians….young players especially….are encouraged and helped to realize that there are no restrictions on how you can play an instrument…and no limitations on the music that you can create. It’s great to learn from your heroes in the styles that they play….but then create your own style! That’s what they did!! Learn from traditions, but keep music moving forward. Learn the rules…..then break them....Make YOUR Music!