When learning an instrument, it’s often difficult to know where to begin. Especially now with so much information out there. You have Youtube videos, online courses, banjo TAB libraries with thousands of songs. Let me help you out here and give you some great beginner clawhammer songs to start with. These are in no particular order.
Beginner Clawhammer Songlist
- Cripple Creek
- Bury Me Beneath The WIllow
- Sourwood Mountain
- Old Joe Clark
- Cumberland Gap
- Angeline The Baker (Key of D)
- Boil Them Cabbage Down
- The Crawdad Song
I tried to pick tunes that were mostly in standard tuning. Unfortunately, that is another thing to consider with beginner clawhammer songs. Many of them have you tuning your strings up or down. I think it’s better to hold off on that stuff until later in your banjo adventure!
Some of these tunes have lyrics and are usually sung. I find songs with lyrics are easier to remember, as you can hum (or sing) the tune as you play. Instrumentals are more difficult as you are not only learning where to put your fingers, but also trying to remember how the song goes in your musical mind.
The Crawdad Song is a good one that is typically a singing tune and not a banjo instrumental. Bury me Beneath the Willow is slow enough that it shouldn’t present too many challenges for the beginner student.
Short tunes like “Cumberland Gap” and “Cindy” are easy clawhammer banjo songs that are great to start with. They only consists of a few measures and are easy to remember.
Want more clawhammer banjo songs for beginners?
Some of the songs above plus more are available in my latest Beginner Clawhammer Banjo Songbook. You can find it in my store or on my Etsy page.
You can view the entire playlist of songs found in my book on YouTube
Lastly, if you need private one on one instruction in clawhammer banjo, feel free to contact me. I am here to help!