Monthly Archives: September 2011

Ukulele Secret #10 Claw Hammer Triplet

Howdy folks,

I’ve been playing with this technique for a few weeks and thought I would share my progress and let you in on the secret. There is a prerequisite. You really need to be somewhat comfortable with basic claw hammer technique. But as you will see, and I would like some feedback on this, the technique is VERY similar to the mechanics of the common triplet STRUM.

So, my theory is.. if you are good at the triplet strum that is INDEX DOWN, THUMB DOWN, INDEX UP, and not that good at claw hammer, this might be a way to sneak into claw hammer technique. Kind of like a back door. Don’t know if that makes sense or not. But let’s continue


In the video I demonstrate the technique with a C F G ditty similar to Larry O’Gaff chords with a little A minor thrown in for a Swallowtail feel. I am not trying to play those melodies but just have fun with the progressions. I also use the ‘Pretty Up Your C F G‘ chord forms as an example of potential melody.


The technique is simple, but may be tricky.

Using the basic claw hammer technique, strike DOWN with the index finger. If you are striking the bottom string you can follow through to the body of the ukulele. In my case I am hitting the head of the banjo uke thus producing a percussion beat.

The thumb follows and lands to rest on the top string at the same time the index is striking. Basic claw hammer.

Next is the thumb pluck DOWN. It is important to leave your index finger where it landed after the first strike.

Now for the triplet finish. Pluck the same string UP with your index finger. And there you have it. The claw hammer triplet.

Getting a little deeper, you can use the index DOWN strike on inside strings as well. It takes a little more precision, meaning a little more practice, but you open up a lot of melodic possibilities. This is especially true when using the ‘Pretty Up Your C F G’ chord forms.


I have heard of this technique being used with banjo, maybe Celtic banjo. I am curious as to which songs can be learned with this technique. If anyone knows of any banjo or ukulele videos using this technique, please let me know. I am anxious to expand on this and see what others are doing.


Here’s the viddy..


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