Play Better Banjo is dedicated to clawhammer banjo and the pursuit of happiness.

The site is an online labour of love where I strive to offer the friendliest and most practical online instruction for clawhammer banjo in the world.

The courses, lesson videos, tablature, and free resources are carefully designed to inspire, educate, and empower clawhammer players of all skill levels.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player and whether you have a casual interest or a serious passion, you’re sure to find something to your banjo liking while you’re visiting. There’s a ton of free lessons and resources and some paid products, as well…and they come in a variety of formats:



The courses last anywhere from five days to a couple of months. Depending on which course you’ve enrolled in you’ll experience a variety of teaching tools and study aids including:

  • Clear and well-lit instructional videos shot in HD
  • Tablature
  • Play along tracks
  • Fretboard diagrams
  • Chord charts
  • Practice tips, and more.

There’s a free, seven-step course for the complete beginner that has no musical or banjo experience whatsoever. It’s called the Beginner Clawhammer Crash Course.

The next step up is Clawhammer 101. The 101 course teaches you four classic tunes and all of the essential techniques of the clawhammer style.

That’s really just the beginning.  I’m always creating new courses with a variety of focuses and adding them to the site.


Lesson Packs

The lesson packs are designed to boost your repertoire while, at the same time, expanding your knowledge of arrangement and accompaniment strategies. Each lesson pack teaches you two distinctively different versions of five essential tunes. So, at the conclusion of each lesson pack, not only have you learned five new tunes but you’re also more equipped to adapt the proper playing style to the particular context of a performance in any given situation.

Each lesson pack includes:

  • Clear and well-lit instructional videos shot in HD
  • Tablature


So, Anyway

It is my hope that this site will help me to connect and work with a great number of banjo enthusiasts from all around the world. Please enjoy the humble offerings herein and, if you’re so inclined, drop me a line to let me know what you think.

Also, if you’re learning to play banjo and you have any questions, please send an email:

I’ll be glad to hear from you!

Who’s Ryan Spearman?

I’m a professional folk musician, educator, and promoter from St. Louis, MO.

I’m an instructor at The Folk School of St. Louis where–for the last five years– I’ve taught classes covering several traditional musical subjects including, clawhammer banjo, old time & bluegrass fiddle, country blues, guitar, jug band, improvisation, music theory, & folk ensemble performance.

When I’m not teaching online or at the Folk School, I’m busy performingrecording, lecturing and touring the United States and Europe.

You can check out my website at for more about me, my music, and my many projects.