Blind Pig & The Acorn 2012 In Review
Of Mountains, Mountain People, and Mountain Waters That Call Their Children Home

Appalachia Through My Eyes - Some Guitar Players Are Frammers

My life in appalachia guitar players who are framers

Did you know some guitar players are frammers? I didn't-until I overheard an elderly gentleman in Haywood County say the following:

Lots of people think they're guitar pickers and a lot of them can play but a lot of them are nothing but frammers. I mean they don't know how to really play a guitar.

I couldn't wait to look for the word frammer in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. The dictionary has 2 entries for fram:

  • fram verb to beat or strike. 1953 Wilson Folk Speech NC 548 = to whip, beat: "He frammed the old feller pretty good."
  • fram pole noun 1953 citation. 1952 Wilson Folk Speech NC 542-53 = a weapon; a stick or some other object with which to beat one. "Goin' a get me a fram-pole and beat you up."

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary states the word fram means to beat or whip and is of unknown origin. 

The gentleman I overheard used the word frammer to mean-a lot of people pretended to know how to play the guitar when they really don't.

I've heard the remark "he just beats on that ole guitar" more than a few times. After reading the definitions of fram I can see where one could jump from using beat in connection to playing a guitar to fram in connection to playing a guitar.

I've never heard frammer-fram-or fram pole used before have you? I like the word frammer-I can't wait to use it the next time I see someone acting like they're an expert at something they actually know nothing about.


Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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I used to play guitar well enough, but my approach to cooking might be something along the lines of framming. Hit or miss.

Tipper, this is one of your vocabulary words I have heard. Framming on a guitar is familiar to me. Never heard of a fram pole however.

Love it! Definitely a new word for me and can think of so many uses for it! I'm pretty much a frammer myself!

Never heard it-but know it when I see it!

Fram is my new favorite word, thanks for sharing!

OHHH, so that's what that was,, I knew there had to be a more PG rated name for it,,,

Been there, done that! Hopefully I've gotten better.

Here im Mississippi we say "frail"!
as in- somebody needs to take a frail-pole to that feller!!

I've know several frammers, not knowing that was the word for them.

Donna-me too : )

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

I often wondered when someone played the guiter like it had been bad and was now been punished was called that must be it.....FRAMMING

I've never heard of frammering
either. If frammering applied to
a piano, I'd probably be guilty.
I use to bang on one of those.
One thing for sure though, Paul
sure ain't no frammer. He's the
best guitar player I've ever heard...Ken

Yep! I've heard plenty of frammin' on a guitar. Mostly it means somebody who knows a few chords but not enough single notes like the alternating bass strings so s/he just plays the full chord for each of the beats in the measure. Obviously, this does not apply to any of your kin!
Frammin' a banjer is hard to do but some people manage to never progress enough to keep from it.

I've heerd the old rascal down the road aways complain of not gettin' any work. For the youngin' in the next holler always is tellin' the boss he frammed up a whole house by hisownself.
The other fram, I never heerd...
Thanks Tipper,
Put that'n in the margins of yore Smoky Mountain Anglish book!

Fram is a new word for me. Maybe it is a local use word. However, I am pronouncing it with a short a since it doesn't have a vowel at the word's end to make it long. I hope I am correct. Anyway, thanks for the new word - I am not a frammer, however.

Frams me. This makes me think of an old friend of mine, who was an immigrant from Italy. She would have said "I think to myself, what means this word fram?" Ya'll have a great day.

My husband is a guitar picker but has had some close friends who were absolutely frammers...and that's how we referred to them. They would get together and jam...they had a little band and various players would sit in at different times. I always looked forward to my husbands picking as oppposed to their framming. Marylou in Dover, Fla.

Great word. Tipper. I will try to add it to my vocabulary.

I had never heard the word until I met my sweet wife from upstate SC. I was teasing her once and she said she was going to fram the h#% out of me if didn't stop! I tease her from a distance now!

I have heard an old carpenter use fram. He used it like this {a piece would not go and he might tell his helper I'll hold it you fram the H--- out of it it'll get in then}. Some carpenter use hard words sometimes sorry.

"Frammer" and "fram pole" were both new words to me! Thanks for informing us! I'm sure, if we are honest, we can apply "frammer" to many things we do--pretending we really know how, but inside we fear our sham and supposed-expertise will be found out! This quotation from Henry Ford seems to go along quite well with frammer: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right."

Being one that goes to many music functions, I've heard a lot of frammering taking place, including myself. I am a pro at frammering right along with others. Never heard of this term before either, but I have certainly HEARD the action of it being commited!!!

Never heard that word used in any context. I have, however, seen it done.

I have heard frail in the context of banjo playing, meaning a style of hard strumming and little picking. But fram is new to me and a good one.

I confess. I'm a frammer.

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