Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

After Cripple Creek

I have been practicing Ben’s finger picking exercises and for the last week been working on Cripple Creek. I am playing it at 75% speed with the Tefviewer.

What song would someone with more experiance say I should start to learn next? I am enjoying actually playing a song like Cripple Creek, but playing it over and over and over and over…(you get my drift) gets to be a bit much.

Thanks in advance to any and all responses.


I picked out She’ll be coming around the mountain. Not sure about some of the fingers used to pick certain strings at times…seems ackward. As in last note of measure 3 and first of measure 4. Would feel better using finger 1 and then 2…?? Maybe just me.

My second choice was She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain, as well. In fact, I went (not that one should follow my lead, just throwin’ it out there):

  1. Cripple Creek
  2. SBCAtM
  3. Rocky Top
  4. 9 Pound Hammer
  5. Old Joe Clark
  6. Dueling Banjos

— Begin quote from "ez2cy"

…As in last note of measure 3 and first of measure 4. Would feel better using finger 1 and then 2…?? Maybe just me.

— End quote

In the video, Ben plays it in the beginning with all of measure 3 using the thumb, and the beginning of measure 4 with the 1 finger. Then in his verbal instruction he uses and T,1,T,1,1 combo. In the PDF he writes something different. I take that to mean that there is no right way, and you should do whatever feels good.

By the way, welcome to the board! It’s good to have another banjo picker around here.

I have found that all of the songs in Ben’s collection of lessons has something valuable to teach in each one. So I would go through the basic lessons and pick a song that you like the sound of and learn that.

My second song was Rocky Top but I have to admit that it took me a year before I could play it somewhere close to speed and only now, at 16 months that I can make it more or less sound okay!

In Coming Round the Mountain, playing the four notes of measure 3 TITI (T= thumb, I= Index) would be the most conventional way of playing that measure with the C in measure 4 played with the index.

Now you could use your middle finger to play that C note too. In later, more advanced lessons, Ben discusses about and uses the middle finger to play the ‘inside’ strings, that is the B and the G string (the 2nd and 3rd string) which is quite daunting for many beginners as we get very used to the fact the in general (as beginners), our middle finger only plays the 5th string.

I wrote my last response on the fly, but when I got home I picked up my banjo to see how I normally play it. I use my thumb for all of measure 3, and index to begin measure 4.

What I found to be helpful (and fun), was to learn SBCAtM and then use Ben’s Banjo Backup video to learn how to play backup for SBCAtM (you have to change keys to make them match).

Cumberland gap comes to mind that was the next one I went to after cripple creek. It is very similar but it is a new melody .maybe even a beginners black berry blossom might be in order it was the third one I learned . I still go back and practice those rolls there are very much part and parcel of banjo playing . There is an old banjo waltz that I learned that had about every roll pattern you could think of .

Here is one that might take some monotony away .[attachment=0]tab-hot-corn-cold-c-12128-1732145112009.tef[/attachment]