Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Alright, let's get it going

Will the Circle be Unbroken
Key of G
100 bpm

Breaks so far:

  1. Mark Rocka
  2. Treblemaker
  3. BanjoBen
  4. michaelsferg
  5. KB1

Regarding Treblemaker being out of town next week, I too, will be out of town starting next week until after Thanksgiving (11 days). If waiting for me is a drag for you guys, I’ll gladly let someone else manage the tracks -I’m looking at you Mike.

Regarding vocals, we usually have trouble finding recruits. We’re all here because we’re pickers, after all. We can sing as a choir like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did or arrange parts, or both. I see no problem with having a high baritione part, Treblemaker.

As for recording tracks, at a minimum you need headphones to play back the base track, a microphone, and a program or app to record your track. Free DAW’s like Audacity, Garageband, Presonus Studio One 3 Prime, or Pro Tools First will accomplish this. I’m not too knowledgeable about recording apps, but I’m sure there are plenty of free ones available. When you make your recording try to make it sound like your acoustic instrument. Don’t dress it up with lots of reverb or other effects.A clean, dry track with a large signal-to-noise ratio is what we’re after.

I chatted with Larry and I’ll be glad to help out with track management or whatever while Larry is out.

Another good recording package (DAW) is Reaper. If it hasn’t changed, it has a free trial, and a fairly minor price to purchase. I think I paid $60. However, if you aren’t mixing or mastering, any of the free packages will be more than enough.

@michaelsferg, I’m almost positive that GarageBand can export a recording to a .wav file or some other lossless format. It should be fine. Absolute worst case scenario, I know it’ll export to MP3. It’s a lossy format, but should be good for what we’re trying to do. I was pretty bummed when Ben announced that we’re not trying to get a Grammy nomination. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

So here’s a question. It may seem a little selfish, but I promise it’s not. Are we allowed to do 2 breaks with 2 different instruments?

Here’s why I ask. An old friend of mine gave me a 4 string mandola he built for a man named Paul Buskirk. You may not have heard of Paul, but I guarantee you that you’ve heard him play. He was Willie Nelson’s mentor, and actually owned the rights to some of Willie’s songs and recorded with him often.

Anyway, Paul never took possession of this mandola and my buddy that built it asked me a few days ago if I’ve learned anything on it yet. I was kind of embarrassed to tell him no. Truth be told, it’s just kind of a wall ornament right now.

So, 2 questions. If I decide to write a mandola break do I forfeit my banjo break? Also, this is a semi hollow body mandola, meaning it’s electric. Is that even allowed in this recording? I think it’d do my old buddy’s heart good to hear that mandola being played. :slight_smile:

Oh, now this is cool! I just found a video of Paul Buskirk playing the 8 string sister mandola my buddy built for him after he decided he didn’t like the 4 string that was given to me. My mandola looks just like this minus 4 strings.

Mark, I’ll say this… even if folks want to avoid having an electric instrument in the recording, we could absolutely make a special mix with it. So the short answer, is go ahead and plan a break for it. Worst case, we can make an additional mix.

1 Like

Sweet! That’s a great idea! Thanks Mike! The old man will be so proud.

I never answered the question about multiple breaks for one person. In the past we have had folks do it, so I don’t see why not unless the breaks are already “full”.


I should be able to throw some fiddle backup or harmonies in…finally made it back here…lost my way for a while, but have things up and working again.


I think a fiddle break would be a great way to kick it off… chunka chuck chuck dreaw dreawwwwww.

Yes, that is my wordification of a fiddle kickoff for the song. Give me a like if you can hear it in your head :crazy_face:


My vote is to kick it off with you saying “chunka chuck chuck dreaw dreawwwwww.”

1 Like

Thanks Mark. This is gonna be fun!

Hey KB, I’m feeling pretty thankful Ben chose 100 BPM now. I may have gotten a little carried away with the break I came up with on Mandola. I’m struggling to play it cleanly at 95 BPM right now, so I’m thinking there’s no way I’d hit 110 before recording time.

Thanks for saving me from myself. :slight_smile:

If all goes to plan, I’m going to start recording tomorrow. Anyone care to share what software they are using? I’m going to use Ableton 9.


I’ll either use Garage Band or my very old, but very trusty Cool Edit Pro.

Should we be recording already? I thought we were waiting on some backing tracks from someone first. I know 100 BPM is the universal tempo, but even a 1/4 second variation over the whole song could be problematic.

Yes we normally cut the rhythm and bass first (and maybe a scratch vocal) and play the rest to that.

If someone gets a rhythm part down I’m happy to throw in the Bass unless someone else really wants to do it.

I have Audacity in my computer but use a Tascam DP-008 multi track recorder for recording on these things…much less hassle for me.

theoretically you could cut a break at the same meter, but it would create a lot of hassle for the person doing the engineering to put it in the right place…and then it might not work and would have to be done over again.

1 Like

That should work fine! I like it!

1 Like

Sorry Mark. I didn’t think about the backing track. I get a bit over zealous at times. :roll_eyes:

I’ll admit it. I’m the guilty party holding up this project. I recorded a track on Monday, then spent two days figuring how to get it shared with Dropbox. I finally managed to start a new thread with the rhythm track uploaded. Get it here:

Collaboration #1-Will The Circle Be Unbroken

that sounded fast. is it in cut time ?