Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Artists That Are Dedicated To One Instrument

Has anyone noticed that some artists that are off the charts talented are only known for one instrument. I bet they can play more, but we only see them exclusively with that one particular instrument. Who knows what they play in their off time?

Here are a few that instantly come to my mind:

Tony Rice - Guitar
Billy Strings - Guitar
Chris Thile - Mandolin
Adam Steffey - Mandolin
Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes - Dobro
Allison Krauss - Fiddle
Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe and Bela fleck - Banjo
Missy Raines and Barry Bales - Bass
Chet Atkins and Merle Travis - Finger Picking Guitar
Eddie Van Halen (and countless others) - Electric Rock and Roll Guitar
Liberace and Jerry Lee Lewis - Piano

Ok, those last ones might drag this thing out too long!

So, what are your all’s thoughts? May get some fun arguments from this!

One more thing… Maybe next, someone can open a thread on Artists who can shine equally well on any instrument they pick up… Mark O’Conner comes to mind!


I’d bet Billy Strings can pick a mean mandolin! Actually, chances are he’s been featured playing one at Carter’s vintage guitars, I’ll have to check on that… I know that Chris Thile can also play violin, cello, guitar, and I think the sitar, according to wiki wiki. I’ve seen Jerry playing lap steel, and I think he plays guitar too. I think most of these people play only one instrument in public because they’re part of a band that only needs their specialty and there’s other people who can play the others better than them. And sometimes it’s cuz they want to focus on only one instrument and become even more awesome on it.


billy S plays frailing banjo & mandolin

JD Crowe can play the heck out of a Steel guitar

Earl Scruggs played plenty of great guitar during performances in his career

Bela Fleck use to switch instruments with Victor Wooten. his bass player during shows

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Andy Leftwich can play everything better than most ever will. I get the mandolin… it’s similar scale to fiddle and the same strings, but still… his right hand picking is awesome. Then I heard him play guitar… the dude is just a MUSICIAN. Awesome tone on whatever you place in his hands.

As far as one instrument musicians, what about Zamfir, master of the pan flute?


Most all these folks can play several instruments extremely well. The most talented all-around multi-instrumentalist I know of is Sierra Hull’s hubby, Justin Moses. His dobro/banjo/mando/guitar/fiddle playing is as good as anyone’s. Ron Stewart is another. And yes, Andy Leftwich is out of this world.


Yes! Totally true, he’s one of my favorite musicians. Also, not super easy to find on YouTube

Wish I had seen this post yesterday! :roll_eyes:

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Sorry Will,

Just started this today!

I Didn’t know about Justin Moses’ multi-instrument talent, but Sierra Hull is an excellent guitarist herself. She’s so incredible at mandolin that her guitar playing gets overlooked.


Sierra also does not play shred guitar on stage anymore, she only uses it for singing backup. I’d like to see her play guitar more though, cuz she can pick the (insert favorite expletive here) out of it

You know guys, I would place Ben on that list as well.


Yeah, this may sound odd, but I liken Ben to Paul McCartney. He knows the perfect notes to use, and when to use them. He also knows very well when to use no notes at all.

Incredible instincts.


Thank y’all.

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