Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Back to the fold...with another instrument

Hi Ben, Well I have come back to the fold after bouncing around the internet for a while. But this time I bought a lifetime membership! I also just bought an Eastman MD315 F Mandolin from the store. Jake steered me right. I wanted the best I could get for the money and I couldn’t be happier! It should be the only one I’ll ever need. However, I could use a little advice. I am also learning banjo. I have made a lot of progress in the last few years but as you can imagine I have a long way to go. Naturally, like any natural born idiot, I throw a whole new instrument in to the mix. My plan is to practice both instruments by concentrating them simultaneously on the same song at a time. My normal routine is to bounce around like a fly in a lampshade from song to song to exercise, etc. The problem is that I have’t developed a disciplined routine between learning scales, techniques and songs. Could a talented multi-instrumentalist give me some advice? I love your site but it is very easy for me to get off track and go down the various rabbit holes of videos, etc. All of which are fine but I still come away…like a fly in a lamp shade. HELP! :wink:


Well, not sure I can be much help, and not sure about the talent part. But I am a multi instrumentalist, and I would say, choose a lesson on one instrument, and memorize it before you move on. Then alternate to the other instrument, learn a lesson and memorize it. Also play both instruments for at least five minutes every day, no matter what happens. Do those things, and you’ll progress rapidly. And also, welcome back!


Well, welcome back Kieth :slight_smile:


I think you can juggle them both no problem. Here’s an example practice session, originally written for guitar but adaptable:

5-10 minutes: play SLOW rhythm with a song or two to loosen up your right hand

10 minutes: work on pick accuracy or scales, something that causes you to systematically and intentionally hit certain strings.

10 minutes: Work on a song or solo that you have been playing or working on, paying special attention to problem areas that need improvement. Are you getting better? If not, why not?

10 minutes: Play more rhythm, but faster, and try to work in some rhythm/picking licks.

10-20 minutes: Listen to a new solo/song, or open a new lesson, and work your way through it. Identify problem areas that will be monitored going forward.

10 minutes: Do a practice overview. What was fun? What was hard? Why? Why not? What particular skill needs more work? Use this time to hone it in.


Keith @Stixx3969 ,

I also bought an Eastman 315 about 10 months ago from Jake.

Be careful, my friend… There is something enchanting and uniquely intimate about the Mandolin. I play it much more often than my simple Epiphone MB-100 hollow-back.

I don’t know if it is because the class of the 315 is just much higher quality (relative to the separate instruments) or… that it is newer… or the reasons I mentioned earlier… but I enjoy grabbing and playing it so…

Please share your experiences as you settle in, OK?

1 Like


I know you have done this type of practice outline before… but reading it again is so helpful as I confess… I have strayed off this path.

Perhaps lost in the woods, I will return back to that path at once, teacher!

1 Like

I will take this to heart and keep you posted!

Welcome back.

1 Like