Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Best Approach to

Hi All,
I am relative new comer to (less than a year).

I sort of consider myself at ‘intermediate’ level as a guitar player.
In saying that I have been working my way through the ‘basic guitar player checklist’ and have found it fantastic in making some development and headway into ‘bluegrass’. The lessons could be applied to any style of music.
Anyway, I was wondering should I continue working through all the various level checklists e.g beginners/intermediate/advanced etc. or maybe ‘cherry pick’ may way through various lessons?

I don’t mind working my through from the beginning and treating the as a proper musical study from beginning to end (if there is an end). Since I have decided to have a go at learning bluegrass I have felt it’s like rocking up at some shaolin temple and asking to learn kung fu. As in giving it a perspective to getting fundamental techniques and coordinated disciplines.

Any suggestions as to getting the most from the site would be appreciated.



1 Like

Hi Bill, I am NOT a guitar player but I am of the opinion that once you have learned the fundamentals and are confident with them it’s time to explore and try new challenges. But having said that don’t skip through the beginner level thinking there’s not much here you don’t already know.

In the beginner banjo section there’s a lot of important things to master and I am sure the same is true of the guitar section.

My advice would be this, make the most of your Gold Pick Membership, don’t rush through the lessons, take your time and enjoy the journey. In the long run you will become a better, wiser guitar player. @BanjoBen is a fantastic teacher, he has spent a lot of time working to creating these fantastic lessons because he wants his students to be the best they can be.

Seriously I have glanced through some of Ben’s guitar lessons at various levels and I am amazed at the things he teachers. Good Luck


Hello All,

Bill, thanks for starting this topic. I am new, less than a year. I’ve been reading many of the topics learning many valuable tip-bits. I am a solid beginner banjo picker. First of the year I decided to focus my effort on guitar. I have worked through a portion of the check list. Here is how I have been learning.

The lessons have turned out to be more than I expected. Being able to watch the video has allowed me to see finger positions as Ben transitions from one lick to another. I guess you call it fret board awareness. Playing along with the TEF files is another method of learning, and remembering. After reading the TEF thread I purchased TABLEDIT. H/T to Archie and others.

I have been working on “I am a Pilgrim” as a pick stroke lesson. I have concentrated on holding the pick the same, rotating the wrist and building muscle memory and speed. I learned the first half ok because I didn’t have to move my arm. As I made it to the ending with the cross picking, starting on the bottom E and ending up on the top E, it was sloppy, and SLoooWW. I had to move my arm up a little. More muscle memory.

I have been working on “Blackberry Blossom” for the fingering practice. I was struggling, getting confused, because A part 1 and A part 2 were slightly different. I made my own Ben inspired TAB version on TABLEDIT duplicating A part 1 (2X). Then I made one for A part 2 (2X). I did all that for the B part too. The rhythm is challenging because I want to use lead ins, and runs to make it tastefully interesting. I have watched the rhythm video countless times.

I first learned “Cripple Creek” on banjo. I learned the basic version concentrating on machine like timing, basic slides and hammer-ons. I applied the same idea to learning CC on guitar. I made an easy version on TABLEDIT and started in. Learning CC has been much easier for more reasons than it is a basic song. This weekend I was playing with some friends and actually had the urge to improvise. I thought, where did that come from ???

1 Like

I’ll add this… feel free to cherry pick, nothing motivates like being motivated. On the other hand, be sure to include all the basics early. The longer I do something, the harder it is to un-learn it.


Welcome, @bweemes! Sorry for the delayed reply…been a crazy few days. Since you’ve made it through the basic list, you can begin to cherry pick. If you run into a lesson that involves a skill that you haven’t learned, be sure to post about it in the forum and I’ll point you to a lesson that does (or create it!). Keep me posted on your progress!

1 Like

I could not say it better Mike. This is so, so true. Although it may drive a person crazy, the discipline to do it correctly from the start is so important and to keep bad habits from forming. Excellent point.

1 Like