Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Brand new! Hello all

I just upgraded from the trial Gold pick to the yearly Gold pick membership.
I am an absolute beginner but have a good grasp on music theory and can for the most part read sheet music.
My question is outside of this video training by Ben, do you think it would be valuable as well to take a few face to face training sessions with an instructor to help get my fret hand placements correct.
I’m finding it difficult to fret some of the chords without also accidently hitting the other strings.

Happy New Year everyone by the way!


Welcome, @ncbwilson! I’m honored to have you on board! I would recommend you get a couple lessons, sure…can’t hurt (usually!). Also, be sure and take advantage of the Video Swap forum category. You can upload vids of your playing and we’ll give you helpful feedback, just like having someone in the room with you!

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Hey Brad! Good to have you!

I highly recommend going through the Beginners checklist lesson by lesson. Ben covers practically all of the basics in there. If you have any questions, there are plenty of people here to help out. You usually can’t go wrong with face to face lessons, but it really depends of the caliber of your teacher. If it were me, I’d start with the videos and message board here and see if you can save some money.

Looking forward to seeing your progress!

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Hi Brad, A word of caution, not ALL teachers are as good as @BanjoBen I spent a lot of money on live lessons and lesson materials after following some poor advice. If the face to face lessons with an other teacher don’t match Ben’s high standards my advice would be to save the money and upgrade to a LIFE MEMBERSHIP with Ben.


Welcome aboard !
we are a happy bunch!
and as @Mark_Rocka said always fun to see people progress.
And a happy new year to you too :smiley:

Thanks everyone, will go through the video series in the beginner track first to see if I can get things corrected first.
Looking forward to this adventure.
Side note Ben: I graduated from APSU up in Clarksville, and spent some time down in Nashville on the weekends. :slight_smile:

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I second Archie on that… Just yesterday I purchased a life membership and I’m planning to convert the existing annual membership account to another life mem. for my daughter if she would show (more) interest.

Welcome Brad! I think you have everything you NEED here.

You can find other things to learn elsewhere that will be helpful, but I agree with Archie. You’re money would be better spent maintaining your membership.



This is excellent advice!



Welcome! Pull up a virtual chair… and allow me to share my thoughts… as I was once in your shoes considering the exact point of private lessons (I took them) and joining this excellent site.

I agree with Ben (a few lessons cannot hurt)… but…


I strongly agree and endorse the great advice the other guys have said about the instruction here. This site is so complete, it is truly all the support and instruction anyone could ask for… well, in this genre of music. @BanjoBen, @Jake and everyone here take the journey with you - and make it FUN along the way.

@BanjoBen is a modest fella who will always encourage his students… and while he takes great pride in the ever-changing and ongoing improvements he makes here, he is too modest to be boastful or prideful in pushing just how much he offers us students here.

That is where us students WANT to speak up on his behalf.

I started on with Banjo private lessons before learning of the site. My private teacher was talented and capable… but upon learning of the site… I discussed signing up for a life membership and offsetting the cost by SUSPENDING the lessons… for several months. I had always intented to return.

I never felt the need to return to Private lessons and my wife says my learning pace has been even increasing faster with @BanjoBen’s site.

I signed up as a BANJO life member… but since then, I purchased my MANDOLIN through @Jake at the Banjo Ben General Store as I had access to all those lessons already through my life membership. I mean, why NOT buy a Mandolin to Max my benefit and use more lessons, right?

Ben mentioned that Life Memberships may increase so please consider it after using the site. Also, USE THIS EXCELLENT FORUM.

The participants are amazing and extremely helpful people - always supportive and strive to encourage each other to improve.

I couldn’t be happier with my investment… and all that I have learned, witnessed and experienced here.


God Bless…and welcome, friend!


Thank you so much everyone for the warm welcome and the suggestions. I’ll hold off for a while on the private lessons!
Another quick question for everyone. I notice the General Store carries Gold Tone’s and I was looking at this item for maybe a long term goal : what are your thoughts on the wide neck, would I be putting my self at a disadvantage going with a non-standard neck size?

I would try to play one of these first. I have really big hands and the standard banjo width is fine for me.

thanks Ben! Will check around in Abington, VA @ Capo Music Store, but would prefer to purchase anything going forward from your general store, will keep everyone updated.

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Looks like that nice acoustic shop has closed in Abington, VA.
Can’t say how much I am impressed by the quality of the lessons so far though online.
The tuning series is awesome. I am using an Mastercraft loaner from my aunt at the moment and I think it might need new strings, and a good setup, but I am at least able to practice holding, and picking for now.

Picked up a couple books to practice with tab.

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