What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
In the mid-seventies I attended Bill Monroe’s Beanblossom Festival several times. That got me hooked. My favorite memory there was seeing a young Marty Stuart picking and singing with Lester Flatt. Beanblossom got me very interested in bluegrass, especially the banjo. I took lessons for a year or two in Wabash, Indiana. They had jam sessions there every Friday night. Jeff White was a regular at the jam sessions. That’s a good memory.
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I took banjo lessons and played for a year or two when I was in my early twenties. Then I put the banjo down for many decades and got interested again in May of 2020 after buying a Recording King M5 from the General Store.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
My favorite lesson is the guitar lesson for “There is a Fountain.” By learning this song I found that my fingers can do things that I didn’t think that they could do! Also, it’s a meaningful song with a wonderful message.
What’s your goal when playing?
My goal is to play perfectly… I seldom, if ever, attain that goal.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
My main instrument is banjo. But I also play guitar and would like to learn mandolin. Other genres are the blues and 60’s & 70’s rock (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc.). I’m giving away my age here…
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
For about a year.
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
That good old three finger Scruggs style and cross picking on the guitar.
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
I would love to play again with “The Gathering Nuts”, my band from the 2021 April Cabin Camp 1. We really clicked and picked. I learned a lot and had a ton of fun with them. If that doesn’t work out, then I’d love to jam with the Rolling Stones. Why? Because it’s the Rolling Stones!
What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
That’s easy. It would be the Peterson Body Beat Pulse Solo, which I purchased from the General Store. It’s a device that plugs into a metronome. You clip it onto your clothing and it pulsates to the beat. Prior to this, I just couldn’t get the hang of playing with a metronome.
If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
My dream was always to own a Pre-war Gibson. That dream was fulfilled in February! I bought a '29 TB2 conversion with a Robin Smith neck and a Huber HR-30 tone ring. Her name is Pearlie Mae because her neck is adorned with a beautiful mother-of-pearl wreath pattern. There’s nothing else that I need and I don’t think that my wife will ever let me buy another instrument!
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I LOVE to sleep because it helps me to be a better player. Believe it or not, our brains continue “picking” while we sleep and it develops neural pathways. You’ve probably experienced this… you practice a song and just can’t get it right. The next day, just like magic, you can play it. THAT’S why I like to sleep.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I love the Banjo Ben community. What a great bunch of people who love, support and encourage one another. Good teaching too from Banjo Ben, one of the good guys.
Thanks for letting us feature you @ChrisWms! Glad to know you and have you on board!