Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Creating a practice plan - redux

Please forgive this double post. I posted it on the guitar forum this morning, then thought this might be the more appropriate forum for it. Maybe I’ll get twice as many ideas this way!

Since I play rhythm and sing in a honky tonk band, that’s my first priority, so I’m working on Ben’s intermediate guitar rhythm series first (I already went through the beginner series), spending 5-10 minutes in each key. Actually, I start with 5-10 minutes of his “Pick Accuracy Exercise”, to try to forestall my sloppy flubs in those aforementioned rhythm exercises that I do next. All this is with a simple metronome. I’m starting at 56 bpm, and figure to add 5 bpm/week, depending on how well I’m playing them.

During the practice itself, when I hit a spot that I’m flubbing, I stop and “snipperize” that part over and over until it’s mo’ bettah (though I wouldn’t use words like “flawless” or “perfect” - hard for me to know where to draw the line there), then I continue. The metronome stays on the whole time. When I feel pretty good about that particular rhythm series, playing it faster (I don’t know how many bpm that would be - suggestions?) and smoother and “perfect”, then I plan to go through the waltz series, maybe the hammer-ons and pull-offs after that. I’ll see when I get there.

This sound like a decent plan and approach? Suggestions are SO welcome!

Next: all this practice plan up until now is so that I can be Hank/Lefty/Buck/Ray for the band, and do my job better. But in my heart of hearts, back home in my living room (and someday out in public), I wanna be Doc . . . so that means flatpicking.

How do I start there? When do I start there? I figure maybe that there’s some drill(s)/exercises(s) I ought to be baby steppin’ right now along the way, then taking on some simple songs to incorporate that picking. Does that make sense? Any drills/exercises, or series of drills/exercises that y’all would recommend? In any particular order? How soon to go from there to a song? Which song?

Thanks for any input! And feel free to answer any questions I didn’t ask but should have :grin:.


Have you tried this, particularly the circular scale?

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Thanks, Ben, I have a little, but not much. I’ll get back to it. I spent a lot of time (and still do) working on the Beginner rhythms, since they apply most directly to my band role. I’m starting to want to pick within the context of playing rhythm, so I’m nosing around on the build-a-solo, G Boogie, and Bag’o’Licks topics.

BTW, sorry about being so late with the reply, I must have missed the notice (if I got one) that I had one.

Many thanks!