Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Cripple Creek Galloping

Hey new to pickin’ and have been practicing non stop, however i’m having issues with getting out of that galloping sort of sound that Banjo Ben talked about in his Cripple Creek Timing Theory video. Anyone have the same issue? How did you get out of the habit?


Hi Yo, Picker, away! As a beginner, I’m here to offer my expert advice.

The first piece of expert advice is, “You came to the right place!” People here know things and they are most happy to share. Welcome aboard!

Now for my 2 cents - The galloping comes, I believe, because you are into the rhythm rather than the timing. I’m not good at explaining the difference, but it seems to happen when you are playing mostly quarter notes and there are 4 notes per measure. It’s like a weird attempt to make it sound like a song.
It reminds me of a bunch of 1st Graders, when the Principal walks into the classroom and they all say in sing-song, “Good morning Mr. Johnson!” There’s something inside us that makes us want to do the gallop, or the sing-song or the sway from side to side.
When it’s all about the rhythm for us, we run into trouble because as everybody knows, “Timing is everything!”
The next part is “How do you fix it?”
The same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice.


Thanks for the advice, I’ll keep at it and break that habit.

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Howdy! and welcome to the forum!!:upside_down_face: Like Joe said there are a ton of great people here that have way more expertise than myself. What I think your describing is your stuck in 3/4 timing instead of 4/4 one two three, one two three , one two three (which is walts timing if I’m not mistaken) and your looking for one two three four, one two three four ect. ect… There is a beginner lesson that help’s you with that specific issue (but I can’t remember which one that is) it might be the forward roll lesson?? (somone will be along to correct me, you can count on it!) but search around or start in the beginning lessons and you will find it. Good luck and hope I didn’t steer you wrong. :sunglasses:

Hey @e3skeen, welcome! See if this video helps you, and keep in mind that to get that “galloping” sound, your slides/hammers should be 16th notes.


The galloping feel is a shuffle rhythm. It’s basically playing eighth notes as triplets (three notes per beat) with a rest on the second note of the triplet. The effect is a loping sound created by the first eighth note hanging on a bit longer than it should and the second eighth note being clipped short. It’s an infectious sound.

If I unconsciously slip into a shuffle rhythm on the banjo it is usually always while playing a square roll. Maybe that is just me. But I find that the square roll begs to be played as a shuffle; even when it shouldn’t. It never seems to happen with me on a forward roll or one of the other combinations.

I don’t know the secret of stopping it other than focusing on timing. If you get each eighth note to occupy the same amount of time the gallop settles down. I think the gallop can also happen if when you try to play above your comfort speed. It can introduce a hesitation that results in a clunky shuffle.

A good tool to help with your timing is a metronome. I’ve never gotten good at using one, but find someone with good timing and there is a good chance that they own a metronome. The click never lies.

Good luck on taming the shuffle monster.