What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
Many of my family play and often (almost every weekend) I would fall asleep listening to them to play into the wee hours of the morning. The joy and laughter that live music brought out encouraged everyone to participate regardless if they could play or sing in tune.
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
My first guitar was an old 12 string Vega that my uncle/godfather gave me for my eleventh birthday. The guitar had seen beet days but that didn’t matter much, i had my own guitar.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
There were so many lessons that have helped improve my playing, like the pick and rhythm exercises, but the cross picking lesson has been my favourite lesson so far. This technique has allowed to me to incorporate the forward roll into many of my tunes be it country, folk, bluegrass, etc., (i’m still pretty weak on the reverse roll, but getting there). The technique gives my playing a more full and complete sound which adds a pleasing dynamic when accompanying other musicians (so i hope).
What’s your goal when playing?
That the music i produce will be enjoyed by all who hear it.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
Around the same time i started learning guitar i began playing harmonica, i was a huge fan a Neil Young and wanted to emulate his style. I began playing Mandolin about a year ago, and immediately fell in love with it, so much so i have been neglecting my guitar, but not to fear i have started to dedicate some time to the guitar again.
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
my favourite technique is cross picking
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
Unfortunately i am not really interested in playing in anyones band, i am not very comfortable playing on a stage. My preference is jam sessions or kitchen parties, where i am not so much of an entertainer, but a participant making some beautiful sounds with others.
What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I am fairly basic with my accessories my tuner is an off the shelf twenty dollar variety, but i have found an excellent capo with a super thin profile and and adjustable tensioner from Planet Waves, A d’addario humidifier
If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
I would like a hand made f-style mandolin made with the best tonewoods and a finish to match like an antique varnish. The attention to detail would need to go into the case as well and would include a built in hygrometer.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I have three passions, my family, music and carpentry. I am great with my family, am a middling musician and honestly not a very good carpenter. If i didn’t have to sleep i would spend the extra time learning, becoming a better musician and a more competent carpenter.
Anything else you’d like to add?
For most of my playing life i provided rhythm and sang, never really having the patience to learn scales, rhythm styles, and picking techniques. This resulted in never advancing my music, plateauing if you will . Since discovering Banjo Ben’s lesson a whole new musical world has opened up for me, unlocking some of those mysteries and challenging me to become a better player. With lessons i have learned my music has moved off the plateau and has inspired to me to play and play often. I am looking forward to continuing to learn from Banjo Ben and continuing this journey.