Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

David Duncan from Hickory, North Carolina


What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
My last year of college, I decided to learn to play guitar in order to help in a ministry to high school kids called “Young Life”. I was involved in this ministry in high school as a participant and then as an adult volunteer after graduating college.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I have been playing guitar off and on for 28 years now. Wow…seems like I should be a lot better looking at it that way! :slight_smile: I just love the instrument. I love to play at home for relaxation and also at my Church for men’s events.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
Probably the biggest “aha” moment for me came when I learned what the capo could actually do for playing in different keys. I have had quite a few people try to explain this to me over the years, but quite honestly it was Ben’s lesson that actually made the light bulb come on for me. Not sure why I never understood it before, but like I said Ben’s explanation was so simple and comprehendible I now have more confidence in playing different songs at Church.

What’s your goal when playing?
I have been trying to get better at bluegrass music for a LONG TIME… :slight_smile: My poor wife has had to listen to Wildwood Flower played with great mediocrity for 25 years now. Right now I really want to become a solid rhythm player so I can play at jams.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
Not really. My wife has a mandolin that she is learning using Ben’s site as well. I do enjoy picking around on it too.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Practice guitar, read theology books, and keep my wife up…

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
Since October of 2017

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I tend to fall into a cross-picking approach when playing as a way to make up for the fact that I can’t seem to flatpick with any real accuracy or speed. The cross-picking kinda makes things sound more interesting when playing.

What artist(s) most inspire you?
When I was 22 years old, the artist that got me hooked on bluegrass was Doc Watson. I’ve been struggling with learning to play some of his music since that time. :slight_smile: My favorite guitar player on stage today to watch and listen to is Caleb Smith. He plays and sings with a group named Balsam Range. His playing has a very good mix of different “styles”. And my favorite young friend to watch and listen to is Presley Barker. He has taught me a couple of songs and I always enjoy hanging out with his sweet family when I get the chance.

What do you do for a living?
I’m president of a family business that extrudes plastics and draws steel wire. Think “Swimming Pool Noodles” and “Mattress Springs” as finished products for what we manufacture.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Well…I got to take a mission trip with my entire family to Uganda last summer. So I’d say another mission trip with my family to serve in another part of Africa.


Thanks for the awesome story David. I too am drawn to Doc Watson’s music. He will always be a giant in the annals of Bluegrass Music.

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Congrats, David! nice to (digitally) meet you! Next time you do a mission trip in Africa, come visit me in Mozambique!

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Hi David. Congrats on being selected as this weeks Gold Pick Member. Nice to getting to know a little about you.

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What a great story and balance of life your portrayed in the answers to the questions. Thank you for being so real.

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Hi David,
We’re neighbors! I live in Denver, NC and have been playing Mandolin for a couple years.
Don’t get many opportunities to play with others unfortunately.

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Hey David, it’s great to meet you. I bet your wife loved every minute of Wildwood Flower! Who doesn’t like that song? It was always one of my grandfathers favorite songs to play, and I used to sit and listen for hours.

We need to get together and play then! You ever get up to Hky? My wife plays a little on the mandolin too. Always fun to learn a few songs with a complimentary instrument.

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I didn’t realize there was a “forum” portion of the site… Looking forward to being involved with it.


I appreciate the kind words…