Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

David Grier workshop 2

In one short month, I will humbly attend a 3 hour David Grier workshop and house concert. The workshop is about 3 hours long and seats about a dozen folks, an ideal size in very comfortable surroundings. Needless to say, I am very excited. I mention this in case anyone here has a question that you would like me to ask.
The last time I had this experience, I asked all the wrong questions (technical theory questions) trying to find out the origin of his brilliant solo lines. What I found was that David actually “hears” everything he writes and plays and does not use music theory to develop his harmonically advanced lines. I also found that David is an interesting person socially; nice guy but seems awkward with people… my kind of person.
Anyway, any questions you would ask?


Yes, David is a very interesting guy, haha. He may be my favorite contemporary guitar player to listen to.

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Most guitarists work at it because they enjoy it for whatever reason(s), and even most of the great ones work hard at being great. But Grier seems to me to be in different camp; he was born to play the guitar. His understanding of the instrument goes beyond that of other guitarists. Many of us search for our purpose in life, he found his. Anyway, he reminds me of the kid who hid in his parent’s closet for 3 years playing guitar and came out setting the fingerboard on fire 'cept he stayed in there for 50 years. :wink:


I’d like to know a bit about his gear and guitar collection. Oh, and the secret to growing such an awesome beard…

I’ll ask. He will probably have a good answer about the beard.

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I got one of the funniest jokes from a YouTube video of him playing Beaumont rag (fretboard journal) he said, “do you know the difference between toilet paper and a shower curtain? So you’re the one!” I’ve gotten a kick out of telling that one…

The workshop was yesterday and it was a fun and enlightening time. David seems to be a pretty straight forward, no nonsense fellow. I asked about his pick and strings. He said that the pick was one he found in his couch and his strings are the ones that are on the guitar. David was playing a 1938 Martin herringbone (I believe) that was owned by the fellow who was sponsoring the workshop and concert.

I got to hang out with David at dinner and he is really a pretty nice guy one to one; he seems more relaxed and open in such a situation. David spent a fair amount of time talking about cross-picking (his cross-picking chops are a far distance past most good pickers). I asked him to take any simple fiddle melody, play the melody and then do some variations like he might do while sitting at home working out a tune. It was fascinating watching how his mind works; he is something of a creative genius. And watching up close you realize how comfortable he is playing any scale, chord, or chord progression in any position on the neck.

A few times during the concert later that evening, David made references to how the sponsor of the concert had asked for him to keep his jokes clean. Here is one of the clean jokes:

Q - How do you catch a polar bear?

A - Go to the Arctic and cut a big hole in the ice. Then take some peas and lay them around the entire hole. Wait till a polar bear wanders by and sees the peas. When the bear comes over to take a pea, run up behind him and kick him in the ice hole!

However, his dinner jokes were a bit more racy. Here is one of those:

A fellow takes his 14 year old daughter to the doctor to ask for contraceptives for her.
The doctor asked, “Is your daughter sexually active?”
The fellow frankly replied, “No, she just lies there like her mother.” :flushed:

Jokes aside, David is a world class flatpicker, it was a joy to watch him play.


Ha, that’s awesome!
Sounds like a good time, I love his picking

He is brilliant and he is a character.

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That’s my kind of guy. :+1:

I asked him to take any simple fiddle melody, play the melody and then do some variations like he might do while sitting at home working out a tune. [/quote]


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