Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

David Raper from Finchville, Kentucky


What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
Childhood experiences around rural church musicians–most of whom were not very slick musicians shall we say. I have always preferred a simpler, more primitive kind of sound.

How long have you been playing and what's your motivation to play?
Off and on for too long! Got more serious about mando in last 2 to 3 years. I am a dabbler with fiddle, banjo, and guitar. Getting a good sound and playing songs reasonably well motivates me.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
Anything that touches on improvisation fascinates me–I am just now taking baby steps in that direction. Ben's material on unlocking the fretboard and various licks has been very helpful.

What's your goal when playing?
My own enjoyment is first, then sharing some of that music with interested others comes second.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
Fiddle, banjo, guitar are all fun and interesting but I barely can hit a lick on any of them. I like lots of different types of music but older bluegrass and gospel are my favorites. My least favorites would be hip hop, rap, and so-called "new grass".

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Practice music, watch ESPN, read, fly fish, play golf, volunteer more with local hospice

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
Maybe a couple of years. I should have done it a long time ago. I wish now I had.

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
Not exactly but it would be neat to become a pretty good cross picker–just saying.

If you could play in anyone's band, who would it be and why?
Gillian Welch–but I am not expecting her to call or anything. I just find her voice so arresting. I believe I have never heard anything quite like that.

What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
Various picks, instrument cases, straps, and portable stands–stuff I use every day.

If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
A Gibson mando.

How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
Trolling on the internet several years ago.


Hi David! Congrats on being gpotw! Hope to see you around the forum!

Yay for Kentucky representation (I grew up in Danville a little East of you)!

Glad to get to know you!

Congrats on being the gpotw, and sharing a little bit about yourself with us. It’s always fun to see how others have come to be here, where they’re from, and maybe even where they might be headed.

Hey David! Congrats on being GPotW! Good to get to know you a little. Hope to see you around the forum.

Hey David, it’s a pleasure to meet you! I would love to give the fiddle a try one day, it’s cool that you play several different instruments!

Congrats on being selected as Gold Picker of the week