Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

David Soine from Seabeck, Washington

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I needed a new “thing” in my life- something that would make me happy and provide a challenge… and hopefully something fulfilling. I picked the banjo- it was a happy instrument and no one else I knew played one… I had the field wide open to myself in my area! Funny thing… the moment I mentioned I wanted to play banjo, more people told me they either played or knew someone who played. I was surprised.

How long have you been playing and what's your motivation to play?
7 Years. It was a challenge from myself to myself to pick up an instrument that I have never played. The banjo - was that answer.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
All the lessons on Bens site are planned so well - slow speed, and faster, that it is hard to choose. But the lessons with Alan Munde were fun to listen and work through- but I like playing the Blackberry Blossom and his lesson was very good.

What’s your goal when playing?
To become proficient enough to play with other people - but primarily to be able to make music that I enjoyed and would like to perform. Also- I really needed to learn to take direction again.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I particularly like playing the banjo - and some guitar- but Banjo Ben inspired me to pick up a mandolin too- Keeps me busy. I played music in college and I played a brass instrument… playing chords and learning chord progressions was a new frontier for me. A brass instrument plays a linear line of music. Banjo/guitar/ mandolin was a real challenge for me to learn.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
That’s easy- I would play banjo until my fingers fell off.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I think around 8 months.

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
Scruggs style- melodic if I could play a bit better that would be my ultimate goal. Shaping melodies is my goal - but it takes a lot of work to take something I have heard and get it to my fingertips… I am getting better though.

What artist(s) most inspire you?
Jens Kruger/Kruger Brothers, Noam Pikelny, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Ryan Cavanaugh - Anyone with a more unusual approach to music that flavors it different from traditional. I like the progressive banjo music - in a nutshell.

What do you do for a living?
Retired now. Used to work for Travel Company on military bases.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I would love to travel to all 50 states via automobile/RV and then the Canadian Provinces - meet people and play at campsites, festivals, or whenever possible.

How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
After trying a number of other sites, I decided that Banjo Ben offered me the best learning environment. The multiple tracks - speeds… and music were perfect for my learning method.

Who are your favorite pickin’ heroes (bluegrass and country artists)?
Pretty much all of the above in Artists that inspire me…Jens Kruger, Bela Fleck inspired me most… but I would add Mike Mumford, and John Bullard (classical).

Anything else you’d like to add?
I have certainly enjoyed working through Ben’s music. I try to do a different lesson every week - and I often have to remind myself to do that. There is always something I learn - I love the fact that I can play the tracks over and over and no one gets impatient with me! Great job on the site.


Very interesting Bio David. Thanks and nice to get to know you!

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Welcome David! Hope to see you around the forum

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Thank you much … and good to “meet” you as well.


You will… am enjoying the new experiences…

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Nice bio, David. Good luck pickin’.


Nope, not five o’clock there. It must be five o’clock somewhere!

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Hi Shawn Welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum

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Hi David, Congrats on being selected as this weeks Gold Pick Member. Reading your bio it kinda mirrors my own 10 years on it still remains a challenge and it’s still a lot of fun.

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Thank you for sharing your banjo story. I hope you make to all of the states and find great music in them all.

Thanks. Glad to be here.


Congrats on being gpotw and thanks for sharing your story. Wish you great success (and fun) in the latest page of your musical journey!

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Welcome to the forum @davidsoine and congrats on GPOTW status.

I see you’re out there on the peninsula. I lived all over the PNW for almost 40 years, mostly in the Seattle area. I came into Kingston frequently on my way to somewhere and when I was sailing, I sometimes pulled into Port Gamble. I’ve driven all over there and explored; you sure are in a beautiful spot. I live full time in my 38’ motor coach based here in Florida now but I still get out there now and then. I miss it.

Hey, welcome to the forum Shawn :slight_smile:

Hi. Thanks. I’m a tin whistle player back from a hockey trip to Nashville. As a kid, my dad blared Bluegrass from a Washington DC college radio station almost constantly . I’ve really come to miss those old songs. Maybe I can learn a few on guitar.

Hey David it’s great to meet you! Learning multiple instruments is a lot of fun, but more of a challenge for me. The great thing is when you get tired of one or just feel like you’re getting in a rut, you can just switch to the other.

Thanks… agreed… I need a break now and then - seems to help me from instrument to instrument.

Even more beautiful this time of year. Port Gamble is now fully restored and a stunning little town. Nice meeting you.

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