Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Ben's Breakdown


Honestly, I wanted to be more like Earl, so I wrote a breakdown and named it after myself.


:joy: “You could walk out onto The Grand Ole Opry and play that; come on!” Humbleness is my favorite feature of yours :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’ve always wondered why tunes are called “breakdowns.” I’ve asked a number of banjo players and nobody has ever had an authoritative answer. So why are some tunes called breakdowns?

Anyway, I like the format of the lessons. Learn a technique, practice it until it becomes second nature, then use the techniques in a tune that becomes an earworm that I find myself whistling at work. People probably think I’m on the verge of a breakdown! No, no, that is just the effect that Banjo Ben has on people.


You tell him, Nicole! :+1:


I honestly do not quite know. In college we used to play Foggy Mountain Breakdown backwards…we called it the Clear Valley Fixup.


You know you can’t just say that and NOT play it. I bet I’m not just speaking for myself when I say “I need to hear this!”


I second that @Mark_Rocka!


Looks like you’ve thrown down the gauntlet Mark. Looking forward to seeing the response. :heart_eyes:


I agree! We need to hear this, heck I can’t play it forwards yet…


It was actually just a joke…sorry guys :slight_smile:


I feel a little dumb because I even googled it!


I think it might be called “breakdowns” because it references the way a song or simple melody is broken down and “reconstructed” in various ways.

The variations might be where the term “breakdown” originates?


I honestly thought it was a teaching method to break down songs, Start with the melody, add rolls, and then add the fancy stuff. This assumption probably ranks up there with wearing the finger picks backwards.


Seems to me that Earl named these tunes after the times their truck broke down




I bet Banjo Billy could do it @Mark_Rocka :clown_face:


I believe it was Bill Monroe that had said the “Breakdown” was simply a tune played too fast for anyone to dance to which would signal the end of the set or show so a crew could begin to “Breakdown” the dance floor. Sounds reasonable to me.


I am a little late to this chatter but come on Ben give the pupils something to chew on here. Lets hear it backwards!!!


Find a dictionary and look up “breakdown”. One of the definitions should be “a fast country dance”