Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Introduction to Melodic Banjo

Let’s introduce what melodic banjo playing is, then give you an exercise in G that’ll make you yell, “GRANDMA!”

I have a problem with this lesson, Ben. Intro video is fine but 2 and 3 just buffer for ever!! I haven’t had this problem with any of your other lessons.

Hi Stewart Welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum

Sorry to hear your having difficulties viewing the videos. If you are using Window’s Internet Explorer click on “Safety” on the top right hand comer of your screen and TURN OFF Tracking Protection, refresh your browser and try again, you may need to close and reopen IE… .

If you are using another type of web browser please state which browser and what type of device your accessing the site with.

I have an imac and am using Safari.

Hi Stewart, I 'll give @Mark_Rocka a yell to see if he can offer advice on this.

I seem to recall having a similar problem with a safari when we were beta testing the site. I think I cleared the cache and that resolved the issue.

Truth be told. I’ve had the best experience on this site with Google Chrome. Any chance you’d be willing to load that up and try it out to see if you see a difference?

Hey @stewart.brown1! Sorry about the issue. Please email me if you’re still having issues. I do want to encourage you to clear the browser cache and also try Google Chrome if you have not already.

Hi Ben and Mark. Thanks for your feedback. I came back to this lesson and found the same problem. HOWEVER — I took the advice and used Google Chrome and BINGO — problem solved! Muchas gracias, amigos.


I noticed in part 2 video, you are using your pinky for the top D string 7th fret sometimes and sometimes you use the ring finger. The same with the upper G string and the 5th fret. Sometime you use index and sometimes you use middle finger. I thought in order to develop speed we should be consistent. Does it not matter or should I try to use specific fingers for specific frets for these exercises? Maybe I need to change my mindset from what finger on what fret I use to just which fret needs to be played for that note and let my brain worry about the best finger to use at that moment.

Yes. Ha. Unless I tell you to make sure to use a certain finger or encourage you one way over another, use what fits you best. It is good to develop versatility. Thanks!


@BanjoBen The thing I struggled with most as a beginner was not knowing what fingers to use to fret the strings when working with TAB books particularly with partial chords and UTN. Most tell you what fingers to use to pick strings but are sparse on how to fret them. On a few occasions I have had trouble reaching some of your long reach licks and would welcome some alternative suggestions where possible.

I find that the fingers I use to fret certain notes may change as I start to play the song faster. Eventually my hand develops muscle memory and does what it’s supposed to on its own.

I think a lot of people shy away from using their pinky. I say use it as often as it makes sense to do so. You can save a ton of left hand movement by getting that pinky used to doing the job.


I concur @Mark_Rocka , I could barely move my pinky until I got Alan Munde Banjo Workout DVD. The exercises taught me how to stretch my fingers and how to manipulate my pinky It was tough at first but the more folks use their pinky easier it gets.


Hey Ben, listened to the melodic section and that is something I dearly want to delve into. I was taught back in the 70’s (yeah the dark ages :smiley: ) the basic Scruggs style with a lot of shuffle, so now I’m working to break from that. However, I want to do more in the melodic style. I take it that this intro is not only the adventure we will do into this genre? TIA!

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here’s a link for you…;tags:melodic-banjo

In the future you can use the list on the left side of the banjo lesson page to filter for tags such as melodic, 3/4 time, Bill Monroe, C tuning, etc.


Great! Yep, follow the great advice of @fiddle_wood and you’ll see all the melodic stuff I have, including the lesson posted today!