Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Old Joe Clark- Basic


Have you met my Uncle Joe? Well, it’s about time.



I think this is a great lesson. While its a seemingly simple song, this version of Old Joe Clark has helped me learn potatos, and the song ends with a nice tail which I love. Also helps me stay on my toes with rolls. This particular song has a lot of value for new banjo players.


Where is there a more advanced version of Old Joe Clark?


I don’t think I have one…need to make one!


I used to play one with hammer-ons and more slides.


I agree you need a more advanced version like you have on guitar and mandolin


I don’t know if you guys use TEF files, but I just bought the full version and decided to take this opportunity to try to learn how to use it. Here’s my first attempt. It’s lacking compared to Ben’s TEF files, and the rolls seem very sqaure compared to how I play it on banjo, but adjusting syncopation didn’t help, so I’m sure it’s something I’m doing wrong.

Thanks to Archie for sending over an example TEF file that helped me with some questions I had. Here’s a new version of the TEF file that sounds way more like what I’m used to hearing. Now with background instruments. :slight_smile:
Banjo - Old Joe Clark (1).tef (2.9 KB)

If you want to hear this version, go to 1:56 in this video:


Hi @Mark_Rocka check your mailbox


Hi @Mark_Rocka see mailbox for amendments


Thanks Mark. I like it. I was looking for a more advanced one too. I was trying to figure out the best way to add the missing melody note in measure 4 of the basic one and this did the trick!


Thanks for the feedback! Glad it’s getting some use. :slight_smile:


Well today I finally took y’alls advice and downloaded audacity. I slowed down the Solo file to about 140 where I know I can play at that speed. I noticed it sounds different than me. You can pick out the melody better. After listening several times, it seems Ben puts a lot more emphasis into the two string notes in the beginning. Almost seems to have a bouncy feel also.


Very much a beginner and have been painstakingly learning this tune measure by measure for the past few days. Now that I can play along with the Slow track without mistake several times in a row, I let myself try speeding up. And it’s happening!! I’m really playing an entire tune on banjo! And there are so many more available to learn after this!


Joe, it’s great that you can pick out the dynamics in the break! Definitely an important skill.


Congratulations Elsa it’s a great feeling each time you learn a new tune and can play it through to the end.


Way to go, Elisa! Such a great feeling nailing down that first tune.

If I could make a suggestion. Once you feel you are ready to move on to the next song, video yourself playing this one. Even if you don’t post it here, you’ll have it to look back on so you can see how far you’ve come.


I’m so proud of you!


OK, I am finally at the point where I can play along with the background music at 170 BPM. Now my question is what do I do when I am finished and I am only half way through the background music? Are we supposed to start over or replay certain parts?


You could restart (w/o the kick off) or you could learn the advanced arrangement and play that or you could sing it or you could let the guitar have a solo or I could stop rambling and let you do what you want


Yep, you can start back over without the kickoff.