Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Unclouded Day Build-A-Break

These tabs have two very important roles: 1) Learn 3 different varieties of the classic tune, “Unclouded Day.” 2) Learn how to progressively build a break starting with the basic melody! These tabs accompany an incredible lesson that shows you how to find a basic melody, add pinches and filler licks, then slick it up even more with hammers, slides and blues notes!

I love the lesson. i’v been working on it about 3 weeks and am already almost done with the chorus. Thanks Banjo Ben for the lesson!

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Great to hear, @robospidy!

I can play along fairly well with levels 1 & 2 when i follow the tab. When I play along without looking its much more challenging. I’m trying to get away from always using the tab. Any tips on that?

I memorize best by learning sections at a time and then combining the learned sections. The TEF Viewer is great for that. Just highlight the sections you’re trying to learn and hit play. It’ll repeat until you stop it.

Using that method, I got the entire verse of Blackberry Blossom committed to memory today in under 30 minutes.

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Repetition! As @Mark_Rocka said repeat each section over and over ad nauseam. I don’t use tef tab, but it is very useful if you do.

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Thanks , great tips

Is it important that I use the thumb for the notes on the 3rd/G string? It seems more convenient to use the index finger especially when there is a roll just before or after where you used the index finger on the 3rd string already.

@JoeB, if it is a quarter note, lots of folks prefer the power of the thumb. If it’s an eighth note, you’ll want to play it with whatever finger is available

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I notice I naturally like to use my thumb before a roll and my index finger after a roll.

Hi @JoeB If you listen carefully to what @BanjoBen has to say about using the thumb you wont go far wrong.

You can do what’s most comfortable in most situations :wink:


OK, I need some pointers for measure 16. I am having issues doing the slide to the point I can use my index finger. I am muting the second string on my slide with my middle finger. Should I use my ring finger for the slide instead?

Are you talking about measure 16 on the 3rd level?

yes on level 3. I started practicing with the ring finger and now I can do it most times with the middle finger if I keep that same angle. I guess I just need to practice it a bunch. Ben’s long fingers make it look easier than mine. LOL

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Yeah you definitely want to work on it until you can play that with your middle finger. That lick will show up in a LOT of other lessons, so nailing it now will mean you won’t have to do so in the future.

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Hi @JoeB I concur with @Mark_Rocka. All this ornamentation is difficult to grasp when your starting out and it requires a lot of repetition for everyone to master. I never thought I would get the hang of it. But there will come a day when you will find you just ‘do it’ without thinking.

This is not a physical action your trying to master, it’s a mental one. The brain takes over. The key to learning any slide, pull-off or choke lick is to hear the notes and master the timing. So take all the time you need and LISTEN carefully to the sound you are creating.

I uploaded a video of me just practicing that lick. Please let me know if it looks right or if I should adjust the angle of my fingers.

On level 3, I’ve got it sounding great EXCEPT for measure 26. I’m having a very hard time holding the second fret with my middle finger and then stretching to hit the fourth fret with my pinky finger. Is it acceptable if I just cheat and switch to my pointer finger for the second fret so I can hit the fourth with my ring finger? That’s easier for me at the moment, but I’m wondering if I should just suffer through getting the pinky to stretch now to make playing easier in the future…


Hi Bryan, @BanjoBen 's fingers can do things that us normal folks can’t. I use my Index finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string (I call that a pivot postilion) and my ring finger goes on the 4th string 4th fret. Having said that it is good practice to try it Ben’s way, in this video he is demonstrating economy of movement and I can guarantee you will see this again in other lessons. Stretching that pinkie is something your gonna need to practice