Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Mandolin lesson: Eighth of January

This is a great version of an ol’ tune most everyone recognizes. Easy to learn, fun to play, and impressive to hear. Ol’ Hickory AND Johnny Horton would be proud!

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This is definitely next on my list. The day I was born, Johnny Horton had the number song in the land using this same melody on the Battle of New Orleans. (Yup, I’m getting old). So I should have had it under my belt by now. Going to do it on both mando and guitar. I’ve yet to do any of the guitar lessons, it’s been strictly mando up to now.

Get after it!

I sure like this version! I’m still working on all parts very slowly (with some stopping) at more difficult parts for me…, like that tab 6 on G string, and then the change to the dbl hammer on, on strings 2&3! I usually favor using my pinky to hit that tab 6 note on G string & my 3rd finger to hit the next note/notes instead of my 2nd finger if you’all follow me. You/BBen recommend using fingers 2 & 4, , do u think I should train the ol’ fingers for that, or is ok way I do it?!
Also there is something I noticed while practicing my mandolin which involves type of pick to use. I use a smaller pick sold at music stores, sometimes use regular guitar flatpik. I recently noticed that for me…, using the smaller pick helps the strings to ring more, which I like. Its a medium to hard guage small pick, I think it’s made for mandolins… Vince

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Welcome to the forum Vince :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the welcome Maggie! I’m getting more used to that section of measures in Eighth of January with the tab 6 on the G string. I got more practice time in on it this weekend and its getting smoother w/out stopping (still fairly slowly). Slow practice being the secret of course! - If anyone wants to get back about it; I would be interested to hear if anyone else is using a Small sized flatpick, rather than a regular guitar sized flatpick for Mandolin? Will be online for awhile longer …
BTW Maggie, I’m curious, do you already have the Eighth of January ‘down’ ?!

Oh gosh no. I’m a banjo player that took up mando last Fall. I haven’t played mando for three months because I was getting ready for the camp, focusing on banjo, that I ultimately didn’t get to go to because I got sick.

I was just perusing the forum and saw your post and wanted to welcome you. People are just returning from the camp today so I’m sure others will see your post shortly. I’m still very much a beginner on mandolin.

Several monitor the forum including Ben, but here’s a tip. When you want to catch someone’s attention or refer to someone in particular, use their forum name. You mentioned Ben in your comment, so use @BanjoBen and he’ll get a notification that his name was dropped and he’ll most likely chime in.

Sorry I’m not of any more help, I’m sure more will get back with you shortly though. Maybe I’ll tackle Eighth of January on banjo next, hmmm.

Hey again Maggie, Great to hear back from you! Wow, sorry u got sick and missed the camp, bummer
I’ve been to some guitar camps in the past/tons of fun & incredible learning & motivation experience…, for me was/is fairly easy transition to Mandolin. I luv fiddle turnes & decided to work on them w/mandolin. Course, you know how it is, takes patience and time (+energy) to get tunes down, but its so much fun, especially (as u know), after anyone gets a tune ‘down’.
Great tip about catching someone’s attention, I’m always finding my way around computers and such, far from expert but somehow manage my way around. Good to Chat w/u, Later, Vince

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One more thing Maggie; I was working my way around this discussion site a bit, saw some of your info and all. If I remember correctly, You’ve worked on ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ on banjo for awhile/getting up to speed. - So, I went and checked it out on B/Ben lesson preview, first on banjo, then checked it out on mandolin! Wow! what a great tune! I’m familiar w/the name of it, but never really listened to it until now. I now plan to make it my next tune to work on/mandolin when I’m ready. It’s gonna be a great ‘vehicle’ for me to learn how to use mandolin tremolo style I reckon., and I look forward to that. So thanks thru you, I’ve become aware of this new tune to me! Later, Vince out …


That’s fantastic Vince. At the time I started working on Wayfaring Stranger, it was way above my abilities but I really liked it and it became a quest for me. I just worked on it a little each day and eventually I got it. The coolest thing was that when I started to learn some of the other more advanced tunes, I was better equipped for them with what I learned on WS.

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I definitely hear you on that Maggie! Way to go! It’s an ongoing process that’s takes some work, but sure is fun. And, for instance the mandolin tremolo in WS is gonna be some work & a challenge, but I will be going for it!

Hey Vince!

Sorry for the delayed reply…I’m still recovering from camp! To answer your question, I know several folks that use those small picks for mandolin, should be fine if you can hold onto it :wink: And, I would recommend you trying to use your ring finger if possible. It will help you with the stretching licks in the future.

Hey, thanks for getting back to me @BanjoBen! Don’t wanna take up to much of your time but I’m feeling like explaining why I got used to using my pinky finger for that reach to a tab 6 on G string. When learning and working on guitar playing I would work on all kinda guitar scales like pentatonic’s, modes, chromatic exercises, etc. Well, books I used encouraged me to use ALL four fingers, which ‘line up’ nicely on the fretboard to run/practice/play scales, and ultimately jam them when playing. (of course hopefully jamming non-scale’ularly!) - Looks like I’ve transitioned that habit over to the mandolin seems to me.
However, I have now been practicing some with the (new to me) different fingering on mandolin, using/stretching my (2) finger/one right after index, and then also stretching my ring finger for notes & measures like the tab 6 on the G string. The way I’ve been playing until now is I would align my fingers across the fretboard in a series of four, each finger to each fret, if you know what I mean. - It’s good for me to do this new stretching using different fingers than I’m used to, … & it also means me re-learning the 3 to 4 tunes I already know! Which is fine & a good exercise to get me up to par for the 8th of January stretches!

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Be sure and check out this one:

Hi @BanjoBen, Thanks for the ‘how-to-finger-frets’ ! BTW, … the past couple days as I’ve been going over 8th of January Preview in Lesson - at times the playing track skips (like when a CD skips when being played from a scratch or whatever)? Just thought I’d let you know, don’t know if its just me or what…? I have recently moved and am using a different computer, am in Alaska now for season, Also the screen looks different its more horizontal & flat’er than was, seems to me. Hope I’m making sense. I was also checking out other mandolin tunes from the list available, and they were all skipping too! … However, now that the ‘Preview’ has been repeating over as it does, it did stop skipping, took a little while though. Anyway, so you know, I’m enjoying the lesson… & your site, Sincerely, Vince T

If the page isn’t completely loaded the videos will skip

Also, watch the “progress” line at the bottom of the video…it shows how much of the video is loaded and where it is now playing at…if the playing catches up to the loading it will skip, stop, buffer, etc.

you can try, pausing the video at times to let the downloading catch up.

Also, under the video is the following link: on “playing videos”

Howdy Vince!

Please try what @fiddle_wood said, as it is a connection issue. Once a video plays on your computer it should play more smoothly next time as your browser will store parts of the site for short-term recall.

Howdy @BanjoBen & @fiddle_wood ! - Thanks for the feedback, I understand whats going on now, and what you guys say is all happening … & Today everything was smooth as it got all downloaded and all that! Cheers :slight_smile: