What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I grew up around music. Extended family members played various acoustic instruments and I wanted to participate. Being around live music was fun, but playing music was “funner”!
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I’ve played rhythm guitar for 55 years and banjo for 45 years and, to this day, making music is just fun.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I don’t have a “favorite” lesson. I listen to a lot of them. For the banjo, I may find a cool lick to try, a technique that is interesting, or a different approach to a song or phrase that I’ve played for years. I can play the chop chords on a mandolin, but I use Ben’s lesson to learn how to play mandolin leads, primarily for my own enjoyment, and I occasionally find things that I try to transfer to the banjo.
What’s your goal when playing?
To fit correctly into the song and make it sound as good as possible. And have fun.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I’m very much bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and old country music. They sound great with acoustic instruments. I play electric bass in the praise band at my little church (I think I got conscripted into that role). I have to work at it, but since I’m all they’ve got, it’ll have to do.
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I’ve been a Gold Pick member since February, 2017.
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I try to smile occasionally while I’m playing.
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. I like the “feel” of their music and I love their gospel songs and harmonies.
What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
For banjo, I play a Huber Ron Block model, BlueChip JD Crowe thumb pick (slightly modified), and Shelor finger picks. I’ve recently installed Rickard 10:1 tuners and love them. For guitar, I play a Martin 1939 D-18 Authentic. The slightly wider neck fits my hands perfectly. I like the BlueChip 40 picks on this guitar.
If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
A pre-war Gibson Granada
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Find someone else that didn’t have to sleep and have a jam session.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Never stop playing. Share your music. Whether you play in a band or not, play in jam sessions, play at your church, play for retirement communities or people that can’t get out to live music events. Have fun.
How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
I don’t recall how I found out about Banjo Ben, but it was probably while I was looking for online mandolin lessons. Several years ago, I was recording backing tracks for a one-man bluegrass shows that I performed at retirement communities. I needed some mandolin on those tracks and Ben’s lessons helped me get the job done.