Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Facing the challenges of growing old

To quote C.S. Lewis. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

I just turned 70 in August and with the birthday money I received I bought two second hand tenor banjo’s one being a restoration project of a valuable Celtic banjo which I got at a bargain price. The banjo needed a flesh hoop which was missing so I contacted the maker Eric Beharrell here in the UK who was only too happy to help. The new vellum head I sourced from Andy Banjo in Kent.

I’ve replaced banjo heads before but I have never replaced a calfskin vellum and I was a bit nervous about taking on the task. After watching a couple of YouTube Vids I felt confident enough to give it a try. To my surprise and amazement all went well. I am just waiting on the vellum drying out before reassembling the banjo.

I have also started an online course on Irish Celtic Banjo and find it’s much easier to learn Celtic Tenor Banjo than it was the five string. Maybe my knowledge of the five string is making the task easier. The Tenor Banjo uses the same tuning as the Mandolin so I am hoping I can perhaps learn to play some basic bluegrass Mandolin style. If all goes well I may look to buy a Mandolin for my next birthday.

I was 61 when I started learning to play the five string banjo and four years ago I signed up as a Life Member on Ben is brilliant and has taught me a lot over the years and continues to set me new challenges. I am thankful he has been there to mentor me and wish him every success with this new website.


I’m honored to have you, @archie.cairns! Congrats on the new hobby!

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From one “LIFER” to another - let’s keep the learning flame burning bright! I am 53 and just started Banjo 1.5 years ago… I think you recall that from my video swap post of “Worried Man Blues”.

You are an inspiration to us all… especially all the contributions that you make here for others - and your life interests. Keep it going, K?


Thank you William that means a lot to me . In truth I am only giving back the good advice and encouragement the Banjo Community gave to me when I started out There’s a lot of advice given out there sadly not all is good and positive advice for the newcomer. With Gods help Banjo Ben has always given me lots of good advice and encouragement and I am blessed to have him as my teacher and mentor.

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