Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Just wanted to say I’m working on “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” …got it down to about 70% speed with the TEF file …just gonna keep practicing it til i get it up to full speed…so far from the site i’ve learned " the Old Rugged Cross" and the basic version of " Billy in the Lowground" …I need to get a better pick though as Ive always played thin picks for my old rock days …i will get a better bluegrass pick soon though …hopefully it will make a difference as far as speed and playing cleaner…any thoughts on this??

Thanks Ben for everything …I’m loving the site!!!

Sounds like you’re making some real progress, Ron. Foggy Mtn Breakdown was the first of Ben’s tabs I learned. Nearly a year later and I still don’t think I can get it all the way up to Ben’s speed, but I’m getting used to that. I’m never going to be as fast as Ben.

Thanks Ldpayton …I’m gonna keep at it 'til i can get it to speed …at least im gonna do my darndest lol …Its progress either way …

Nice job Ron, I need to go work on the breakdown as well. I haven’t hit that one yet, but I think it would be fun. You mentioned picks, on the old forums, there were many pick topics. There will likely be one in the accessories section soon, but in general, you are on the right track. A more rigid pick will give you better control and tone. I just made a couple jumps to get up to fairly rigid picks. You can spend $100 on a pick, but there are nice picks with a hand shaped bevel for under $4 (wegen for one). As far as a pick that is widely available, I like the dunlop ultex, the 1.14 is fairly rigid and the tone is pretty decent.

thanks mreisz,

“foggy mountain breakdown” is a lot of fun, …thanks for the pick advice too …gonna pick up something when i get to defiance or fort wayne …theres not much around Paulding here in the way of music stores or anything lol …gonna maybe order something online too …

thanks Ben …cant wait to get some new picks and get started with them !!!

well it’s up to about 80% speed cleanly …it’s tough to get past that right now and play cleanly …but im still working on it ! got some dunlop 1.5 picks too …kind of an adjustment and I need new strings lol …gonna try some of the elixirs Ben mentioned in the How to Change strings vid …

any other ideas on good strings besides the Elixirs??

thanks all

Keep on Pickin’ and Grinnin"


I’d say 80% cleanly is fast enough to sound great. Great job! I know it can be hard to celebrate when you haven’t reached where you want, but I think you should anyway.

You asked about strings… here’s an ongoing discussion on that very subject.

thanks Mike , that does help …yeah it’s hard to celebrate it at 80% but it does feel good to have it up to that speed …i just always wanna do everything right and up to full speed …lol …I’ll get it tho sometime soon …

here it is at 85% …still need new strings and gonna keep practicing it …'til i get it up to speed …just thought id post to get thoughts …thanks all


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Very good Ron. I liked it a lot.

Thanks Jack , needs work but I love it and gonna practice , practice, practice !!! lol …

gotta keep pickin’ and grinnin’


Thanks so much Ben ! Still workin on it !


Sounds great. I admire your persistence. Like Mike said, it’s already plenty fast to sound good. I think as pickers it’s easy to get obsessed with gaining maxmum speed, when casual listeners aren’t going to tell the difference between 235 bpm and 275 bpm -either way sounds fast to them.

I do, however, understand your need for speed. I hadn’t tried playing FMB with the .tef file in months, but this thread got me wondering if I could reach 100%, now. Sadly, the answer is still no, but I’ll keep trying.

thanks so much …it is a lot of fun …and now that i have it there …gonna keep trying to get it up to speed …but feels good to do it at 85% …when i started couldnt do it at 50 % lol …still need to clean it up here and there but Im an inspired picker now !!!

just wanna keep learning daily !!!

Keep on pickin n grinning !!!


Sound good to me too Ron.

Keep it up!

Thanks Mark ! …been working on it a few days …gonna keep pickin’ til I cant no more lol …
Have a good one


Great job Ron! That’s pretty sweet.
Your original post got me started into it last week. I am still learning the notes. So if you want to feel like you are blazing, just call me up and listen to me peck away at it :slight_smile:
I do think 230-240 is plenty fast enough that if it never gets faster, that’s perfectly fine. I don’t play much of anything at 275. Well, I guess I could play the tambourine part from the tef at that speed… let me know if you need a tambourine player. Keep pushing though… I think you have it in ya.

Thanks Mike…yep gonna keep pushin and pickin til i get it …already a bit faster …like 90% now …but i have to gaurd against trying to play faster too soon …trying to get it a bit cleaner too …but ive put in a lot of practice .lol …not sure wha t my next tune will be quite yet but ill be moving on to it soon …keep on pickin …feels good to get some positive response to all my work so far …thanks all …

just wanna be the best picker i can be and this site is the place to help with that …both because of Ben and all the other fine pickers here for all the encouragement and tips you all give …

thanks again everyone …cant wait to see some of my fellow pickers post some vids to inspire me more …


A year later now, How is it progressing? Sorry I can’t offer any inspiration but I will take what you have given me. I think I have finally got the notes down. Speed still very erratic. The video sounded pretty seasoned to me. I hope to get that far.