Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Foggy Mountain TEFdown

Hey All,

Ben doesn’t have Foggy Mountain Breakdown on the site. I was reminded again last night that its an essential in learning many of the Scruggs style moves. So I guess I’ll give it a chance and learn it.

Check this TEF file and let me know if its ok. It looks and sounds fine to me.

NOTE: For some reason I can’t get the file to upload from my computer. Helps?

I don’t see a file.

Mark, yes I am trying to upload from computer. Not having luck.

When you’re tying your post, there’s a menu list above the text. Have you tried clicking on the upload icon? It looks like this.


If so, are you getting an error?

@BanjoBen what am I doing wrong? Trying to upload TEF. On the options menu I click on the arrow up upload button attach file and hit upload and it never uploads. Thanks.

Exactly what I am doing. Still not uploading. Thanks Mark.

The forum has been having some upload issues that Ben has been working on. In the meantime, I’ve been using a free Google drive account and posting the links here. Been working fine so far.

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I’m thinking Foggy Mountain Breakdown is one of the lessons Ben had to take down from his old site due to copyright laws. I know he’s trying to make everything legal for us and for him, so there will be some lessons that we will have to purchase rights to, but I’m not sure when that is going to take place.

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Hi Jason, If you look in the beginners learning track you will find Ben has a lesson on the Foggy Mountain Lick.

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Hi Rance, I could be wrong but I don’t recall Ben teaching Foggy Mountain Breakdown on the old site. Check his YouTube channel you might find an old video. There’s lots of versions out there on the WWW. Rob Bourassa has one on the Banjo Hangout. Murphy Henry did a beginners arrangement on her DVDs set.

He used to have one on his old site. It was a free lesson.

I learned the standard break from Rob and the down the neck break from Murphy. I never tried Ben’s arrangement.

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Y’all feel free to post it here, and I’m sorry for the upload issues…I’m working through a bunch of stuff here. Ban-FoggyMountainBD.tef (6.6 KB)

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By the way, it uploaded fine for me.

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thanks Ben

Quick question: On FMB in the the TEF file on measure 3 you have two quick hammer ons with finger 1/2 and then T/2. Could a person go 1/2 and 1/2 again and could that save time or be smoother for particular persons? I know at times Ben has said sometimes you can vary and sometimes you have to stick right with what the fingering pattern is. Without the video I’m not sure.

Hi Jason, Yes it’s possible to play the FMB roll with Index - Hammer, index-Hammer, many people play the lick that way. But it’s widely recorded that Earl Scruggs played it as Index-Hammer Thumb-Hammer the thumb coming down to strike the second string and giving more emphasis to note. IMTMTIMT 12125215

Does it save time ? No not really, Smoother nah not really if anything it’s a little more jerky using the index twice at least to my ear. As a beginner this is perhaps the most difficult roll pattern to play. Take your time learn to do it properly with the thumb the way Earl did it. In the long term you will be glad you spent the time working on it. If you set your mind to it you should nail it in a week easy.

Yes there are times you might want to play Index - Hammer, index-Hammer but not on FMB. Ben is a great teacher listen to his wisdom and you won’t go far wrong. Check out Ben’s Video lesson


If you’re just now learning FMB, you definitely want to learn that section by playing 1/2 - T/2. At slower speeds, it really won’t matter, but that song was written to be played at 162 BPM. At full speed, playing 1/2 - 1/2 will be next to impossible and make it sound smooth.

Even beyond that, though, it’s just good practice to not play 1/2 - 1/2. It will almost always sound smoother as 1/2 - T/2.



Thanks Mark

Yep, watch that lesson Archie linked to. I will say that Russ Carson (banjo picker for Skaggs) can play 1/2 1/2 BLAZINGLY fast, but that is not common as most all fast pickers alternate with their thumb.

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