Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Getting Lost with chord changes

Hi Ben!
It has been a while!
My question is…when I start a break (even on a song I am very familiar with) I lose track of the chord changes…I seem to be playing on instinct only and get lost on timing and chord changes…For instance, when you were taking a G run break, in the middle of Blackberry Blossom, and knew what chord you were coming back onto is mystical to me…

Any thoughts on how I can reinforce chord change and measure count clarity in my mind while attempting to take a break? It is truly awful if I am only slightly familiar with the song…

Your thoughts would be appreciated!
Ron Rapp


@risky Hi Ron.

I’m not Ben, but one way that works for me is to work on the rhythm to the piece until it becomes second nature…

Being intimately familiar with the chord structure makes figuring out how to play over it much easier.

Far too often people practice leads and ignore the work it takes to get the correct rhythm (or backup for that matter) down cold.

Lead players come a dime a dozen these days, but a great rhythm player is a rare gem.


Where would you suggest one to go to learn how to be a good rhythm player?


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Do you happen to use the TEF files in the lessons? If not, that’s a great place to start. You can play along with the lead instrument until you have it down, then turn down the lead instrument module and play along with the background module.

Or better still, once you’re comfortable with the lead, play with Ben’s jam tracks. That’s about as close to playing with a band as you’ll get without getting live people involved.


You may have missed my point…spending the time to learn, ingrain & improve your rhythm will give you better understanding of what you are playing over when you take a lead…which is my answer to the question in the OP.

When playing with others we spend far more time playing rhythm (or backup) than playing lead breaks…it only stands to reason we would want to be at least as proficient at supporting others as we are in taking “center stage” while others support our efforts…


A desire of mine, that I am very lacking in, is being able to play backup. That is the only reason for my question. There are songs that I know the lead for that I do not have a clue on the backup so I am wanting to complete the song by learning and feeling comfortable with being able to play backup for the entire song.

Thanks for the input.


Check these out, @boonem: