Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Great sounding Banjo!

Figured I’d post this one since I can’t get it out of my head. Is he in drop d tuning or something? Whatever it is, I can’t get enough of it!

Some tasty guitar licks in there too. R.I.P. Mr. Shelton.


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I’m guessing your referring to the guitar? Yes, 6th string is dropped to D.

Hey fiddlewood,

I was actually talking about the banjo. I guess it would be open D tuning instead of drop D wouldn’t it? I have no idea. :slight_smile:

I love the sound of the fiddle. It’s real mellow and woody. I wish he was a bit closer to the mic.

The fiddle definitely keeps the train vibe going through the tune. Sounds great!

I’ve been on a Ralph Stanley/Stanley Bros kick for the last week or so. So much great music.

ah, well yes the banjo is re-tuned also.

Funny thing is this song would be considered Rubens train (Scruggs) by most in the Mid West without the introduction. * Train 45 * is normally done in the dey of G in the Scruggs/Crowe style.

I’ve always thought they sounded similar. Seems like most of the time I hear “train 45” it’s blazing fast and “reuben” or “reuben’s train” is more laid back. I’ve heard a version of “train 45” with lyrics but can’t find any for “reuben”.

Rueben’s Train has lyrics but I can’t tell you where to find them.

An old band I was in used to do* Rueben* lyrics while performing* Train 45*

"Rueben had a train
You could hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
oh me, oh my
you could hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

Ahh, those are Reuben’s Train lyrics. These guys sing the same thing and the video is titled Train 45.

Lyrics start about 1:20


Is the banjo in open g tuning with the 5th string capo to the A kinda sounds like it to me but my wife keeps saying i cant hear anything but that is only when she wants me to do work

open G tuning has 5th tuned to G and played open (what we usually hear).

5th at A will match when playing out of key of D or A.

The 5th string is normally a drone note. The best drones are usually the I or V notes in Western music. Using a II note as a drone makes for some “different” sounds as you progress through the chords of the key you are in, just to try and keep it easy theory-wise.

Ralph’s banjo is not what you usually see bluegrass pickers playing. What I’m referring to is that the banjo is an arch top as opposed to the usual flat head most often seen. I believe it is a 1927 Gibson no hole (most had 40 holes) tone ring.
The arch tops in general have a very different sound than the flat heads (although set up has an impact).