Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Harry Brooks from Gainesville, Virginia


What do you do for a living?
I am a partner at a digital marketing agency,

What’s your instrument of choice and what was your inspiration to learn how to play?
I have a Huss & Dalton D-RH custom I had made back in 2006. I love it. After placing the order through a shop in Richmond, VA, I arranged to pick up the guitar from the “factory” in Staunten, VA. Meeting the builder and seeing the shop (the upstairs of an old garage) gave this particular guitar an aura that none of my other instruments has.

A few weeks ago, I wrote on the forum about my inspiration. I saw some teenager playing guitar at my friend’s house and he was awesome - ripping off heavy metal licks. I was awe-struck. I was taking lessons soon after.

Ages 11-13 - inspiration was to be awesome.
Ages 14-21 - inspiration was to get girls.
Ages 21-29 - inspiration was to be awesome.
Ages 30-35 - inspiration was to impress people.
Ages 36-now - inspiration is to have fun and teach my kids to love it as much as me.

What’s your goal when playing and how long have you been playing?
I love it when a song comes together. Playing alone 80% of the time, it’s just to play something resembling a complete song or tune. But that 20% when I’m playing with others or in front of others, I just want it all to come together in a meaningful, complete story. I love it when others in the camp start singing along, or when my little one (5) sings along, or when I’m playing a fiddle tune with another guitar player and we nail an ending. In short, I love it when it all comes together.

I started when I was 11 and I’m 46 now. I should be much better than I am with all those years!

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I like the Big Cheathum lesson. It’s always been a favorite of mine and over the years I kind of fell into a kind of boring way to play it. I took that lesson and used it for some new ideas and have some new phrases I sprinkle throughout the tune. I first learned it after I heard an early Clearance White recording playing it - WOW.
I’ve been a Gold Pick member for about 6 months or so, and I’m not going anywhere, either.

What’s your favorite hobby?
Lately it’s wrenching on my 1968 GTO. But My guitars are ALWAYS there - they’re a part of my personality now.

What’s the greatest place you’ve ever visited and why?
Tough question! In 2002 I planned my first trip to the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA. The trip was for the 1st Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum Get-Together. The first day, we met at Nazareth Park and had an open jam - we played fiddle tunes in the cabin and had a great time. The next day we toured the factory, met with Chris Martin, got my guitars signed and then had an evening get together in the hotel. That event is now going on it’s 17th year. Nowadays, they close the streets of Nazareth and the entire town gets involved. That first one, however, was really special. Not only was the trip a pilgrimage of sorts, but it was so novel back then - a small group of internet friends getting together, and actually pulling off a great time.


Nice to meet you, Harry! I love your inspiration time line. That’s hilarious! Hope to see you around the board.


Nice to meet you Harry and congrats on being selected for this weeks player of the week.


Way to go Harry Brooks. Congratulations!

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Pleasure to meet you Harry. I like how your room is set up!

Congrats Harry and nice to meet you, neighbor! I live just east of you in Manassas.

Hey Bob! That’s great - ever get to any local jams? We should try and meet up…

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Awesome profile! Thanks for sharing and congrats!