Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Hey Ben, How do you practice?

As a talented multi-instrumentalist, how do you divide up your practice routine between instruments to stay fresh on all of your instruments while still having time to live your life?


Good question :slightly_smiling_face: really looking forward to his response on this one !


I’m betting his job provides him all the practice time he needs on all 3 instruments he teaches. :slight_smile:

That doesn’t really work for the rest of us. Maybe I need a career change.


I guess it is not just time alone, I guess passion, self-motivation etc go along with to stay afresh. But time is most important as it is 3 weeks and I hardly touched my guitar, maybe I played only an hour in total. :frowning: I’d be interested to hear Ben’s routine too!


Here’s a highly unimpressive answer, ha! Sorry for the delay. I just spent the last 3 days in Missouri with Jake:


Thanks Ben! I appreciate the time!


Ben, this is a very topical discussion for me. When I was a little kid back in the 60’s (4 or 5 years old), I have vague/fuzzy memories of my Mom was showing me some of Grandpa’s stuff. He had recently passed away. I remember two things. One was a Pinocchio board game that I got to take home, and the second was an old banjo. My mom passed away when I was 10 years old, and I gradually sort of lost contact with her side of the family. Well, this year I was back in town over memorial day weekend and I made it a point to visit my Aunts and Uncles. I asked my uncle if Grandpa had played the banjo, and he told me that not only had Grandpa played the banjo, but that my cousin has his old banjo. Earlier this week, I contacted my cousin (whom I have not seen in probably 20 years) and asked him if he could send me some pictures of Grandpa’s banjo. To my surprise, he said he would do better than that, he would send it to me along with Grandpa’s old mandolin. He wanted them to be with someone that would play them. He is going to be out of town for the next three weeks, but in about a month I should have the banjo and the mandolin. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. I have no idea what type of instruments he had, or what condition they are in, but will treasure them both. I am secretly hoping for a prewar Gibson :slight_smile: To make a long story short, I have been working on learning to play the banjo for the last year or so. Now I feel an obligation to learn to play the Mandolin as well. When my cousin ships Grandpa’s instruments to me, they need to be played. Finding time to learn both will be the issue.


WOW!!! I can’t wait to see what they are! Of course, it doesn’t matter, they are so special regardless of the brand!


Ben that was a great response and I was surprised to learn that you don’t play everyday. I’m sure you will get back in the habit, you seem to have a lot of self discipline (going to the gym every day and all!) Life is super busy for us right now as well with two young kids, church, family, work, gym, and other stuff. I love to sit down and play, and I find that it helps me unwind. However, my wife gets frustrated at times if I go for several days without coming to bed on time. Sometimes when I miss practicing one day I feel guilty, but for the sake of my family I have learned that it’s ok to miss a day sometimes. Actually, I think it may be good for me to take short breaks. I’m sure you are like me in that my family comes first over music. It’s tough to keep all these balls in the air😁.


Hi all, I wanted to post a follow up. I made a trip back to Indiana this weekend to visit family and my cousin gave me Grandpa’s banjo. It turned out to be a Bacon and Day Silver Bell no 1. 19 fret tenor banjo in absolutely beautiful all original condition. From the serial number, I think it dates to 1926. The mandolin appears to be more recent. I am guessing the 70’s. There are no marks on it inside or out. Would it be sacrilege to get a 5 string conversion neck for the banjo? I am not finding any web resources to teach yourself tenor banjo. I tried to upload pictures, but the file size was to large.

Not to me. You’ll still have the original neck, so you can put it back to original condition whenever you want. If you really want to play that banjo, go for it!

Cool! If you want to leave it a tenor, the online academy of Irish music is a good site for learning tenor banjo. I guess it wouldn’t be sacrilegious. A while back the forum was not allowing any uploads photo or video saying they were too big, not sure if it’s fixed yet, but you can upload them to Facebook or dropbox or anything like that and share the link here

Wow Ben! I loved the reply! There seemed to be plenty of advice in there for me. :wink: Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into your students (like me! :joy:) and fellow players!
I just realized this post is from a while ago, but I just came across it. What I said is still true, @BanjoBen! :rofl::wink:

1 Like