Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Introduce yourself!

This is a thread for new forum members to say hello, ask any questions about the forum, and tell us a bit about your musical journey! Welcome to!


Hi, I’m new as of last month, so I’ll introduce myself here! :slight_smile: My name is Libby and I live in GA. I play bluegrass guitar in my family band, Headin’ Home Bluegrass. I first started playing guitar 9 years ago, when I was 10 years old, but I didn’t start learning bluegrass until 3 years ago. I study with Bryan Sutton and Jake Workman, and of course now Banjo Ben too! :smile: I have two guitars, a Martin 1968 D-28 and a Martin 2019 D-18 Sinker. Though I still have a lot to learn on my flatpick guitar journey, I think it is the most fun and thrilling instrument in the whole world and I love the sound of it - I can’t wait to dive into the site here more fully and keep on improving!


Hey everyone!

My name is Dano and I live in Oak Park Illinois! I joined as a Gold Pick member last week and am excited to get to meet some cool people, learn the banjo, and have fun! Here’s a little about me: I finally bought a banjo the end of 2019. I fell in love with the instrument listening to my favorite band The Avett Brothers. Wanting to emulate their sound and jam with my brothers (they play bass and guitar) I thought it was time I pick an instrument. I have been learning on my own out of an Earl Scruggs book and have been having a blast jamming with my friends. Now it is time to get serious. I am stoked to see what will happen if i invest in some time with Banjo Ben!


Hi all!

My name is Stephen and I’ve been a member for a while but really didn’t get into the Forum until the first Quarantine Contest (Will the Circle…). I live in Raleigh NC and have played guitar for many (many) years taking up bluegrass about a year and a half ago and man is it a lot of fun to play! Prior to that I was really just a chord banger in different church folk groups. Playing a lead line and flat-picking are new skills for me. I recently picked up a mandolin from the General Store and have enjoyed starting the learning process from the beginning!


Hi everyone!

My name is Timothy and I play mainly banjo but a little guitar as well. I study with Noam Pikelny and Tony Trischka on, Skype lessons with Jake Workman, and Banjo and guitar lessons with Banjo Ben. I got my first banjo in May of 2014 so almost 6 years. My main banjo is a custom Handmade Randy Wood Featherlight Performance banjo which I just got last September. Very excited to keep working on new lessons and the Banjo Ben contests as well!


Hi everyone, I’m also new to this site as of one month ago! I’ve enjoyed being here already and am excited to delve into it more! I bought my first mandolin in May 2016 on Amazon :slight_smile: , so it’s almost been 4 years of playing! I play a mandolin handmade by Doug Clark in Canton, NC which I got in March, 2019. I currently study with Jake Workman, Mike Marshall, and Banjo Ben! :musical_note: Thanks for hosting this site @BanjoBen!


My name’s Luke. I’ve been a Silver Pick member for a few years, but finally got my Gold Pick membership last month after the Cabin Fever contest. I also got a banjo in 2014 and got a Randy Wood Featherlite banjo last year as well.

I played bass in our family band for a couple years, but I switched my primary instrument from bass to dobro in November of 2018, and that’s what I currently play in the group. I have a Beard Josh Swift Signature and a Beard Deco Phonic model 57.

I’ve really enjoyed this site for learning banjo tunes, and it’s even inspired me to learn a few songs on the guitar, which I haven’t played much in the past. Thanks Banjo Ben!


My name is Scott Wilson and I’m new to the forum as of a month ago. I’ve been following @BanjoBen for about 11 years or so and finally became a gold pick member about 5 years ago. I play the guitar and have started going through the banjo curriculum and just went to cabin camp a month ago. Whoever has the means in the future DO IT!!! It was so much fun, not at all intimidating, and you’ll learn so much. I live in eastern Ohio so if anyone is ever in the area hit me up! Glad to be on the forum and part of such an amazing group of people! Thank you @BanjoBen


Man, Scott. I thought you were a “new guy.” 11 years?! You’re like an O. G.!


Wow, you must have been following him way back in the living room lessons era!
I didn’t know you played banjo as well!


The first song I learned was Gold Rush and if I’m remembering it correctly he may have been holding a hand written tab up in between licks haha.


My name is Josiah, and I have been a gold pick member since December. I started learning how to play the guitar a few years ago, but got discouraged and quit. Just a year ago I really started to learn and have been playing ever since. I am a born again Christian and am a pastor’s son. I play and understand the banjo :banjo: more than the guitar, and also play the piano, some bass, mandolin, and a little bit of the dobro. I have really enjoyed this site and enjoy @BanjoBen and am thankful for all the time and effort he (and others ) have put in this site. Thanks Mr. Ben!!


Good to meet you Josiah. I’m looking forward to seeing you around the board.


Kevin here from Connecticut (PS: I may be the only Banjo player in Connecticut! Heck! you cant even buy one in this state! LOL). I fell in love with the Banjo at a very young age but was from a big family and we didn’t have money for things like that back then. Anyways, I am now much older and have a lot more money in my pocket then when I was 13. I bought a banjo 6 years ago and started listening to the Murphy method and banjo Ben. Both are excellent teachers! and both were right…you want to become a good banjo player it takes …Practice Practice and Practice…then when ya done with that…More practice…:slight_smile:


Hey Kevin! Glad to have you here. If only there were a way to get good without so much practice, right? :grin:


Well now I have to post something… Jim here from Connecticut. From what I hear, I’m not the only banjo player in Connecticut. Perhaps the only one in the Northeast corner? Anyway I messed around with the banjo several years ago but never really got anywhere. Then I found Banjo Ben’s site, became a gold member a few months ago, and have been making much better progress thanks to Ben.


Hey Jim! The board says the last time you posted was 4 months ago. Glad you decided to stick around. Every state needs more banjo players… especially up in New England. :laughing:


My name is Rich and I live in Sheridan, Wyoming. I’ve played guitar off/on for quite a while just for my own enjoyment, never had any lessons or anything. I play a Taylor 714ce, the first guitar I ever owned, purchased about 25 years ago. I started playing guitar in church worship teams over the years. My first was a small church plant that needed a guitar player so I stepped up even though it was terrifying for me to play in front of people. After the set I would literally get off the stage as fast as I could and go hide, certain that I was the worst guitar player in the world! I grew through that and eventually was playing at a different, very large church for a few thousand people. I stepped back from that several years ago, just back to on and off playing at home. At the end of last year I was getting bored playing the same things all
the time, not having any goals or challenges to interest me, so I thought I’d try this flatpicking thing! I had never listened to any bluegrass music before, so it’s all new to me. I found BanjoBen and became a gold pick member pretty much right away in February. My wife also got me a used banjo for Christmas so I’ve started working on that a little bit as well. After radically changing my pick and grip (and trying to actually practice!), I’m making good progress, and I’m excited to be going to the October cabin camp for guitar!


Hello ya’ll,
I just joined the site a few weeks ago and wow! it’s like an Ice Berg… a little showing on the top and a continent of massive girth below.

I’ve played Banjo, Guitar and Ukulele since I was about 12.
My mother took guitar lessons and I sat around the corner eaves dropping, as “children” were not allowed to interact with adults at work in my family.
So as a latch key kid and only child I was not allowed to go out of the house unless parents were home, So, I’d pull out her guitar and practice what she was taught while she was at work.
Unfortunately for me, she wasn’t getting it and gave up after a year and my round the corner secret guitar lessons stopped.

She also had a Vega banjo and a Pete Seeger “How to play the 5 String Banjo” Record that she intended to use but after her guitar failure, it just sat in the closet.
I dug it out and beat that record up learning to play like Pete Seeger but alas, he never taught 3 finger style on that record. He just said in the book; this is how Earl Scruggs does it, but it never made sense to me at that age.

I kept playing to myself when no one was home (embarrassed to let anyone know I could play), but my family eventually figured it out and my parents bought me a limited edition Conn folk guitar of my own and gave me the banjo.

I eventually hooked up with a couple of people to sing PPM folk songs at events here and there (never for pay, mom wouldn’t allow it), as I could emulate Paul Stookey’s folk picking on the guitar.

After high school I moved away, went to college, got married, moved again to California, had kids and was in college classes part and full time for most of my life.

Through all of this, life happened.
I played when I could but wasn’t diligent as most of those whom I’d find to play with were just strummers and I would get bored because I always ended up spending my precious music time just trying to teach them music theory, different strumming techniques, maybe some songs and the biggest request was how to play 4 finger folk guitar. Worse, my wife at the time was not supportive of music as continuing with school and keeping up grades, being with the family physically and mentally, was the priority. She was not musically gifted and thought it a waste of time as music just took me away from the family.

I eventually graduated college suma cum laude and had a great and busy career in law for the State of California, AT&T, VP of IT for a multi billion dollar Bank and a National Publisher.My first wife left me and I re-married and more life happened.

I was privileged to take an early retirement and took some much needed ME time.
I finished my PhD in behavioral psych, bought a plane and got my private/instrument ticket and have had a wonderful time looking down at the earth for thousands of hours traveling all over.

Because of our mobility with a plane, we bought a small ranch high in the mountain desert of Eastern Utah where we moved after my wife retired. We moved my aging parents there to take care of them, which is more than a full time job as mom’s Alzheimers was really hard on us all. Her passing was an enormous blessing and relief for her, dad and the rest of us.
He’s now 90 and very easy to take care of and since my wife also appreciates music, the other day I decided that I’m going to take my 1 hour a night TV time and move it to music.
Well, temper that with ranch chores and life getting in the way, AGAIN!!

So, I retrieved my guitars, banjos, ukuleles from everywhere they were stored (thankfully they were stored in a 50% humid environment so they’re in great shape) and started playing again.
I even inherited a custom made mandolin that I had commissioned for my mother many years ago that she never learned to play.

The best learning I ever had was in limited sessions jammin and learning with other great players so with technology (vs an old Pete Seeger Record for instruction and slowing down 33.3rmp records to hear the licks) this looked like a great place to start my journey back.
I’ve been working on my calluses and finger agility for a while now and now feel ready to step up.

I was old school, frailing, claw and double thumbing and never learned 3 finger picking but as I’ve watched Banjo Ben through the years I loved his videoettes and teaching style…
Already I’ve got a good hold on 3 finger from just a couple weeks here…Thanks Ben

But here’s the Problem…
I’m an old school ole’fart who has and can do tech but I’m lost on this site…
My Time is still very precious (I have an hour a day set aside so far) so I’ve been looking for a first timer video here, something like…
"How to Use This Site" to show me how all of your high techies do it, but I don’t think one exists
I know there are many ways to practice and many cool tech files with all of this new formats so I’m looking for the How Too’s…
Because I know that there are easier/faster ways to learn from the Masters here, (I just sense it) but assembling it all together would be a lot faster if there were a Techie “How to Use This Site-Road Map”!
If you’ve read this far, thank you and congratulations… you should add another point to your I.Q.!


Hey Brad! Welcome to the forum! I love your description of the site as an iceberg. I never thought about it that way, but that’s sure what it is.

I don’t recall there being any “how to navigate the site” videos, but it’s really pretty simple. At the top, pick the instrument you want to learn. You’ll then see a list of lessons for that instrument. For the banjo, you can even pick Learning Tracks based on your experience level.

Once on a lesson page, the lesson videos are selected on the left below the main video. Tabs in both PDF and TEF format and MP3 jam tracks are below and to the right.

I highly recommend using the TEF files. It makes learning from tab 10 times easier.

If you still feel confused, shoot me a private message. We can do a phone call and I’ll remote in to your PC to show you how to get things set up.

Glad to have you! Looking forward to seeing you around the board.