Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

James Martzin from Atlanta, Georgia

James Martzin during his Clemson days.

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I grew up listening to Going Across the Mountain every Saturday with my dad while we worked on cars. One day I found my great grandfather’s Gibson Mandolin hidden away in our house and I picked it up.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I have been playing something since I was 8 years old, when I learned I hated the piano. :joy:

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
The banjo theory with Alan Munde series had been incredibly useful, and I review it regularly.

What’s your goal when playing?
To get a smile.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I pick on the banjo mostly, but I also play with the mandolin and guitar. I’ve even been known to mess work the bagpipes.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
2 years I believe

What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I have a massive thumb so finding picks has been a struggle. The only ones I have found that work are Geipels.

If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
A huber banjo and a pre war Martin D-18

How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
Really I was trying to find a tab for some Earl Scruggs tunes when I ran across the website

Anything else you’d like to add?
What really got me started picking was the bluegrass program at Clemson University. The fine folks in Tigertown Roots were constantly pushing me to improve and learn new songs.


Congrats James! I like the bagpipes too, always wanted to learn. Who else started hating classical piano when they discovered bluegrass?:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Congrats James! I too love the bagpipes and hope to learn them one day. Hope to see you around the forum!


Mr Martin, this was my fav response! Brilliant!

Congrats on CPotW!

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Being a Scotsman, I always wanted to learn the bag pipes and march in the Black Watch! But I settled for banjo and love it. Great write up!



Congrats! You have a lot of musical interests! I traded my bagpipes in for a mandolin upgrade because I realized I was spreading myself like peanut butter!

Best wishes!

Jim R

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James, congrats on being CPotW! Thanks for sharing a bit of your story and cool photo. Glad to see another GA boy on here, although I live in SC nowadays.

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Great to meet you! I’m not far away down here in Gray. We’re doing a Christmas song this year at church that has a bag pipe part. Are you interested?

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