Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Jeff Wilson from Covington, Ohio


What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site?
I have two all time favorite guitar lessons… “Jazzy Joy to the World” to start with. The way Ben entertains can sometimes make you forget that it’s even a lesson. I was able to pick this one up much easier than I thought I would. On the other hand, some of the lessons that I thought would come easy, I’m still struggling with and trying to concquer. “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” was a turning point for me. I had gotten into a rut and it didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere. This lesson opened up my playing and made it fun again. Thank you Ben! I also love the Collings CW in this video.

What’s your instrument of choice and what was your inspiration to learn how to play?
I favor Guitar almost exclusively. I have a really nice mandolin, but it just doesn’t click with me. The interest just isn’t there. I’ve never tried banjo and I’ve never really had an interest in playing one. Please don’t get me wrong, these instruments are all equally important and I highly respect all the players of them. I enjoy the sounds of every instrument, but for playing, I favor guitar. My biggest inspiration was Steve Kauffman. I started taking my playing very serious after discovering him. And of course Doc and Tony! And then I met Adam McCintosh… But being a member of Ben’s “family” has kept me more on track than anything else!

What’s your goal when playing?
My goal when playing is to of course improve! But beyond that, I really wish I could conquer my nervousness when playing special music in church or in front of anyone in general. I believe the Lord has led me to play, but I get so nervous. It almost takes the joy out of it. It also causes me to make many mistakes and I can’t play nearly as well as I can at home. I will never stop because of this, I just wish it would come easier.

How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing since I was a teenager, so around 40 years or so. It doesn’t quite sound like I’ve been playing that long.

What’s your favorite hobby?
My two favorite hobbies are behind me in the photo. I’m a Mopar Muscle and Classics car guy and my wife Annetta and I have been restoring our late 1800’s farmhouse for the last 28 years. I like working on about anything old and transforming it in to something good and useful. Most importantly before our hobbies and interests is serving the Lord.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I too remember the video Mike R spoke of with the hand written tab and Ben playing that Taylor. I became a lifetime member a few months after in September of 2012 and have enjoyed it immensely. Ben is a great teacher and a highly talented musician. And what a great person. I want to thank you Ben for all you do!

What do you do for a living?
I am an On Site Propane Technician… I travel to propane companies and perform inspections and calibrations on delivery trucks as well as repairs. I usually stay on site in my truck sleeper and make it back home on the weekends. I get alot of off time in the winter when they are busy to make up for the time spent on the road.


Great to get to know more about you Jeff!

For those who haven’t heard Jeff play, he’s a great picker.

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Congrats Jeff nice getting to know you.

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Nice! I am a (reformed) Mopar nut. Still like them the best though. There weren’t too many of the classic Mopars (68-74) that I didn’t own at one time or another. But the one you are leaning on is one that escaped me. You obviously park that car in a garage. It looks good. The house and property look good too. You guys in Ohio have it made. Even have a porch ready made for pickin’ (right after you mow the lawn).

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Very Nice to meet you Jeff. Nice profile.

What kind of Mandolin do you have? Any interest to sell it? I just bought a Eastman MD315 myself - but I expect others would be interested in playing it if you aren’t.

As far as playing… just try to play “passively” in public places… at home on the porch (when others are nearby) or at a park or something. If they notice or not, just do your practicing like you were alone.

In doing so… you won’t put pressure on yourself but having others near may help you start to break the nerves slowly - at YOUR pace.

Just an idea

Thanks for sharing and Congrats!


Congratulations Jeff and welcome to the club! Nice learning about you and that’s one sweet ride!

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Thanks to you all for your comments. It’s an honor to be a part of all that Ben is doing and it’s great getting to know the family here.

Mike R is an awesome picker himself and can get great tone out of his instruments, especially his shadetop D-18GE.

Thanks Archie, I appreciate your posts and conversations.

Mr Mole, yes it stays in the barn, but it gets driven as much as I have time for. It’s not a show car, just a nice driver quality car that I enjoy working on. I’m currently rebuilding the entire front suspension and converting to power disc brakes. If it was a show car, I would be bored with it. I want something to actually drive and work on. It’s a '67 Dodge Coronet. My goal is a '68 Roadrunner (4 speed of course)… someday maybe.

We built the porch years ago and yes, there’s plenty of mowing to do.

Will, thanks for the suggestions / advice. I should give what you said a try. I would still most likely be nervous even doing that, but it’s worth a try and a good suggestion.

My mandolin is a Jason Harshbarger “Copperhead” F model. Very nice mandolin. Dan at Smoky Mountain Guitars was selling these for Jason at one point but I think Jason is buiding other instruments now. I got this one used. If anyone is interested, please let me know. When Dan was selling these, he said they were right up there with Collings and even Altman.

Thanks Bob and I appreciate your service. I did three years in the Army ('82 thru '85). Sometimes I wish I would have made it a career and retired from it. I had some great times and learned alot.

God Bless all!


Nice to meet you Jeff and congratulations.


Nice ride, Jeff! I have a 68 GTO myself… wanna race? :slight_smile:


Welcome Jeff and God Bless. Banjo Ben is the man! Best lessons ever from a really nice guy!


I was in the USAF - ‘84 to ‘90. Thank you for your service!


Well done Jeff Wilson. Congratulations! Awesome picture too! All colors blend nicely. Mine was a 69 Satellite. Many of my kin live near you. My Uncle was a leader at the Rosedale Baptist Church there in Covington for over 60 years. He lived in the house pictured next to the Church, if you happen to Google it. Spent many a day there as a kid playing at that house on 45th street. We may have even played together as kids at some point Lol!

I’ve also enjoyed learning “Joy to the World". Banjo though. And not the jazzy version, yet! :grinning:

Best of luck to you.
B. Black


Covington Ohio! Not Kentucky… Oh for crying out loud! Just realized my mistake…:blush:

B. Black

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Thank you Roger, good meeting you as well!

Bredfan, sure, we can race and if I win, I can say: "I really got your goat!! Ha, just kidding. I’d like to see some pics.

Nmnsaime, Ben is the man, you’re absolutely right!

Will, thank you for your service! Very much appreciated! I was in southern Germany in '84, I loved it very much and would like to go back sometime.

Butch, no problem! That happens alot actually. In fact, you’re not the first on the forum here. I bet you’d like to have that Satellite back. I looked up Rosedale Baptist Church. I imagine the Pastor has a little competition with the train noise at times being right on the tracks as it is. Looks like a very nice Church!

Thanks all!

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@jw11 Awsome car and beautiful home! Restoring old homes can be a major job but is very rewarding when you get it done.

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I believe the nervous problem will abate and you will be right up there with Doc and Tony Rice , I heard that quality in your playing the day you stopped in and visited with me. I am about done can’t hardly hold a pick any more but i still try. It is great to have people like you for who you are and I have found that here . Congrats on being gold picker of the week .