Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Jimmy McBride from Greenwood, Mississippi


What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I grew up listening to bluegrass, country and gospel music. My Dad also played mandolin mostly for his own enjoyment and I always thought it would be fun to learn to play but never took it seriously. My Dad passed away in 2013 at the young age of 93! I took his old mandolin for a keepsake and after a while I started to fool around with it and search for teaching resources and found Banjo, and well at 71 here I am trying to learn. I guess it just shows, you are never too old to learn something new.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I Started out strumming guitar when I was younger, and my Dad and sister and a brother and I used to sing in church, so I have always enjoyed music, now my motivation is simply self enjoyment, playing with people at church and learning something new, even at my age.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I would have to say the entire site. I am still in the beginner stage and every lesson has been a learning experience for me. First of all, a teacher that obviously knows his craft, and makes you feel like you can learn and accomplish your goal. So every lesson is and improvement. Now if I can improve on my practice discipline, which is lacking at times, I will be happy.

How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
Researching mando lessons on line and came across your site and liked what I saw and read so I signed up. Good move and a bargain.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
About four years I think.

What’s your goal when playing?
My goal is to learn something new each time I pick up the mandolin, don’t give up, and enjoy myself.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
Old country, bluegrass and gospel and still strumming the guitar on occasion.

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?

What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
A Breedlove A style mandolin, an Eastman 515 varnish from none other than Banjo Ben, a good strap, tuner and various picks which I’m still trying to learn to control!

If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
Probably a Gibson mandolin.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Practice, Lord knows, I can use that.

Anything else you’d like to add? Can we share this or is this private feedback?
I can only say, is to me, an excellent source for learning an instrument at your own pace. Ben gives you the feeling he really cares about his students and you can learn this. I believe ya’ll have an entire group that adopts this same philosophy. It’s a pleasure being a part of this site and I look forward to learning more as I go along. Also love the store and the forum.


Congrats on being GPOTW Jimmy! Hope to see you around the forum!

Congrats Jimmy. BTW I am 72 and still learning

1 Like

That’s awesome. And just think, you have a whole year’s experience more than if you had waited one year later!

Nice to meet you!