What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
When I was 8 years old my mom basically asked if I wanted to learn an instrument and for some reason I said banjo. I have no clue how I even knew what a banjo was. Anyway, she found a teacher in town and I started taking lessons. After 2 years I stopped the lessons as I started to lose interest, but later on got back in to it and am so grateful for those early lessons!
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I started playing when I was 8, but didn’t play with any regularity for a while. I started “picking” it back up around 10 years ago now, but am far from being as good as you would expect a 10 yr player to be! When I graduated college and moved to Cincinnati my friend Matt and I started playing at a weekly jam in Covington which really gave me motivation to start improving again. My uncle also started playing guitar and quickly surpassed my abilities, so part of my motivation is being ready to play some tunes with him whenever the holidays roll around. I enjoy the challenge of building the skill and learning new material. Admittedly, I also get a kick out of the novelty factor.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I really enjoyed learning Red Haired Boy last year as it always comes up at jams and I was excited to finally learn a good break. I love the Angeline the Baker arrangement as well. My plan is to work through the Cherokee Shuffle lesson next. You may notice a pattern…I’m a fan of the fiddle tunes.
What’s your goal when playing?
Other than just finding time to play, the main goal is to have fun. I’ve mostly spent the practice time I get learning songs. So the goal is to learn a little piece each time I sit down to practice. Even if it is just one short phrase or measure. Then once I can play through a song by memory I’ll work on getting it up to a reasonable speed.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I enjoy playing simple stuff on the guitar, like some John Prine or Tyler Childers. I’m also interested in learning how to incorporate the banjo into our worship band at church. I’ve been asked a couple times if I wanted to join in, but haven’t been able to figure out how to blend the banjo into some of the more contemporary worship tunes. (Ben - Maybe an idea for a future lesson??)
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I think around 2 to 3 years
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I mostly play Scruggs style, but love learning melodic and clawhammer tunes as well.
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
That’s tough. Maybe Del McCoury or Balsam Range for the sound. I couldn’t name one song by Town Mountain, but it seems like those guys have a good time.
What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I’ve started to use the Pro Metronome app for practice which has been really helpful. Also I think the Banjo Ben camo ball cap has increased my playing ability at least 10%.
If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
Not sure I would call it a “dream instrument”, but I’ve been wanting to get my hands on one of those Twangers! Or I guess I would settle for a nice Huber.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just want to say thanks to Ben and all the other folks involved who continue to provide good content and customer support, even in the midst of tornadoes and pandemics. Also, hope everyone stays safe and healthy during these times.