Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Keith Brown from Wake Forest, NC!

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
My dad has an old banjo that has sat for a long time - he played it back when he was in the Navy over 50 years ago! I wanted to rekindle that interest in him by playing one myself. Plus, I’ve always loved Bluegrass and Americana but that interest increased dramatically after I moved to North Carolina several years ago. Finally, the quarantine that we all endured allowed me the opportunity to pick up a new hobby that I knew I would enjoy well beyond this crazy year!

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
Only 2+ months - and the first time I’ve ever even picked up a stringed instrument. My motivation is that I love it, am having a blast learning something new, and look forward to being able to play well enough to jam with friends.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
The roll studies for banjo. Very helpful! Oh, and I can’t dismiss the “Banjo Boot Camp” as there were some fundamental things that I was not doing correctly initially.

What’s your goal when playing?
Though it has only been a few months, I’m realizing that I really need to improve in accuracy, expand and learn the fundamentals, and probably most importantly to establish a very strong sense of timing. I want to learn the right things and not have to break bad habits that I pick up.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I have played a bit of piano and started learning it as an adult. And I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily playing music… yet. Ultimately, I’m pretty much game to play anything!

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I like the Earl Scruggs version of banjo picking versus the clawhammer technique. It suits me better.

If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
No interest in playing in a band - I just want to enjoy playing it both by myself and with friends.

What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
A strap! I didn’t have one and had been playing/practicing every day for about a month. Then I watched the “boot camp” video and realized that I really needed one.

If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
No clue. I love my Deering Goodtime 2 and don’t see a need to buy others… yet.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Tough question - I love to sleep. Family time, banjo time, baseball time, game time.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I really like Banjo Ben’s approach. It is both informative and technical yet enables quick and positive feedback and results. I watched several other beginning banjo training and though they were certainly helpful, I realized that I was already learning bad habits and didn’t understand the why behind the what. Ben’s combination suits me very well.

How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
Typical searching on Youtube for videos on how to play the banjo. I then visited the site and sampled several videos. The more I watched, the more it resonated with me.

Thanks for letting us feature you @G8rBoy17


Hi Keith Brown! I too am Keith Brown…from Mid-Missouri!


@G8rBoy17, congrats on being selected as the GPOTW! Thanks for sharing your story and hope you will continue to interact with fellow forum-goers here. It’s amazing what else can be learned by asking questions or reading some of the comments! I wish you great success in your musical journey and hope you’re successful in getting your dad jump-started!


Keith! Congrats on GPOTW! I live in Raleigh - we need to get together and do some pickin’!



congrats to you! keep pickin


Congratulations, Keith!


Congrats on being gold pick member of the week!


Congrats Keith. Many of your answers sound real familiar and I can relate to them. It’s good to know we’re not alone in our successes and challenges with learning bluegrass banjo. This is the best group to share the experience with.


WELCOME! sound’s like you got a good handle on the whole beginner part. Just keep up the fun and the practice and you’ll be playin ( and buyin that new Banjo :wink: ) in no time flat!!! :sunglasses:


Congrats and welcome! I hope to see you around the forum!


Congrats to you! hope to see you around lots :wink: