What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
The Beatles in 1964. My parents got me a 3/4 size guitar to learn on. Within a few years I was playing in a rock band all through college. After college, I met a guy who introduced me to acoustic music. We played folk, country, and some bluegrass music. This led to learning banjo, fiddle, and upright bass. I recently retired and decided to try my hand at playing the mandolin. I was fortunate to purchase a Northfield Big Mon mandolin from Ben’s General Store. I am halfway through Ben’s beginner mandolin series and loving it ! Banjo Ben’s teaching style is THE BEST!!!
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I’ve been playing since 1964 with occasional breaks due to other commitments. I love the acoustic sound and stringed instruments.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
For many years all my playing was within the first five frets. Ben’s unlocking the neck and playing up the neck lessons on banjo, guitar, and mandolin are both a challenge and eye opener for me. And I love the melodic banjo lessons.
What’s your goal when playing?
To play songs accurately with feeling! And to have fun doing it !
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I still enjoy playing the old rock tunes acoustically, as well as fiddle tunes and old time clawhammer tunes. Also the Christian, gospel, and Christmas songs that Ben teaches.
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I immediately joined as a lifetime Gold Pick member in 2017, when I saw the quality, humor, and dedication that Ben injects into his lessons.
How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
I ran across one of his lessons on You Tube. His web site intro by the guy in the mullet sealed the deal!!
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I was blessed with a discerning ear. I mostly play by ear and am able to pick out each instrument in a song ,including vocal harmonies. Learning to use tablatures has helped me to know which fingers to use!
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one. I am a fan of Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Chris Eldridge, and Brittany Haas. Maybe we could form a new band and I could play bass.
What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I’m a little behind the times when it comes to state-of-the-art in gear. The Snark tuner I got from the General Store has saved me a lot of time with tuning. I would love to get a couple of those Elliott capos though. $$$
If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
A Martin OOO-28HD guitar and a top quality resophonic guitar.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Play with other pickers for fun .
Anything else you’d like to add?
I look forward to the next lesson each week. Thanks Ben, Jake, and the rest of the crew for all you do to support this music and your students.