What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
This goes all the way back to hearing John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. That lit a fire under me to play the banjo. I then moved onto guitar and, recently, the mandolin.
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I started while in high school, just prior to the great “Deliverance Banjo Scare”…
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I’ve gained a lot from all I’ve tried, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. My favorite lately has been the “Mandolin Fretboard Geography” lesson. That really opened things up for me.
What’s your goal when playing?
My primary goal is to just show improvement every time I play. I’ve been fortunate to finally lose the competitiveness with other players and just enjoy the “journey” to better playing.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I stepped away from playing music for about 20 years. When I started up again, I found that listening to all styles of music while away, had really broadened my approach to playing.
I started with an interest in bluegrass and, I’m now into swing, blues, and old-style country. I’m fortunate to play in a few groups and, your lessons have helped me greatly improve.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Obviously, practice more! I actually find myself going over music while I sleep anyway!
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I joined in September of 2018. It’s been worth every penny! I haven’t taken a lesson since I was young and love Ben’s approach.
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
Right now, I spend most of my time flatpicking guitar. I’ve recently pulled my banjo out from under the bed and returned to playing it, too. I built an F5 mandolin last year so, the lessons complete the trifecta!
What artist(s) most inspire you?
Tony Rice, JD Crowe, Norman Blake, David Bromberg… where to stop? Of course, Ben has become a tremendous influence!
What do you do for a living?
I was a professional cinematographer before recently retiring. I’m presently a luthier, doing repairs and, specializing in rebuilding vintage guitars.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I’ve had a pretty adventurous life and, I’m actually very happy spending my time working with instruments and picking with friends. I live in some beautiful country and live just about the best life I can imagine.
What question would you ask your fellow Gold Pickers?
My question would be, “Do you really appreciate how fortunate you are to have the passion to play music?” It really is a gift.