What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I went to Telluride Bluegrass in 2018 and fell in love with the genre. It’s the social aspect of bluegrass that really draws me in. I remember on one of my first nights there, walking around the Town Park campgrounds watching all these incredible pickers just playing music together, some of them complete strangers, and I thought it looked like the most fun thing ever!
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I have been playing the guitar for about 2 years and the banjo and mandolin for 1. My motivation to play is to get good enough so that one day, I can participate in those very picking circles that I witnessed at Telluride Bluegrass 2 years ago. To know an instrument so well that I can improvise, play any song in any key, know how to mess around and play some solos. Really be able to experiment and have some fun with it.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
My favorite lesson on Ben’s site so far has been the rhythm series. Learning to play laying lead and solos are definitely important aspects of bluegrass but playing good rhythm is essential, especially on guitar. I probably spend most of my time practicing rhythm so that I can provide some sort of value to the picking circle regardless of how good my solos are.
What’s your goal when playing?
My goal when playing is to learn more about the instrument itself and to improve on things like pick accuracy and chord changes. I also try and branch off and create my own solos and versions of the songs that Ben teaches.
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
No it’s mostly just bluegrass. I would like to learn piano at some point, maybe the harmonica as well but for now I’m sticking with guitar, mandolin and banjo.
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I enjoy flatpicking the most.
If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
I think it would have to be Billy Strings. He’s such an inspiration to me, his guitar skills but also his stage presence and his song writing ability. I think I would have a lot of fun playing with those guys provided I could keep up!
What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I’ve found that a capo, a tuner and a music stand have been the most helpful to me. The capo and tuner are pretty essential and the music stand so that I stand up while reading music.
If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
Probably would just be a brand new Fender guitar.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I think I would either write novels, work out, read or play some music.
How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
I found a few of his videos on YouTube and decided to go all in with the gold pick membership because he has so much content and teaches all three of my instruments. He’s also online so I get to go at my own pace and play in the comfort of my own home.