Forum - Banjo Ben Clark


Hi everyone,
I’m fairly new with my membership with Ben Clark (love this site!) and this is my first attempt at posting a question on the Forum. Been playing for about ten years and am always looking to advance and get better with my banjo. I’ve learned several licks in learning my banjo. Typically, the licks are in G, C or D. Don’t know if this is a stupid question, but are there licks to be learned in keys like A or B? I realize I can capo up (two frets for A, etc.), but if i don’t want to capo, are there licks in keys like A or B? I’m finding there are a lot of songs our Worship Team plays at church in those keys and rather than do the capo thing I’d like to know if licks can be done in A or B using standard G tuning. Thanks for any help that you might have.


In Ben’s recent lesson Wayfaring Stranger in A min, he has a lick at the end that is pretty easy with a capo but not as easy in open G.

One of the reasons why you have so many licks in G and C and D is because you can use a lot of open notes for these in Open G tuning. In A and B, you don’t have many of those open notes in the scale so it’s easier to use a capo so you can take advantage of the open notes in an Open tuning.

Because it’s easier to play in A and B when you’re capoed, you don’t see so many players playing in those keys without a capo and therefore, there aren’t established licks. But, as in Wayfaring Stranger, because the frets are closer together higher up the fretboard, when you’re in those keys and capoed, there are going to be some licks that are more natural to those keys than playing in G or D or C.

Thanks Bluenote. That’s kind of what I thought. Good to have my suspicions verified. I have a capo but capoing and staying in tune have been a challenge (especially when on stage between songs that are in G and the next one in A). Thanks for sharing.