Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Mando Drills - What do you do for practice

I’m looking for some practice drills for my mandolin. Most of my practice has involved finding a Banjo Ben song and learning it. I’m on the high end of beginner and maybe low end intermediate (on my good days). I been mostly doing some basic G-C-D chord chops to time, open scales, and a little arpeggio. I guess growing with a basketball always close at hand, I developed a lot of ball handing drills. I’m looking for some good drills to make me more comfortable and prepare me to play with others.

Thanks, y’all!


I play Salt Creek to help with my fast picking, and Wabash Cannonball to help with my stretches/doublestops/tremolo,


Here’s a few things I’ve messed with when i just wanted to doodle around and not repeat a tune.

jumping from 1st to 3rd position & back

pentatonic scales

Build licks that incorporate sliding 3rds & 5ths

Run scales in as many 2,3,4 note combos as you can invent

Simple arpeggios work great for building different skills…run through an entire scale doing them. Example: if you go up the G scale the second appegio you would play will be an Am, then Bm, C, D…and so on keeping all notes within the G scale. you can run them up, down or both for each passage.
I found it best to start with 3 note arpeggios and add a note each time I get comfortable with what I’m doing.

Circular licks: usually a short number of notes that come back ot the first note.
Run them up & down any (every) scale or chord progression you care to.
Find three places on the neck ot play each lick.

Experiment playing both across the neck and linearly (in direction of the neck)
Learn, and experiment with, double stops (3rds, 5ths, & 6ths).

Ben has a nice pick exercise for the mando too that I found ot be useful.

hope this gives you some ideas…



I liked Ben’s lesson on two octave scales. I did that for a while and had some stuff stick with me.




Thanks for all the suggestions. This Banjo Ben Forum folks are the best!