Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Michael Shave from Athens, Georgia

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I heard Duelin Banjos on Deliverance and I decided then I wanted a banjo and wanted to try and make that sound.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I’ve been playing 3 years and my motivation is to progress every day. I play 3-4 hours a day. I am obsessed at the moment.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
Fretboard Geography with Alan Munde. That has been very helpful because I have never seen it taught like that. I haven’t had a chance to get to anything else because I want to take that in and learn it well. Also the Bag O licks with Tony Wray and those G back up licks. I love playing that.

What’s your goal when playing?
To progress daily and learn 1 song a week. I would love to have great timing so I practice with the metronome a good bit.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
No. Strictly Traditional Bluegrass. I like some progressive, as long as they have roots in bluegrass and they play like Earl I’m good. I like a little melodic mixed in but I like straight forward Earl/JD stuff.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Pick my banjo

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
1 month I think

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
Scruggs Style. Hard driving.

What do you do for a living?
Safety Manager for a General Contractor/Construction company. Pipefitters/Welders.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
To Thru-hike the Appalachian Trail all the way through from Georgia to Maine. 4-6 months, 2900 miles

Who are your favorite pickin’ heroes (bluegrass and country artists) and who inspires you?
Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Sammy Shelor, Jim Mills, Tom Adams, Murphy Henry, Arthur Hancock and Banjo Ben Clark

Anything else you’d like to add?
I love what you do Ben, and love that you have a gospel group with your sisters. Y’all are great! The Purple Hulls rule! God is good, All the time.


Congrats on GPOTW Michael. Nice meet you. I see you’re getting the youngsters started early.


Welcome Michael! Congratulations on the gpotw! Playing with a metronome is great for development, so if you can, keep doing it! I love that picture with the kid! Is that a miniature banjo he’s holding?

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Hey Michael…I’m in the neighborhood. Lots of good jams around!

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Looks like there might be some trout in that water.

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Hi Michael Congrats on being selected as this weeks Gold Pick Member. Great to see your introducing your littlin to the banjo.

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Welcome and congratulations on being this week’s Gold Pick Member. “And all the time GOD is GOOD”. Loved seeing you with your little one. I was only able to convert one of my sons to love bluegrass. Keep working on the little one, there’s no better music and no better online teacher than Ben.


Michael, congrats on the GPotW! Welcome aboard and we all wish you much success in your banjo goals. Thanks for sharing.

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Hey… Good deal, yeah I need to find somewhere close by, ive been down to Everetts Barn in Suwanee, I need to try and get over to Ryans steak house in Commerce, I think tuesdays at 6pm

Thank you!

Thank you much!

Yep…Ryan’s in Commerce Tuesday 5-8. Also BBQ Shack on Lexington Highway (east Athens) Thursday 7-9.

Good deal! Looking forward to it! Thanks for the info Mike!

Thank you and thanks for the metronome tip! advice is more than welcome, after all that’s why I’m here! Yes that’s a mini banjo. Gold Tone makes one.

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sorry so late to this party, well done Michael on the GPOTW and the kid is so cute…

@michaelshave great to meet you! I have in laws in the Athens area, I really love going up that way.