Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

My first song I've learned was Cripple Creek

My first song I’ve learned was cripple creek. I’ve been playing this for two years now and I still can’t quite clean it. I know @Archie I need more patience… :sweat_smile:


Nice!! I really like the melodic licks. When doing the Scruggs version, I use a helpful little trick from Russ Carson— rather than sliding from 2-4, slide from 2-3 and then bend to reach the B note:


that’s cool, I’ve already seen it, but I don’t find it easy … but it’s awesome!


Nice picking!


Hi @Severin I thought that was very good overall.

You started to fall off the rails on each second half of the melodic walk down. Now I am not sure if that was due to a fretting problem or a picking problem. But you clearly repeated it second time round. So it seems embedded in your playing

I noted your thumb appeared to speed up on that short sequence and I am wondering if maybe your double thumbing there, causing you to miss stings

Isolate and break down that melodic section. Check your fretting hand and make sure your fretting the strings properly I sensed a little hesitation. Also watch your roll pattern over that second passage to determine the problem. You may need to slow it right down to figure out the issue

Just know your not alone, I have similar problems with the projects I am working on right now.


thanks Archie for your detailed comments … yes i think this is a picking problem … i will work on it.


I like the personal touches you added to it.


Thank you!


Funny that! My first song learned on the banjo? That was Cripple Creek! And that was at least 45 years ago. You might say I had no confidence or maybe no talent and I did get elsewhere busy for quite a few years but I sure enjoyed playing that tune!


I think Cripple Creek was a standard in the 70’s because of the Picking and Grinning segment on Hee Haw. Cripple Creek was the first song I learned. Every Saturday I would sit in front of the TV to watch Roy and try to learn the way he played part A.

I was all about Scruggs until I met a banjo instructor who introduced me to an album called Banjo Sandwich featuring Alan Munde on the banjer. In a short lesson he showed me how many of the licks in Blackberry Blossom fit in Cripple Creek. And the adventure continues…

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Cripple Creek is taught by most teachers at the elementary level because it has key Scruggs foundational; licks that transfer to other bluegrass tunes. Banjo in the Hollow was the first tune I learned Cripple Creek came second.