Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

My Guitar Hero

B8FD8D68-2CDB-47ED-9A0B-0BF10B5EEC21 I was reminded of my Grandfather (Pa) today when a friend of mine returned a book to me that I let him borrow years ago. It is a Mel Bay guitar chord book that belonged to my Pa. Pa was not Grand Ole Opry worthy by any means, but I remember sitting and listening in awe to him play many nights. He spurred my interest in music and taught me a lot when I first started playing. He never had any formal music education and never made it past the 6th grade, but he always hasn’t some kind of music book that he would study. He played the only thing he could afford on a tobacco farmers wage, a Sears and Roebuck Harmony 12 string string that he kept strung with 6 strings. He played it so much that the fretboard has major indentions as well as the top of the guitar. He never played with a pick but always used his fingernail as a pick. He gave my brother the guitar and he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hearing that guitar played brings back a feeling that I just can’t really explain. He played mostly Carter style, although he never knew it was called Carter style. He just picked out the melody and added strums, it was how he was taught by other old timers from years past I guess. In addition to the guitar, he played piano, and harmonica. My parents bought me a banjo when I was 14 and I had no idea how to play it at the time, but he picked it up and was playing it in a few days. I shore miss my Pa, and I look forward to the day when I can sit and play with him again! He was very much a prankster which is why he is wearing a sombrero that he found in my room one day!! I will post some audio of him playing sometime when I have time to upload it.
I would love to hear of some of yalls hero’s.


That’s great! I didn’t grow up too much around string playing except piano…I sure wish I did. I had a great uncle who played some mando and fiddle and that impressed me. My first banjo came from my uncle’s closest and I’m really thankful for that ol’ Fender.

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Bishop Mccormack an old mule skinner, I heard two tunes he played Spanish fandango and another song I can’t remember the name . what caught my ear was the fluid presentation he had. 1955 was the year . his was a Carter style also . and fast forward a hundred years and my Nephew and his cousin played Black mountain rag and nothing to it I kept begging them to play. I bet they played it 4 times before they quit . I am about at the end of my guitar playing, Just so tired anymore I can’t play much nor can I work my fingers correctly . My Dad told the story of the mule skinner driving logs out close to a clift and the logs rolled over and pulled the mule over with it and when he hit bottom he stood up and tripped on a rock and hit his head and it killed the mule .

Good story Kenneth! I always liked to hear them stories from old timers. I hope youre doing well, I haven’t seen you on here in a while.