Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

My songs don't sound like yours

I’m a beginner, been a gold pick member for about 2 months and working my way thru the various lessons - having a BLAST- Ben is the best! 2 of the songs I’ve been practicing are: you are my sunshine & worried man blues. My problem is… I can play all the notes - but the songs don’t sound the way they’re supposed to. I’m not sure if it’s a timing thing; if I’m not emphasizing the proper notes; if my ego is too big and it takes a lot longer than 2 months to learn these beginner songs- just not sure.
Any suggestions would be appreciated - thanks everybody

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it takes everyone different amounts of time to learn things…and it takes as long as it takes…accepting this will help with patience.

You might pick a song for an example and make a video for Ben…he is great at seeing what you need to advance.

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I’ll second the video recommendation. That’ll help the recommendations be taylored to exactly what you need.

Hi Chuck that’s a great post and it’s a common problem with beginners, I have to confess my tunes didn’t always sound right. when I was a newbie. Good News is your here on @BanjoBen 's forum and a Gold Pick Member so you will find lots of folks offering help. I concur what Dave an Mark have said it takes lot’s of Patience Practice and Perseverance. Posting a video in the Video Swap area will give Ben a chance to review your playing skills see where your at and help guide you on what needs to be done to improve your playing.

Hey Chuck,
Excellent feedback from the others here. It simply takes some time for subconscious learning (also called muscle memory) to take hold. We have all been in your shoes. One small tip I can offer is to spend time with Ben’s lessons where he plays through slow. “Ifn you wanna play fast, practice slow” …anon. First thing I do when going back to a piece I haven’t played in a while is play along with Ben on those slow run-throughs.

thanks to all that replied… great suggestions, which I will use. Where do I find the video swap area and how do I send in a video to Ben to look at and critique? Thanks in advance

Hi Chuck

Create your video and upload it to YouTube

Then from the Forum click on New Topic, which opens a dialog box. Click on Select a category and scroll down to find the Video Swap area. Post your YouTube link in the box, make sure you add a Subject in the title box and click Save

thanks Archie


As another somewhat newbie, I have found that one major and yet subtle nuance to master is the ability for experienced teachers to accent (play slightly louder) the melodic notes around the rolls.

It can sound easy but can be very tough for us newer players - especially as those notes are “plucked” with various fingers.

I think these things can help:

  1. Listen to the songs in various ways by several artists and instruments (NOT just Banjo). Listen and even hum the melody.
  2. If you are following printed tab, circle those melody notes.
  3. Practice… and the awareness of the melody will emerge naturally - through repetition.
  4. Film and post yourself for Ben to advise. I know this is intimidating but fear not - we all are in this together and here to help each other. We have all “been there”.

Good luck - and let me know how things go… and when you break through to the other side of playing it “clean” - let me and others know what helped you most… so the legacy continues.


thanks Will- this is what I meant, in my post, when I said I didn’t know if I was emphasizing the proper notes ( melody notes )- very helpful reply - I appreciate it
Again, thank you to everyone

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