Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Not having the ability

Hello y’all again !

I’m writing because I’m running into some trouble trying to learn a version of Gold Rush. There’s this one specific bar that I just can’t nail. I’ve been working on nailing this specific bar for a year now . I’m not exaggerating hahah! I’m starting to think that maybe I just can’t do it. Which is not a bad thing … but maybe I’m just not built to play it that way. I did find another version that is soooo much easier to play . So maybe that’s the version for me ? I don’t wanna call my self a quitter , but maybe I should just give it up . Because no matter how much I slow or down , when I speed it up just a little bit , I go back to square one . I’m talking about that one specific bar though , not the whole song. What do y’all think ? Have you guys ever had to modify a certain section in a tune to make it work ? Because I honestly feel that I will never get this specific bar down no matter how hard I try … which, like I said, maybe is a bad thing either .

Read about people like Robert Johnson, Mary Lou Retton, Will Smith , and Deion Sanders. I think they will all inspire you. Then make your decision. Best to you.

1 Like

Thanks @Treblemaker : ) I’ll look into them !

There is nothing wrong with lick replacement. Ben teaches lessons on here that show just how to do that.

I’d be tempted to continue trying to get the lick down, but until I did I might replace it with something I could do that was up to the speed of the rest of the song. You may even find that once the pressure is off the trouble lick becomes easier. to progress on.

Diligence is great, but I’d not let one measure hold me back from playing a tune…few things are written in stone in music…even Ben’s lessons are simply good suggestions on how to play…you’re expected to experiment and go your own way, eventually creating your own sound.


Hi @raymondbyron66 are you learning this tune from TAB ? If so can you post a sample of the troublesome lick plus the measure before and after the lick.


Nothing wrong with finding something easier to replace something that’s not working for you. I would bet that’s how the first power chord in rock and roll came to be! Now it’s probably the most widely used chord shape ever to be used.

I can see some young future rock star sitting in his room with his amp cranked figuring out that just playing two strings at a time is way easier and faster than playing a whole chord and sounds incredible as well. Maybe it was Chuck Berry or Les Paul or even someone before their time.

Another example: B.B. King spent his whole career not being able to sing and play guitar at the same time. He would admit to this. Look where he went with his music!

The point is… Find a way around any stumbling blocks and keep enjoying playing music. But like Dave said, keep working on what seems impossible as well.

Good Luck,



What @Archie said

Thanks a lot for all the encouragement! I knew I can count on you guys for support : )
Based on all the comments, I’ve decided I will use the alternate version , which is easier for me to play , but will also continue to work on the 1st version on the side to continue to challenge myself .
I’ve provided a picture of the TAB as @Archie suggested.
The one circled in red is the part where I get tripped up on … and the one circled in blue is an alternate version that I found that’s easier for me to play.
It’s kind of embarrassing because it looks simply to play… but i always get tripped up on that measure. I play this at 160BPM.

I believe it’s more of a hand-eye coordination thing :sweat_smile: it just dawned on me… but I am keeping all my “down ups” (Pick direction) in check

raymondbyron66, I think you might not be following the pick direction always religiously, and could that be the cause?? All notes start at half beat got to be an upstroke. When you strictly follow it that way, and when following pick direction,becomes a second nature, I think the rest will fall in place. You focus will then be just on the notes. I would probably use the middle finger and move it to the other strings, that is, 3rd, 4th, 5th string second positions. You play better than me in terms of cleanly hitting the notes, but this looks simple to me. Very soon you might look back and wonder why you thought this a tough one?? :slight_smile:

1 Like

@jmonickaraj1 yes , picking direction is becoming second nature to me as well :slight_smile: but I’ve been doing some thinking, and most of the time I find it uncomfortable playing on the lower strings of the guitar . I think this might be the stem of the problem , and something I need to work on. But you’re right ! Even now, I wonder how something so simple can be so challenging for me :sweat_smile:

Ah! @raymondbyron66 This is a guitar TAB, I thought it was a banjo query. Perhaps @BanjoBen can help you with this. On the face of it, it doesn’t appear to be too difficult but since I don’t play guitar what do I know.

:slight_smile: maybe you already have it in because I believe you also said you could play at low speed. It may be just that it requires some cool-off period. When you revisit this song, you might just be able to play it just right at a higher speed than you could do it now!

@Archie thanks for suggesting that I post the TAB though (:
Yes , it is a simple thing… but now I think I found my problem, which is not feeling comfortable when I get to the lower register of the guitar :frowning: I’ll work on it though !

I think practicing bar chords might help in that case. Here is a Ben;s pick accuracy exercise . But you will be ok soon!

1 Like

Thanks so much @jmonickaraj1 ! Truly appreciate it :pray:

1 Like

Hi @raymondbyron66 I think we all encounter a blind spot at some point. A lick or a measure that constantly throws us off. I find it helps to work on these trouble spots in isolation. Sometimes it’s the fretting and sometimes it’s the picking pattern.

Breaking down the lick or measure into smaller parts, and playing real sloooow helps the brain to process the info better. Once you figure out what is causing the train wreck you have a chance to fix it. That done add the measure after the problem area once you have that add the preceding measure.

Once you have it sorted practice it over and over whilst watching your fav TV show, By the end of the show you should have it nailed. If not repeat the process.

Once you have it play the tune in full. If you trip up repeat the process until you get it.

1 Like

I’m not the best at pick direction on guitar, but I think I have this right. Double check to make sure this is what you’re doing. I’ve also included a variation that includes all of the same notes, but has 2 pull offs and 1 hammer on that makes playing the lick a little easier.

Guitar Riff for Raymond.tef (988 Bytes)


Thanks @Mark_Rocka for making that Tef file for me :slight_smile: I don’t have my laptop with me now , but I’ll take a look at it tomorrow and get back to you on that ! :pray: but thank you!

1 Like

Cabin in Caroline :slight_smile:

Just learned the rhythm part with brand new strings , and capo, that I got from the general store :wink: