Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Playing clean through repetition

Hey all. I’ve notice lately while trying to record a song that through repetition and trying to produce a clean recording that I have picked up several lazy habits. When I play the music back, I notice many mistakes in my playing that repeat themselves. Short notes, missing strings, timing off etc. I don’t know how Ben does it. Does anyone have suggestions on getting rid of bad habits and getting a more pure, cleaner sound from my playing? Maybe tips on practice techniques to help clean this up?

Thanks All

Hi Darcy, It’s quite common to make lot’s of mistakes when your learning. It’s all part of the learning process. I have been studying ten years and I still get lazy at times and make mistakes. The fact that your making these observations is a good thing, because your in a position to rectify your mistakes. As you work though Ben’s learning track you will soon build on your knowledge and playing skill level. Mistakes will become fewer. I’ll even let you into a little secret Earl Scruggs is known to have made a few mistakes in his lifetime.


Generally, if I’m making mistakes I slow down until I get it right.

Recording is great for finding those mistakes…now, knowing where they are, you can concentrate on correcting them as you play.

Problem spots can be fixed through attentive repetition which is different than just repeating something.

There is a limit on being able to concentrate…we all have one…once you’ve reached that limit ability to play clean can deteriorate. If you run through something fairly well a time or two, then start doing worse, take a small break…then try it again…most of us need these little breaks to sustain attentiveness when playing. ()this also goes for muscle fatigue & sore hands)


Thanks Archie for that. Two years of playing has proved this is a difficult instrument. I’m a guitar flat picker originally so three finger was a difficult adjustment. I guess I just need to learn to pay the full price and not think I can shortcut my way to success at a higher level. Practice, practice, practice. Ben gave me som great advice a while back. Better to practice 20 or 30 minutes on a consistent basis then 2 hours here 3 hours there with lag time in between.


Great stuff there fiddle_wood. I have noticed when recording I try too hard to be perfect rather than be relaxed. Playing with the drum machine has helped also. Attentive repetition. I like that one. Thanks for the feedback.

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There is a lot more to being relaxed while playing than I thought. Been struggling with my last few practice sessions. The other night I took some Nyquil for a nagging cold before practicing and it was the best practice I’ve had in a long time. I was playing clean and faster than usual. Not promoting taking medication before practice…just was surprised at the results.