Rhonda Tebbenkamp from Salisbury, Missouri



What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
I’ve always loved bluegrass music and have always wanted to learn to play the banjo.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I took lessons 34 or 35 years ago for a few months and I’m pretty sure I was probably Jimmy Campbell’s worst nightmare at that time. I put down my banjo and eventually sold it to someone who could do more with it than I was able to commit to. Then, two years ago I lost my oldest daughter and husband of 41 years literally 4 weeks apart. A close family friend encouraged me to pick up the banjo again and helped me research and listen to the sound of many different banjos online. The Yates Mule had the sound I loved! Best decision I have ever made! I’ve had it now about a year and a half and can’t say enough about the joy I get from learning to play it. You are not too old and it’s not too late!


What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I like all of the lessons on Ben’s site, but I really like Waypoints. I break them down and just practice part of them at a time. I like that the lessons are in small segments and that I can print out the tab to help me when I’m memorizing a song. I am just beginning my banjo knowledge and sometimes it seems like I’ll never get “there” but when I look back and see where I started and where I am now I am thankful for the foundation that my Gold Pick membership has provided. Forward is forward regardless of how fast.

What’s your goal when playing?
My goal is to try to not be so nervous when I play in front of people. So I try to set small goals that place me outside my comfort zone and work to achieve them. I practice memorizing or working on new licks or chords first and then play the songs I have memorized and try to make improvements to different parts as I listen. I like to practice licks and rolls while I’m watching a race or game on tv.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
First of all I would practice more and would also attend as many bluegrass festivals and concerts as I could possibly get to! This past July I was thankful to get to see Rhonda Vincent at a great venue in Chillicothe, MO. I had hoped to request “Fishers of Men” but they announced that they would not be taking a break but, playing straight through. Oh, well, I was just thankful to be there to hear The Rage so close to my hometown. When they came out for their encore they sang the song I had hoped to request! Best day ever! God is Good!

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I have been a Gold Pick member for about one year now. So thankful to have this opportunity to learn at my own pace at home. Nice to have the backups to play along with, also.
In this case technology has been a blessing. It gives me the opportunity to have a private banjo instructor available anytime, day or night!

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
My greatest adventure might be to ride on Rhonda Vincent’s bus!

THIS is how my family feels about my banjo…

Image result for meme do you want to learn banjo


Welcome Rhonda! Congratulations on being gold picker of the week! I’m sorry to hear about your loss. You’ve come to the best online guitar, banjo and mandolin school there is, but you’ve been here a year you already know that. That’s a great goal you have, keep working for it and you’ll achieve it quicker than you think, and have a lot of fun doing it!


Hi Rhonda, Welcome to the Forum and congrats on the GPMOTW, So sorry to hear about your daughter and husband.
And, do y’all know the guy at the jam who rips off searing solos seemingly made up on the spot? I want to be that guy. We all do.


Haha! At this time I would just like to get to where I felt like I could participate in a jam…


Great advice! Thanks!


Congrats, Rhonda! Nice to meet you. Sorry to learn of your loss, but glad you managed to find a way to work through it. I’ve always heard it’s tough to be sad playing a banjo. :slight_smile:


Hi Rhonda Congratulations on being selected as this weeks Goldpick Member of the Week. I do hope you get your wish.


Wow Rhonda. First of all congrats on being selected. You sound dedicated. Sometime when I read these stories something jumps out in the text that inspires you. When you said “Forward is forward regardless of how fast.” I had a WOW moment. Thanks for that and I may just steal it for future conversations. God Bless you and keep on picking.

Darcy Finley


Congrats Rhonda! Glad you’re getting through OK. I can totally relate to your pain, because I lost my youngest nine years ago when she was 21.

Two years is a short time for a loss like this. I was still crying at the drop of a hat at this point.

But with time, the scar softens little by little. And you’ll be able to start to enjoy some things more and more often. May God Bless You.


Thank you, Darcy! And it works for anyone…Forward IS forward regardless of the situation! Each day is a new day, and an opportunity to grow in all areas of our lives. Blessings to you, too!


It’s a pleasure to meet you @dtebb. Music always makes us feel better. Thank God he helps us to move forward in all aspects of our lives!


Welcome!!! Great to meet you!


Thanks Ben for the strangs, cool decal and Banjo Ben pick! Made my day!


Congratulations Rhonda. Nice to meet you.