Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Robert Ballard from Westport, California

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
Probably the Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and then Doc Watson

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
50 yrs. or more. I love music all types but primarily acoustic for the last 40+ yrs.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I like all the ones that have Guitar / Mandolin and Banjo versions, which are mostly fiddle tunes.

What’s your goal when playing?
Trying to improve my technique, tone and timing.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I have a bass that I occasionally play if needed

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I think 7 or 8 years

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I love cross picking, especially on the mandolin McReynolds style

If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
Right now it is Mile Twelve, I call it City Grass but I love the innovation, original material and musicianship, Junior Sisk is also high on my list of contemporary bands.

What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I’m really happy with Northfield and Eastman and I am looking forward to a Gold Tone Twanger, but I will always love my 28.

If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
A Loar F-5

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Look for that Loar

Anything else you’d like to add? Can we share this or is this private feedback?
At this point my goal is to get my grandkids interested in acoustic music to get them into something more productive than all the cyber stimulation that seems to dominate today’s youth, Banjo Ben’s site is the perfect venue in my opinion.


That’s a great goal. Using Ben’s site, you can trick them into thinking they’re still getting the cyber part they crave while building up useful, real world skills. :slight_smile:

Nice to read about you, Robert. Congrats on being GPotW!


Ha, what Mark said! I’m probably an example of your goal realized :joy: I’ve also just discovered mile twelve, love their stuff. Also, a note for Ben’s questions, it would be convenient to have a question like what instrument(s) do you play, cuz it’s usually not clear which of the three people play. It’d also be cool to ask about their instrument collection


Hi Robert Congrats on being selected as this weeks Gold pick Member

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Congrats to you Robert.

Congrats Mr. Ballard, Sir!

Robert, congrats on being the gpotw, and that’s a great photo! Thanks for taking the time to share a little about about yourself and help make the world of bluegrass students that much richer.