Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Sharing a banjo backup TEF file

My goal is to be able to sit down and jam with folks even if I’m not familiar with the songs they’re playing. To do that, not only do you need a lot of licks in your arsenal, you need to be able to move from lick to lick fluidly with little to no thought. My problem has always been that when I learn backup licks, my brain has trouble using them out of the order I learned them in.

So, I took several of Ben’s Bog O’ Licks lessons and started building a TEF file with those licks mixed up in several different patterns. The idea is to allow my fingers to break out of the “Licks 1, 2, 3, 4” progression and mix things up on their own.

Also, I realized this morning that now that I’ve made this file, I can go back and replace licks I’m comfortable with with new ones that are more complicated, or I can just add on to it and make the file progressively more complex.

Anyway, I hope someone else will find this useful.

BanjoBackupStudy.tef (11.3 KB)


Good Job @Mark_Rocka I see your getting well acquainted with TablEdit .

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Thanks @Archie! Yeah, I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of weeks. This one wasn’t too bad, though, because it was literally just copying and pasting stuff from Ben’s work. I had to figure out a couple of things, like how to edit the text and fingering entries. Also had to figure out why some measures were louder than others, which turned out to be in the Dynamics section.

TablEdit is a surprisingly powerful program!

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Sure is, I am still learning its features. What I like about it is figuring out Scruggs licks, with the right speed setting you hear and see what Earl did, you can then slow it down and learn his licks note for note.

All those years I spent struggling with books wondering why the TAB just didn’t sound right. Once you TAB it out in TablEdit you realise the TAB was poorly written and has no melody.

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My experience has been that there’s more bad tab out there than good. Ben’s site being a rare exception.

Hi Mark, Seek out these guys they have written some great TABs. Many of their TABs are FREE and online. Sean Ray, Lee Marcus, Stan Slack, Xavier Baron, Tom Arri, Jack Baker, Jack Hatfield, Erik Bennett, Gary Shepherd, Hans Holzerr, Bob Wolford, Martin Blake, Jay Buckley PDF’s, John G Nitkowiski and the Late Banjo Ben Freed

Some may be listed under Guitar, Mandolin or Fiddle but usually include Banjo

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WOW,…Thanks Mark, looks like some good backup stuff. Got her printed off, am starten on it now. Thought after i printed the 24 pages i could have saved the file somewhere but don’t know how anyway. Thanks again.

You should be able to right click on the file and choose “Save As” to save to your PC. I’m a big fan of using the TEFView app to help learn tabs in TEF files. Way faster than reading printed material.

Yup that worked Mark, thank you. Your melodic transition licks are eating my lunch. Never seen em before, hard to figure out fingering. but i’ll get it. Thanks again for the help

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Very nice. Great piece to practice with.

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Just so everyone is clear, none of these licks are mine. This is all from Ben’s Bag O’ Licks lessons that you can find here.

There are others as well, but they’re not used in this file.

I’m finally getting back around to this old backup study that I made nearly 2 years ago. I’ve decided to approach it differently this time. I’m going to break it up into bite sized chunks (12 to 16 measures, depending on the chords) and treat them as individual verses. That way I can get the licks implanted in my brain, and then break out of that implant by learning the next few measures. That was the original intention anyway.

Oh, and the above link is dead, so here’s the file again.

BanjoBackupStudy.tef (11.3 KB)