Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

So I walk into the guitar store

…to look at one of those Peterson tuners. I figured while I’m there I’d check out the acoustic room, big mistake. The first thing I see is a Martin 000-18GE. Best fingerpicking guitar I’ve ever played. That thing was sweet, responsive is an understatement. I spin around to see this golden, honey colored, sweet looking top on a Martin dread. A second glance and I knew it was a new D18. I’ve played a few of them and everyone I’ve seen has had a great looking top, but I’ve never seen one that was an aged looking honey brown color. Pick it up to get a closer look and whoa!, the top on it looked 3-D. Never seen this much silking on one (I think that’s what you call it). One last test. Figured it would sound good, just like the rest I’ve played. One strum and I couldn’t believe how open this thing sounded, so responsive (light as a feather, too), didn’t have a pick so I was just strumming with my fingernail. It sounded great fingerpicked and strummed.

Well…it chipped away at me all night last night and I had to go back by today and play it again, with a pick. It excelled again, and I couldn’t resist… 2012 Martin D-18!

Betty Lou is not amused…

Tried to get a good shot of the silking in the next two pics…

The top is not that bright, must be the light, darkest top I’ve seen…

The Fam

Oh yeah, I got one of those tuners…they’re cool. Haha!

Trying to get a sound sample uploaded so you fellers can give it a listen.

Here’s a little sound clip:

Haha, you have a collection now dude…damn a fella that just got into the flat picking and he has the “Double D’s” (D-18, D-28) of bluegrass music…you show up to gig with those dudes and they are gonna think Tony Rice himself is in da room!

About the D18 vs the D28 - When it comes to pure volume and tone that guys look for in bluegrass you can not beat the D18. D28’s are nice man, but I have never heard one project and sound as good as most D18’s…they are what they are, but for hard line bluegrass flat picking the D18 just produces “that sound”.

If the wife decides to kick ya out and you have to sell one of them then post her here first (the guitar, not the wife). :mrgreen:

Now go get you a $100 usb mic so we can hear how good they really sound!


I’ve got it bad man. I’m eat up with Bluegrass and looking at all these guitar forums. :smiley: I’m about to sell my bike and all my riding gear to buy a banjo and maybe one last guitar.

The D18 is sweet man. I can’t believe how warm and balanced it is. It’s a great guitar, but the Adirondack top on the D28 is a hoss, the harder ya pick it, the better it gets (D18GE’s are the same way). It will bark out single notes too. A feller would probably need an amp for his banjer against the D28. I’m a relatively light-handed picker and I have to force myself to play the D28 hard to get the best sound. That’s what I like about the sitka topped D18. It handles any playing style I can throw at it so far, pretty versatile guitar.

Not married and no kids. Haha, why do ya think I ride motorcycles and play guitars. :slight_smile:

If I decide to sell one, I put 'em up here first. Although, I plan to grow old (Lord willing) with these two.

The usb mics: I was looking at the side of my gopro and it has a usb port. Wonder if I could plug a mic in there? Didn’t know they made a usb mic.

Probably could plug a USB mic on the gopro but i do not know much about them…with most usb mic there will be supported software and drivers to get the mic working.

But you could always plug it into your pc. I got mine of Craigslist man, was a $200 mic for $125. Blue Yeti Pro is the one I use, but I do think Larry’s sounds better than mine, but i have no clue if he is tweeking his recordings after the recording…mine are “original”…there was a post either here or on the old site about mics…ben even posted his brand he uses for all his videos and it sounds freaking great and I think it cost less than mine.

So since you have no wife then I guess you will be rotating nights with a “d” beside you in the bed.

Nice guitars man, probably some of the best money you ever spent on an instrument as they are always in demand.


I was reading about Ben’s setup the other day in the comments on one of his youtube vids. Think it was “somehow tonight”.

After you plug the mic into the pc, what do you use to record with? Is it something like Audacity? Hmmm, I wonder if I could record straight to soundcloud? There has got to be an easier way than all this file converting man. The little 2 minute clip I uploaded was 170 MB and took 2 hours to convert!

Hmm, sleeping with the guitar? I could try it, but I don’t think I’d get much sleep! :smiley:

I use Audacity to record with, it’s free and simple, plug mic in and download software and drivers, open up Audacity and where you see the mic symbol open up the drag down menu and choose your mic type/name, hit record and wahlah you are recording.

You can also download the song to Audacity, click “record” and your song will be playing through your headphones and the mic will be picking up the break/what you are playing on your guitar. You can then stop it and it will play the song and your break in time so you can check to see if it sounds good/is in time then you can either delete the rhythm track or export your break track and end up your break, then you can export it as an mp3 instantly (among 50 other options)

So you need a good mic and audacity…if you do not have a good set of headphones pic you up a set of those also!

Audacity is easy man…in 1 hr of messing around you will know all you need to know to at least record your break/parts that are good enough for what we are doing…that is all I done!


Good deal man, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll start shopping for a good mic and get Audacity lined out. Will be sweet to be able to do some editing too. Little less pressure to get it right the first time.

Congrats Shawn!
That’s a great sounding and looking guitar. How do you like that neck? I think they are really comfy. I think you will really like recording with mahogany. I find it much easier to get it to sound “right” compared to a rosewood guitar.
Very nice!

Thanks Mike!

I’m really liking the neck so far. The 1 3/4 nut is plenty of room and the neck is pretty fast. Reminds me of my old Taylor neck. I found it really easy to get use to coming from the wide/thick neck on the 28, which was one thing I was worried about. Super easy to play.

This is my first mahogany guitar and I’m loving the cleaness of the notes. I like all the overtones on the 28, but playing the lead lines to Ben’s Whiskey Before Breakfast (where you’re playing a lot of notes while holding chords), you can really hear the individual notes clean and clear, the melody seems to stick out a little more.

Man that is one nice top on the 18 really unique, this is one of the guitars I have also been kind of looking at, the 28 HD I really like but found the neck a little to thick for my short fat fingers, lean more towards the performance necks. Sounds real nice as well thanks for posting…she’s a goodn…Jerry :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Thanks Jerry! I’m likin’ it so far!

Sweet guitar, Shawn! Congrats.

So if they said you can only have one guitar,which one would it be?? 28 or 18??

Thanks Larry!

Jerry- I think I would pick the 28 right now, but I haven’t had alot of time with the 18.

Hi Shawn, ya I kinda feel the same about the 28’s I played one yesterday and even though it was destroyed from hanging on the wall of the acoustic room at GC it played sweet, it had at least 15 top dings from there though looked like someone had taken a 410 shotgun to it. What a waste…some little kid was running in circles hitting the guitars on stands as he passed by… :confused: Jerry

I’m done buying guitars, I promise! :wink: Time to sell some motorcycle stuff. :confused:

Ooooooooh, my my! Looks like bearclaw sitka! Sweet!

Thanks Mike! Yup, it’s the “banjo killer” version of the Slope D. Pretty stoked on it! Funny, because when I first saw them, I didn’t really like 'em. Somewhere along the line I became obsessed with them and had to scratch that itch.

Bearclaw Sitka - Flamed/Figured Mahogany

Wow! That’s a gorgeous guitar. I have not played one, but I bet it’s special. Congrats!