Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Stuart Gamble from West Monroe, Louisiana

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
After watching Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby on CMT Crossroads, I went down the Bluegrass trail. I listened to more and more acoustic music and couldn’t get enough. I talked about it all the time. Finally, my wife got me a mandolin because I was so fascinated by everything I heard and watched.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I have been playing 2 years. I love learning more about music, how to play and the histories of my favorite players. The music I listened to until my early 40’s were mostly story songs, I never got into the instruments…until I discovered Bluegrass. I would love to sit around in a group jam around a campfire.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I love all the Build-A-Break lessons. Being so new to playing, it helps me to build a base then slowly add skills to it. I also love learning fiddle tunes on the Mandolin, I play Arkansas Traveller most every day.

What’s your goal when playing?
To be able to sit out on a back porch and play with a group. Also would love to play with a praise and worship team.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I have a fiddle but have focused most of my time learning mandolin. I’m definitely interested in learning the banjo in the future as well. I grew up on 70’s and 80’s country music, so I love hearing classic country.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
A little over a year

Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
I love learning anything new. I was most proud when I got the Big G chop down!

If you could play in anyone’s band, who would it be and why?
I have to go with my Big Three. The Sam Bush Band / Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder / The Traveling McCourys (although I’m not sure any of them need a new mandolin player). Those bands make sounds come out of their instruments that just amazes me.

What type of gear or accessories have you found that work best for you?
I use Dunlop Ultex 1.14 picks. Not really much other gear besides my braided leather strap.

If money was no object, what would be your dream instrument(s)?
I am really happy with my Eastman 515V mando so I guess I should say a Martin D-28 guitar since that is my wife’s dream guitar. I guess a banjo but I could give details on my dream one yet. One of our new adventures is visiting local music stores in cities we travel through.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Travel with my wife and learn every fiddle tune I could.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I picked up 2 activities after our daughters went off to college; juggling clubs and the mandolin (so far I have only been hit in the head while juggling clubs).


Congrats on being GPOTW! Hope to see you around the forum!

That’s better than you could say for some people… :joy:


Congrats Stuart on being selected as this weeks Gold Pick Member

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Congrats on GPotW!

I am amazed at all that we have in common! I started playing Mando last year - a BDay present from my wife, also an Eastman but mine is a 315. I was stationed at Barksdale. A Gold Picker for about 3 years (Banjo then Mando).

Your Goal is mine… Pickin’ on the back porch… and play in a group. To be fair… I suspect we share this with all forum participants, but that is to say that I am not to that level yet, but hope to be soon.

Too bad I’m 1/2 country away…

I also enjoy Arkansas Traveller and play it every time I practice - but in my case, is it because it is simpler to play?.. but I also really like it… maybe for that very reason.

Anyway, great profile and please don’t be a stranger here!

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Congrats Stuart on being GPoTW.

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I saw my first Bluegrass show not far from Barksdale (Ricky Skaggs was at one of the riverboats) back in 2015. I definitely need to find a few pickers around here to jump in with, I will eventually. Thanks for your service!

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Thanks! I havent’ really spent much time on the forums but this maybe this is going to help me stick around here!