Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Surgery on the horizon, Cap'n!

I was born with flat-as-a-pancake feet. On top of that, I twisted my ankle severely in a skiing accident 20 years ago. Since then I’ve run and jumped and climbed mountains and finally got to a point where my right knee/ankle is killing me. I spent the last week doing MRI’s and surgeon appointments and they say I need major reconstructive ankle surgery, then knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus and clean up torn cartilage behind my knee cap.

The big bummer is it will require 5-6 weeks of no weight bearing whatsoever, which means I won’t be able to climb the stairs in the cabin where I record video, etc. When the time approaches, I could use your prayers, patience, and help as I do my best to continue providing a place to learn here on the site. I do plan to create lessons ahead of time. I hope to have the surgery in early May after I return from a week-long mission trip to Cuba at the end of April.

It stinks getting old…haha!

1 Like

Gettin’ old aint for wimps!! I’ll keep you in my prayers.

1 Like

Hold on tight cause the ride just gets more intense every year. But you’ll be alright and pull through with flying colors.
I got faith in that

VI will start praying for you NOW, Brother Ben!

Don’t forget the prayer request section.

Look what it did for me. My new job means I will complete the building and buying my new house.

My wife said I would have a new job by the 3rd week of February. She prayed for that. My first day was Monday, Feb. 19th - to the very day!

Now, THAT is faith!

I recognize that this also happened from the power of prayer from many… including our group of caring players here… who responded to my request. Steve V. went out of his way to help me with my resume… a total stranger.

As fate… or FAITH would have it, I had a job BEFORE his help could be fulfilled… but the blessing of the OFFER is where the unseen help was given… out of sheer WILLINGNESS to help me in my hour of need!

I don’t boast… but give thanks… and you, Ben facilitated it in allowing my Prayer Request Idea to be heard!

:pray:Lord, bless Ben as he prepares to take this journey. Strengthen his body and will to heal and recover. Amen :pray:



I can save you some money… I saw on uTube how to do surgeries at home.

In all seriousness, I will be praying for effective surgery and a quick recovery. If there is anything I can do, let me know.

1 Like

We got your back Ben. When the time comes Focus on getting that ankle and knee sorted. There are some pretty talented people here like @Mike_R, @fiddle_wood, and @Mark_Rocka that always have good advice. @Archie will keep us in line :black_flag:󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. @WillCoop will keep giving us interesting topics. Me and @Woody will keep asking silly questions. So many good people on here. And I’m sure others will keep us entertained with stories about cinder blocks and bathtubs @Viperhawk like from an episode of the red green show.


Hey @BanjoBen,

You take all the time you need Buddy there are enough instrument solo lessons on the site to keep us busy till your well. You know you can count on my prayers for a speedy and successful recovery.

If you must insist on doing some lessons before surgery how about some rolling back up stuff to accompany the many Guitar and Mandolin solos you already have on the site. That should virtually treble the content for the banjo players.

It seems that all that work you put into creating those Guitar and Mandolin lessons is only being accessed by maybe one or two thirds of your members.

Guitar player’s get a new rhythm guitar lesson every time you create a banjo or mandolin lesson so I am sure mandolin players would also welcome some rhythm /backup lessons too so they are able to accompany the Guitar and Banjo solos.

I also think it would ‘add value’ to the beginners learning programme to be encouraged to explore other sections of the website. By creating backup lessons your giving each student a reason to move out of their comfort zone.

I don’t visit the Guitar and Mandolin sections as often as I should because the bulk of my time is focusing on learning solos. I can only assume other students do pretty much the same, i.e. only focusing on learning solo’s on their instrument of choice…

From the many posts I have read over the years on the BHO most student’s dream is to be able to play with others at a jam session or in a band. Their stories of frustration at not being able to keep up with the chord progression or speed whilst playing with others is what makes me want to push for a change in the way banjo is taught, I have tried pretty much every teaching method that attempts to teach backup, I say attempts to teach backup because whilst I have been reasonably successful in learning to play solos using these other teaching methods my backup skills are pretty dire.

You also know from our correspondence how I’ve struggled for many years to learn to play effective rolling backup… The Build-a-Break process has helped a lot. But I just feel there must be a better, simpler way to do this and I wont give up trying to find a solution. Who knows maybe there is someone already out there with the answer.

Looks like Banjo Billy will be busy in the months to come


What did you think of the latest banjo backup lesson I did regarding fiddle tunes?

1 Like

Loved it !

What did you think of the Backup TAB Arrangement I sent you ?

Prayers for sure, buddy. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do leading up to or during your down time. Those aren’t just nice words. I mean it.


I have really enjoyed the TOPIC of the backup lesson… but… I freely confess to not having tried it just yet.

I dedicated this year to getting some basics down… like the Foggy Lick… and Waypoints… and just cleaning up the songs I play.

With the new job and the new house… oh… not to mention selling mine… this leaves little time for practice at the moment… unfortunately!

My will is strong… I can’t wait to play next…

Ben, I think that is @Archie‘s point, There is sooooo much content at the site… I feel we are all covered for weeks… even months! The depth of material is incredible… and this doesn’t include reviewing (as we all should do) because your lessons have so many nuances!

Always room to improve!

We… your followers are going to be here… missing your presence… but wishing and praying that your return will be both speedy and energized!

We are and will remain here… anxiously awaiting your return. Besides, @fiddle_wood and I were hoping to have the honor to see and meet you up here in Michigan… at that Charlotte Festival. Maybe this year is not likely… but perhaps next! Keep the faith!


There’s already so much to learn here, Ben could stop producing today and it would still take me years to cover everything available… and that’s just the banjo section. Now, I may be slower than others at learning new stuff, but I’d find it hard to believe that anyone could get through an entire instrument’s worth of lessons here in a year’s time and play them all proficiently.


hehe 1 hole year for me in april and im not done with beginner section yet. yeah its alot of stuff to learn.
if you want to play it well before go to next :slight_smile:
still struggling with full d chord. and i wanna do that greensleevs without hickups.

1 Like

Absolutely! Quality over quantity.

1 Like

Mark your not slow. I’ve been here about four or five years and I can testify that I have barely scratched the surface learning banjo solo’s. There is such a wealth of content here and anyone who can zip through all the high quality banjo lessons in a year must be pretty awesome.

1 Like

I’ve been trying to learn this stuff through osmosis. I read, watch and listen… It ain’t werkin’, dang it… I guess I’ll actually have to put my hands on the banjo and do some real practice. :guitar::notes::notes:

1 Like

Hi Gary reading, watching and listening are all important elements of learning to play banjo. But the most important element is picking up the banjo and physically playing it. Staring at it just doesn’t work buddy. :crazy_face:


Ben you know I will be praying for you and also I will place you on the prayer list at our church. Yes getting old is tough enough with out doing bad things to ones self growing up. I have been playing the Irish tune you just put up-, and am having the most fun with it . .still have a long way to go still working on the first part so I can get it in my head . love those types of tunes I am Scott -Irish . The heart failure doc said I have improved , have not had a single bad beat in two months .


Wonderful news, brother!