Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Time for Banjo Ben to "grow up"?

Every once in a while I’ll receive an email or comment imploring me to leave behind my adolescent pursuits and waltz more seriously into adulthood. Here’s a recent comment on my Black Friday Secret Ninja Battle Plans movie on facebook:

“Mr. Clark, I have been a big fan of you and your sisters since 2012. But to be honest with you, while these things are cute to some degree, they are also very juvenile and smack of nonsense put out by a second rate used car salesman. They get old very quickly to the mature. Have fun, and do not take yourself too seriously, but you are 41 and need to start acting a little more mature. Spend more time running an efficient business and less on silliness. That is my advice, for whatever it is worth. I really do want you to prosper, though I come across as harsh.”

What say y’all? You can’t hurt my feelings. In fact, now is a great time to ask this question as I’m about to dive into the design of my new site. There is a fork in the road…shall I dance with the one that brought me, or should I move more toward the corporate approach?




Well shut my mouth. I think the person that wrote this is a frosty old FART. For this past year the world has been suffering badly with Covid and continues to do so. America has gone through the craziest election in history. We need a little fun in our lives and you bring that joy to us all every day Ben. I say be yourself not what others want you to be. If they have an issue it’s their issue not yours.

P.S. I have checked out a good few corporate banjo sites. They are boring and lack the personal touch. Which makes your site all the more attractive. More over, ask yourself why your membership continues to grow whilst other sites struggle to retain students.


Dude, we’re banjo players. What more do they expect? :rofl:


The current approach is great and natural. It works and it is very welcome on a teaching environment in my opinion. I strongly disagree with this fella’s argument. Keep being yourself

Maturity has nothing to do with having a sense of humour.


You know what? I would guess that your business would likely suffer if you followed the advice to straighten up and fly right. I can’t prove it, but that is my best guess.

I am not saying that you are perfect but I think your humor is a big part of your success. My gut tells me that your critic’s intent was good (I just happen to think it to be BAD advice). I would thank him for her advice, consider it (as you are clearly doing) and then trust what you want/feel.





And when you become a grandparent you become even more foolish. I was singing let it go in the street (Off Key I am sure) with my youngest Granddaughter who came to the house dressed as Elsa.

Do what you like lad its your business.


Honestly, I think Ben’s humor is part of what makes this site unique. I bet a lot of people see his YouTube videos and are drawn in by the lightheartedness.


DON’T DO IT BEN!!! don’t know about you but in my experience when a good thing get’s to thinkin that the corporate model should be implemented into there business model all thing’s tend to suffer. If you are only interested in the bottom line and just the all mighty dollar then take the plunge, that means higher prices and less quality and poor customer service ( which is very important to you I see) also remember that it can also backfire and completely sink the ship. There is a place for the kind of wonderful and very personnel service you and your team provide. Going corporate ( in my opinion) is not the way to achieve or continue the goals you intend to keep. As an older guy ( 60 yr’s young) have seen very good things go by the way side for the corporate way of thinking and we are all the lesser for it. Being a smaller and intimate business is not a bad thing. ( Just an old Banjo pickers two cents) :sunglasses: P.s. Always stay young ( at least at heart ) it’s better for you and keep’s a smile on your face!!!:smiley:


I’d be curious what he/she does for a living or what kind of business background they have. I think it’s funny that (I’m assuming) they gave this critique on your website for the business that you’re running? Or at the very least about the business you’re running? The same business that has played a role (at least in part, I think you’ve mentioned that before?) in leaving what has become one of the most successful acts of all time? A business which started by posting the same (although much better skill wise) videos that people post to the website you’ve created? You’ve managed to bring people together from literally across the world and help who knows how many others improve themselves musically. Not to mention just opening a brick and mortar store? Just goes to show you can’t please everyone. There are always ways we can improve and evolve, but nobody wins the super bowl by changing the fundamentals and philosophies that got them there in the first place. But seriously @BanjoBen get it together would you? 42 will be here before you know it.


Get a life. That’s lame. Life isn’t meant to be serious all the time. As far as the new site, please don’t change anything. This is the best one ever and one more like it would be great.


It’s your brand, and a big part of what brought a lot of us here. I don’t think you should change a thing. Be true to yourself, your brand, and your loyal customers that enjoy your brand of humor and humility.

I’ve been an online marketer for over 20 years now, and one of the things I’ve learned and see over and over is people wanting to give others their opinions like they matter, but have little to no data to back up their statements.

There will always be armchair quarterbacks to second guess the guy on the field, but until they’re willing to put their blood, sweat, tears, time and money on the line, take it with a grain of salt.


Adding to my previous statements…

IF you can look at your data and see that there is an unexplained downward trend somewhere, then it might be worth considering his comments. That’s the nice thing about unsolicited advice: maybe they see something you don’t, and I suspect that’s the reason you’re asking us here. You want to know if he spotted a potential issue.

Let the data do the talking. Google Analytics, your shopping cart’s sales data, year over year growth, etc.

Don’t make big changes based on “gut feelings” or unsolicited advice.

This applies to everything I’m posting here as well. :slight_smile:


As the owner of a very public business, I’ve just about grown immune to criticisms -especially from those that have never run a business in their lives, yet feel the freedom to criticize others as if they have a supernatural insight as to the decisions one should make on a daily basis. Personally, I’d tell this fella to go back to his unsweetened ice tea, melba toast, and tofu while the rest of us continue to smile & enjoy silly videos.


@BanjoBen, I joined this site because of a lot of reasons, but one of them is because you make learning enjoyable, and you guys are funny :laughing: I honestly think that if you change what you are doing, this site might not have as many people on it. And Mr. Ben, thank you so very much for this very great site!

-Josiah Morrow :rofl::banjo:


This is a corn cob remover. I will gladly buy it and ship it to the person who wrote that.

Seriously, though… something I hear over and over again in the books I read and the podcasts I listen to is “Don’t take advice from people who aren’t where you want to be.” If the person that gave you this advice is a superstar raking in the dough, OK… maybe give it some thought. If it’s just somebody with too much time on their hands, ignore them and keep doing what you do.

Steph doesn’t really get in to my banjo stuff, including Banjo Ben videos… but even after I showed her your Black Friday video, a couple of days later I caught her watching it on her own.

You’re on the right track. Keep being yourself. That’s what everyone loves.


Seriously. Anyone who claims to have been a BIG FAN of yours and you’re sisters since 2012 would not address you as “Mr Clark”. You’ve gotta find the junk mail button quickly @BanjoBen it’s just a TROLL


Whoever sent that E-Mail is entitled to their opinion and free to send such things… But… He or she will be ridiculously outnumbered with the exact opposite opinion! (Including me)!

I’ve been a lifetime member pretty much since you started when you were physically writing tablature and trying to get the camera to zoom in and focus correctly! I remember when the Airline lost your Taylor and how excited you were to get it back! I remember your Rattlesnake mandolin… and your McPherson guitar that you had inlayed with roman numerals (which came a little later when things were taking off)! Whatever happened to that anyway?

I (and others) have actually watched you mature! I think you have put less humor into your work than before (but enough to know it’s still you). I remember you rapping to Foggy Mountain Breakdown for Heaven’s Sakes. So, I believe you’ve already done what this E-Mailer has suggested.

I say be yourself, be what God made you and follow His guidance… Not E-Mailers, or me or anyone else.
Look at where you came from and how you took a chance and started this whole thing… and look at you now!
I’d say you’ve been very successful and quite Blessed. So keep on doing what you love to do and do it the way You feel is right!

BTW, my two all time favorites are Jazzy Joy to the World and one many probably won’t remember and I can’t find it but it’s a lesson (Banjo I think) where you started off a real Doofus (and pretty much stayed that way). You had a Coke on the table next to you and you couldn’t seem to get started with the lesson. Then you decided you were thirsty and said something like “Gosh, I’m thirsty” and took a drink of the coke with these extremely goofy expressions. If anybody finds that, post it please! Good stuff!

Thanks for all you do Ben!


There’s nothing wrong with a bit of humor.

I believe it may help many students feel more comfortable in a situation that can be quite discomforting/intimidating at times, and that it can enhance the feeling that you are “approachable”.

As a dedicated curmudgeon, I don’t dwell much on the humorous aspects of the site, but you have plenty of serious content here for those interested.

I can also see the benefits gained by the experience in editing, etc. you gain from exploring with the technology…which can all transfer to a higher quality product in the long run.

Carry on Sir…you’re doing fine…