Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Tom Skerry

Hi eveyone can you reccomend Bens lessons for backing up Irish ballads thanks Tom Cheshire UK

Hi Tom,

This is an interesting question. As you probably know by now, the Banjo Ben Clark site is primarily focused on the Bluegrass style. Someone with far more experience than I in the UK and/or Irish traditions should be able to comment with much greater input as to the adaptability of the merging of Styles… @Archie perhaps.

That said, there are a number of backup lessons within the Bluegrass style and tradition and I cannot imagine that NONE of the info in those lessons would be of any use.

Wait a sec… I hate using double negatives…

Let me try that again. I would think that - no matter what - reviewing the backup lessons would help you in some manner or another. I know there are some recent lessons that began as a collaboration with Ben and special guest - Tony Wray… which providing what is called Utility Rolls. Ben also enhanced that session with another lesson. Please check them out.

Good luck to you sir and I hope that you check back to share your insights with us here on @BanjoBen’s Forum.

Hi @daveskerry

Traditionally Irish and Scottish music is played on a four string tenor banjo tuned like a mandolin. Although having said that there are some great 5 string banjo players that play Scottish and Irish (Celtic) music. The timing of Celtic music differs from Bluegrass in that it has a lilting sound made possible by the use of dotted notes and triplets.

A couple of books that may be of interest

The Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo by Tom Hanway (Irish)

Celtic Tune Encyclopaedia for 5-String Banjo Iain MacLachlan (Scottish)

Both available from Melbay

@BanjoBen doesn’t cover many Irish tunes but here’s one he did earlier this year.

Irish Washerwoman

1 Like

He also covers st. Anne’s and the temperance reels

1 Like