Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Upright Bass

Ben, I saw in the Fiddle post that you have been talking to your Bass player about giving lessons. I’d definitely be interested if and when you can make it happen. First let me say that your bass player, on the Close to Home album, is really, really good and I’m sure he could share a lot.

I have been playing electric bass off and on for over 30 years starting with rock and moving to country. I just got formally introduced to Bluegrass here about 6 months ago when some friends at Church needed a bass for a Bluegrass tune they wanted to play. I borrowed a friend’s upright and got hooked. Since then, I picked up a really cool Kay 62 M-1 in very good condition about two months ago and have been thumping away.

Thanks for the web site and all the work you put into it. I’ll continue to use my Gold Pick status to improve my guitar skills and maybe some day you will have a bass section.


I’ve played Bass for over thirty years, both elec & Double Bass, in bands of many styles (especially Bluegrass). if you have any specific questions I would be happy to help out for the time being.

You can go through the forum, email me or drop me a PM, however your most comfortable.


You might check out my post in “guitars” “worried Man blues” thread.

I re-wrote a bass part and explained a couple things to Brad there.

Thanks for the offer. I will most likely take you up on it in the future. My biggest challenge for right now is getting used to not having frets. I find my hand sliding down the neck and out of tune really easy. I have put some temporary marks on the neck just for reference to help me get used to my hand position.


It’s not a bad thing to use marks for positioning when starting out. It lets you concentrate on other things you might need like tone, timing, and just flat where you want to play next.

One advantage to not using them though, is it really makes you listen to what you are playing. Many people will play but don’t actually listen hard to what they are playing. I find myself going back and forth sometimes and wonder why I didn’t hear a mistake I was repeating, like a note that wasn’t being played as clean as it could have been, etc.

I think actually hearing what we are playing is very important to improving musically. I try to remind myself to listen carefully to what my instrument is putting out whenever I pick it up (I don’t always remember this though).

Good Luck and have fun!

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Many people will play but don’t actually listen hard to what they are playing.

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This is huge. Lots of people – including me – let practice sessions turn into a sort of meditational activity. It’s mesmerizing to play fast without really paying attention to the end result – the tone. One of the best ways to get better is to really and truly listen to the sound that you’re producing, instead of simply experiencing the overall sensations of playing. It’s difficult for me to take a step back, so to speak, and listen to what’s coming out of my fingers, but when I do manage it, it helps.

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I couldn’t agree more Julian.

Couldn’t agree more as well. I am really trying to concentrate on tone and technique right now focusing on the basics as I get used to the bass. As I get more comfortable, it is getting easier to add speed and complexity. I have only marked the 3rd and 5th fret just so I can get a feel for the note spacing and focus on listening to the notes to stay in tune.