Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

What kind of songs do you want to learn....?

Since I took up banjo…again…I really want to learn to play some of the 70’s rock songs. There are some cool ones out there, I do not know how many you can actually play banjo to, But I did find a site that has PDF and Tef files for download. Most of them are free others are not too bad in cost, just depending on who is posting it. If anyone is interested I will post the link(providing the powers that be are ok with it). I don’t want to take away from ANY of Bens teachings. These are additional songs that you might want to just take a stab at.

I don’t really have a desire to learn rock songs on banjo (at the moment) but I could see where using Ben’s lessons here to come up with your own banjo leads to songs you like would be a good exercise. I bet the knowledge you’d walk away with from spending the time to figure it out would be invaluable.

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@Mark_Rocka I understand. I’m not talking about ALL rock songs. there are just a few I would really like to learn. Besides, just for me, I don’t know too many guitar players that know bluegrass songs, I would just like to be able to play along instead of just listening. I really love the Bluegrass songs and there are soooooo many to learn. But in my neck of the woods, bluegrass jams are more the exception than the rule. I really just want to play anything I can. That is really my main goal. Its going to be quite a while before I am even close to being ready for any of those songs. And this website i mentioned is not ALL rock songs, there a whole lot of other songs and artists there too(i didnt want anyone to think it was all rock or pop songs).

Greetings @_Tye_Stick, It was the Deliverance soundtrack that pulled me in from my 80’s heavy metal to learn bluegrass banjo. So I’m mostly a traditionalist when it comes to this instrument. However, I can appreciate a few deviations of which I’ll recommend for you to check out: One of my favorites is Eddie Adcock’s rendition of Skynyrd’s “Call Me the Breeze”: (you can download the studio recorded song from Amazon or just buy the album). Also, check out the Pickin’ On series. They have Pickin’ on the Stones, Zeppelin, U2, etc. Of course this is all sort of bluegrassifying rock. If you just want to play along with real rockers, I’d put down the acoustic and plug in (Nechville makes an electric banjo). Lastly, you can hear Krazy Kirk & the Hillbillies do ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” on youtube while sporting their overalls :joy: Enjoy.

I support any path of learning that results in something like this. Is there anything a banjo can’t do?..

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Oh yeah, and this is another one. I forgot about the Steve’n Seagulls. Good one @Woodshed. I’d also recommend listening to some Don Reno, @_Tye_Stick He has rock-n-roll flair in his picking. I especially like the album Fastest Five Strings Alive. Also be sure to look at Ben’s bluesy banjo lessons.

Trade in your fingerpicks for a flat pick and your good to go.

But @Archie, Reno did it with two picks (single stringin’ style). If he would have only had Chris Stapleton for his singer! Not to worry though, as I said before, I am mostly a traditionalist when it comes to bluegrass, because that is what drew me to it in the first place (not that country rock stuff that just barely discovered the rock fog that Kiss used many years ago :rofl:

@Woodshed I agree…versatility I think is the key to any instrument. If you can play a WIDE variety of songs that make you more valuable in the long run. The first time I heard “Thunderstruck” by Steven N Seagulls, i was blown away how cool that actually sounded.
I have seen them play soooo many songs on YouTube, those guys are major talented. The “hillbilly look” with the Rock N Roll sound. Its funny, when you tell people you are learning to play an instrument and then you tell them its a banjo, OMG…:astonished: you can just see the wheels turning in their heads trying to figure out how to get out of this conversation…:crazy_face:…lol

@Ragamuffin ill check into him also.

@Archie Actually some of the tef files I downloaded you need to have fingerpicks. Now there are a couple of songs I been “flirting” with at a really slow speed is “Pipeline” by the Chantays, and “Wipeout” by The Safaris. Out of the 2, “Wipeout” is probably the easiest of them(even though the songs regular BPMs are really fast also). “Pipeline” has some single string triplets that, i have no idea how to play them at low speed let alone the songs regular BPMs.:sweat:
but its fun to experiment with different things on the banjo. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, that’s what is all boils down to.

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Hey @_Tye_Stick, have you heard of the band Iron Horse? Not sure which rock songs you fancy, but they did a tribute album to Metallica. Here’s a video of them performing Enter Sandman.

I’ve learned Sweet Home Alabama on banjo using the three finger style. Have you learned any rocks songs, or did you just recently stumble on these files you mentioned?

Van Halen’s “Eruption”:

@5stringpreacher .Ill have to check them out also, im not tooo particular, i rather like the 60,70s type music, and some of the 80’s stuff.

just been playing around with some really easy songs. I am still learning to play, so I try to stay with songs I know I can stay with. I did learn to play an easy version of “The Pink Panther” at a lower speed until I get all figured out, its kind of cool to play. Sweet Home Alabama would be a cool one to learn also. So there are so many, so I just go through the ones I would like to possibly learn and just listen to them for a while its either a “no” or “possibly”…If you want to look at some of the listings here is the site… Once you find a song, click on it and then scroll to the bottom of the page and you can go from there.

@Ragamuffin thats a great “southern” version. I would love to see him actually play it, instead of just hearing the song, But i can tell that its pretty intense. Thanks for sharing.

@5stringpreacher that was an awesome video. Heavy metal with Bluegrass feel. A great rendition. Their vocals are pretty tight also. Thanks for sharing that one also.

Happy banjo dude YouTube channel has lessons on all kinds of songs like this, radiohead, John Denver, some pop. I’m not sure the extent of his stuff, but it’s worth checking out

That’s where I learned Sweet Home Alabama. It was a lot easier than I thought @_Tye_Stick. I also picked up his rendition of Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver.

@Dragonslayer i actually signed up with “HBD” and I did get some of his material and downloaded a bunch of his songs, but all he really does is play it slowly than at tempo, never really shows you fingerings(it just NEVER really worked for me) or teaches as @BanjoBen does. I know HBD does have the Pdfs and I have some of them, I do like his songs of choice of songs and I am not implying that he is not good at teachings, but I never really learned much. Its funny, all of the teachers out there they will teach you something different, and they are all very very good at their craft. I want to learn to play thats “easy” for ME to learn. I should be living in Missouri…The “show me” state, thats how i learn.

Don Wayne Reno (Don’s son) played w/ Hayseed Dixie.…might be worth giving them a listen…

Yeah, I noticed from the video of his that I watched that he was that kind of teacher. @5stringpreacher, I also learned country roads from him, which is why Mr. Denver was who I mentioned in reference to his channel

@fiddle_wood well, definitely a different kind of song. Explicit lyrics for sure. I liked it though. They do a good rendition of “Fat Bottom Girs” by Queen, I also listened to.
@Dragonslayer, He’s got some good learning books I purchased, and I’m sure ill go back and look at them from time to time. I do like “Country Roads” song. That’ll be on my playlist for sure.
But the teaching @BanjoBen has been outstanding. I have learned a bunch of information and I’m only in the beginning stages. I can’t wait to see what I will learn as I progress through the teachings.