Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Who's your favorites?

Hey I was wondering which flatpickers you fellas like to listen to? I know about doc, Tony and Randy (Scruggs) who else should I check out?

@BanjoBen Mostly these days Earl did some fine pickin, as did Lester, Doc too and Tony Rice as I recall> I’m more of a banjo fan

David Grier, Kenny Smith, Jeff Autry, Dan Crary, Clarence White, Clay Hess, & Norman Blake just to name a few…


All the names mentioned are amazing. If there was a Mount Rushmore of bluegrass many would have their faces carved deep.

One of the new names that continues to impress and never disappoint is Billy Strings. I’d recommend checking him out if you haven’t yet. You’re young and likely have a lot of energy. You should be able to identify with Billy. I respect that he is moving the genre forward while honoring and not losing sight of the past.

There is a collection in’s Live Music Archive of his concerts if you have interest. You can freely download or stream recent audience recordings. I am listening to the 8/19 show at Hoxeyville Music Festival while writing this. Any 25 year old flatpicking phenom who brings his dad out on stage with him to sing Bill Monroe songs is okay in my book.


Terry & Billy are both cool folks…used to pick with them both and Billy’s uncle Brad fairly often when they all lived close…yep, Bill has turned into a pretty good picker and a great entertainer…well worth a look…
Pic is from a set we did in the theater in Bill’s home town.


Billy & Terry (Dad) on guitars
Uncle Brad Lasco on banjo
Me on Bass


Thanks, I’ll check them out

Bryan Sutton and Jake Workman are two incredibly technical players. If you want to go for pure mind-blowing solo arrangements that are still tasty, you need to check out David Grier.



I’ve been lucky enough to have attended workshops with Mark Cosgrove, Robert Shafer, Robin Kessinger, Wayne Henderson, Kenny Smith, David Grier and a few other fellows. As a guitar teacher, I have a terrible habit of picking apart every guitar player’s technique to see what they could do better (after 45 years, it is a habit I cannot break). And to be clear, there is not a slouch in the the bunch. However, David Grier was, simply, unbelievable. His technique, his choice of lines were mesmerizing and downright jaw-dropping. When I asked him about ”what are you thinking when you solo over that C9 chord?", he replied, “what C9?”. He really HEARS every note he chooses; unbelievable! The funny thing is that he doesn’t see that ability as being particularly unusual or amazing. He is even more fun to listen to when he is just jamming.


I totally agree.
Got a chance to jam with David many years ago when he played for Doug Dillard…impeccable melody lines…and a super nice guy to boot.

It’s amazing how two of the world’s best Flatpickers (at least in my book) can have such opposite right hand technique and both still end up with stunning results! I’m talking about watching Mr Grier’s right hand in this video and comparing him to Tony Rice.

David has a ton of arm movement and hardly ever changes the angle of his pick or moves his fingers while Tony looks like he’s never moving his arm at all and picks almost exclusively by wrist movement and turning his fingers in and out.

I couldn’t get it to load, but check out Tony Rice “Tipper” on Youtube. Should be the first one that comes up (John Hartford introduces him). About 33 seconds in, you’ll see what I mean.

Just proves that there’s no right or wrong way of playing… whatever works for the one who holds the pick!

Thanks DR for posting that!

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Oh my barking quill diggles! I only got to watching this now, that was amazing I loved it!

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You don’t want to meet one in the woods :wink::scream::joy:

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+1 for Billy Strings. I just saw him and his band last night at a local club and I was floored! I’ve never heard anyone pick so fast and with such clear articulation. The band was stellar also. Great mandolin, bass and banjo player with him. They are very progressive-rock bluegrass if that makes any sense. Every song had solo sections that went on a good 15 to 20 minutes. Not always my cup of tea but that is what he’s doing theses days. No denying that Billy Strings is well on his way to being one of the all time great flat pickers.


all those listed above, lots of seriously great players…lately I’ve really been impressed with Molly Tuttle, all the Tuttles I’ve listened to and The Goodbye Girls…I’m sure this is old news but new news to me since I don’t get around much anymore…oh and dang Banjo Ben what a fine, fine tasteful picker you are, big thumbs up!!

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These Gals are pretty cool

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I want to see the purple hulls, with Sierra hull, all playing some song on guitar. That would be cool!

Why don’t you write to Katy and Penny and ask them? Nothing ventured.

Cuz I don’t have an email adress yet