If your are learning to play bluegrass, or spend any time searching for it on YouTube, you have probably run into Banjo Ben Clark. His highly entertaining instructional videos are widely available online, offering free tips and lessons for people learning to play banjo, mandolin, or guitar.
He adopts a comical character in the videos, meant to reduce some of the intimidation that many new pickers feel when approaching the music. But Ben is really a pretty regular guy dedicated to helping people become bluegrass musicians.
Hailing from Texas, he took a stab at a career as a scientist, but his love for music kept nagging until he had to give it a try. After working with a number of Nashville-based bands, Clark started touring with his two sisters as The Purple Hulls, and around 2011 he launched his Banjo Ben persona which has become a lifeline to his thousands of YouTube followers who use the videos to improve their playing.
This summer sees the launch of his newest venture, a full-service online music store for bluegrass pickers and students. Ben has teamed up with two of the top men from the old Janet David Music Store, now defunct, to open Banjo Ben’s General Store.
For many years, Janet Davis Music was a go-to spot for strings, accessories, and instruments. Even before the internet entered our lives, Janet and her staff filled mail orders by phone, shipping supplies as well as banjos and guitars, to pickers all across the US. She eventually built it into one of the largest businesses of its sort before retiring in 2013. The company was sold and new owners ran it for several years before the pressures of contemporary retail forced them to close up shop.
During the time the business was running, Robby Boone developed quite a following as a banjo expert and helpful source of information. Loyal customers would call and speak to him about anything banjo-related, even if it didn’t relate directly to a sale at the store. When they shut down, a good many people lost not only a convenient place to shop for strings and such, but a building full of helpful folks who knew the bluegrass instrument business inside and out.
Now Robby, and his fellow Janet Davis alum Jake Stogdill, are working with Ben at the General Store. He put together this video introduction to explain to everyone what they are doing.
Like his videos, Banjo Ben’s General Store caters primarily to new players, offering budget-priced imported instruments to get you started right, along with strings, picks, tuners, straps, cases and all manner of accouterments. They have instruments for young pickers as well as used ones for sale.
To enter his giveaway, follow this link.