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Thread: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

  1. #1
    Registered User MartieChick09's Avatar
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    Default Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    Anyone bought an instrument from the Banjo Ben Clark store? What's been your experience? There's an Eastman 515V available on the site. I've looked at a few different models of the 515 (cc, varnish and the original) online, but I'm not sure which one would be best. Is the varnish model worth the extra ~$125 over the original (which is available at TMS)?

    Additionally, anyone currently doing lessons through his site/videos? What kind of songs/music does he teach? What do you think? Would you pick his site over others or no? Let me know! Thanks in advance for all your guidance and wise wisdom!

  2. #2
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I've heard nothing but great things about BB.

    I would think that purchasing an instrument and/or lessons from him would be good either way.
    Chris Cravens

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I can recommend Banjo Ben.

    I'm a lifetime member there. He's a good teacher and creates a friendly environment. Each lesson has an intro video, 2 or three short videos breaking down the tune/technique, play along tracks, tab and notation all on one page. It's a great format. The lessons are centered on bluegrass but also include a bit of country, Americana, a little jazz, light theory, and hymns. He cranks the content out regularly. Plenty to learn as long as you like BG.

    I've never bought an instrument there but I get lots of accessories stings tuners etc. Fast reliable shipping.
    Girouard Concert A5
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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I bought an Eastman mandola from them a few years ago, the order process was great. I had a question that was quickly resolved with a short convo with Jake and I received it quickly with no issues.

    I’ve been a lifetime member for years now, he does mostly OT, BG, and gospel. The lessons are well organized and his teaching style is great, there are tabs and play alongs as well a a forum to ask ques. He usually offers a discount on the lifetime membership around Xmas.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  5. #5
    Resident Hack
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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    Member. Been appreciating the lessons for a year now. He doesn't have lessons for every song in the world, just most of them. Good lessons on technique, scales, licks. I have improved, with this as my sole lesson site.

    Thumbs up from me, for sure.

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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    Ben has great arrangements of lots of bluegrass standards, plus more gospel tunes than most sites if you are into that, plus other useful instruction. Online resources, in the scheme of things, are pretty inexpensive and pack a good value, so try out Ben, and then try out various others you hear about. Theyve generally got to be pretty good to have developed a following, and the cost of trying them is low.

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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I wasn't able to A/B them, but I have played both the std 515 and the 515V. I played the std version in a store, and I really liked it. I probably would have bought it if it hadn't sold while I was thinking about it. Since then I bought a 515V that I like a lot. I think you would be happy either way, but being able to play them both is of course the best test.
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    Listen to original tune "When You Fly" by my old band The Kindreds

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    Registered User mswilks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I've bought several accessories from BB and they seem to get to my house about 10 minutes after I've ordered them.

  9. #9
    Registered User MartieChick09's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    Haha mswilks! Where are they based out of? From their website it looks like maybe somewhere in Missouri but I'm not sure. Oh, and the 515V is now out of stock �� but at least I now know that is the model that I want! So I'll just keep patiently waiting up here in MN!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I purchased a new mandolin from Banjo Ben last year. First class service…would not hesitate to use them again.

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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I also purchased my mandolin from BB last year, a Northfield NF5S. They were very responsive to questions and overhang arrived in great shape. Very friendly folks to deal with. Have wondered about the lessons.
    Northfield NF-F5S
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    Id recommend Banjo Ben 100%! He and the rest of the staff are super helpful, honest, and great people. Their customer service is great too and Ive had nothing but good experiences with everything Banjo Ben!

    The lessons are very well put together and he has the perfect variety of songs for mandolin, banjo, and guitar. You can see a list of the songs on the website before being an actual Gold Pick Member.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Banjo Ben Clark store, lessons and Eastman 515V

    I like BB and his store a lot. He is a good player and teacher.

    Personally I think he needs to add another step in teaching in between his current intermediate and advanced lessons. There is too much of a jump from one to the other. JMO. His intermediate lessons are too easy for me and his advanced lessons are way harder. They are not impossible but I would like another step in between the 2
    .. I realize he is working his fingers off making new content, but I felt like the difference between intermediate and advanced was just too far apart. Hope that makes sense. I consider myself a very advanced intermediate if judging by his lessons. LOL

    His store is excellent. I've bought a mandolin and plenty of supplies from BB. My Eastman 305 came from BB and was set up perfectly straight out of the box. It's a good $500 mandolin. I have no complaints.

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