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Playing Since: 1976
Experience Level: Expert/Professional
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]
Occupation: Luthier, Teacher, Webmaster
1989 Dotson Wreath #3
1929 Gibson Style 4 Mahogany TB conversion with Hearts and Flowers inlay and a Steve Huber HR-30 Tone Ring
2007 Richie Dotson RB-3 copy (Dotson name in Headstock) with a Huber tone ring and a ?Special? but secret wood rim. You wouldn?t believe this thing. I laugh when I think of how simple it was to make the change I did and what a great range this banjo has. Rosewood fingerboard on a mahogany and the tone is dry, hollow and has loads of personality ... better volume than any of the other banjos in my arsenal.
2008 Style 3 (leaves and bows) with Huber Tone Ring, old wood rim and a Tim James neck. This banjo is a true Frankenstein, but holy cow, this is at the top of the food chain for the sound I want. Jason and Doug, thank you for this happy, happy banjo accident! This one won't be going anywhere.
8 Japanese imports
1924 Washburn with a retro 5-String neck. Not a powerhouse, but really nice tone. Different from a pre-war Gibson?s slightly complex overtones and typically dry timbre, but spookily close, and I associate that with the octogenarian wood rim.
5 or 6 P.O.J. banjos or parts enough to supply an impaired orchestra of hillbilly pigmies.
Flatt and Scruggs
The Osborne Brothers
New Grass Revival
The Bluegrass Album Band
Nashville Bluegrass Band
Ronnie Barnes (my local hero)
The Stanley Brothers
Doyal Lawson and Quicksilver with Terry Baucom or Scott Vestal or Jim Mills ...well, I guess Mr Lawson hasn't had a bad banjo player, now has he?
Anyone else who didn't stop at only 4 chords and one first generation band style.
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Last Visit 6/11/2013
I was born on March 4, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan and soon after returned with my parents to their home in Phelps, Kentucky, a small coal mining community tucked away deep in the Appalachian Mountains in Pike County. I began playing the banjo at about the age of 9 when my grandfather, Charles Everett Dotson, purchased an inexpensive banjo from Sears in Williamson, West Virginia and taught me to play my first tune in a minstrel style. That tune, John Henry, changed my idea of recreation forever.
Most of my free weekends during my teens, and most free weekdays during summer breaks from Phelps High School were spent in the home of my nearby neighbor, Carl Dotson, for whom my first book will be dedicated, and his wife, Gertrude, immersing myself in the music I had fallen so deeply in love with. The invaluable lessons learned during these influential years spent jamming and playing along with old-time, Gospel and Bluegrass songs with Carl and Gertrude and my childhood musical friend, James (Jimbo) Compton on guitar set the stage for me. Other local musicians like Dean Jackson of Hurley, Virginia, a superb guitar player and singer in the area, kept my attention and allowed me exposure to some of the best pickin? available in the tri-state area.
I began playing with a local Bluegrass Gospel band, Larry Fuller (1948-2007) and the Born Again at the age of fifteen where he spent about 3 years recording and playing on a regional level in churches, radio and television shows and the occasional Bluegrass festival until my enlistment into the United States Navy in 1985. After my 4-year obligation expired I eventually settled down in the Tidewater area of Virginia and now am moving on to Chesterfield, Virginia where I teach banjo, guitar and mandolin as well as build and repair banjos and other stringed, acoustic instruments in my home workshop.
I own and personally maintain a luthier?s how-to webpage aimed mostly at the banjo that can be viewed at: http://www.BanjoResource.com
My loving wife Jeanne and I have four children and one grandchild. Our home is full of love, music and occasionally chaos and drama.
I hope you will say hello if you see me out.