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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Banjo Builder Interviews - My 60th Birthday Present.

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gregsbanjo - Posted - 10/06/2011:  17:41:32


Love the interview on Vimeo of Greg Galbreath of  Buckeye Banjos. Might just have to get one of those beauties. smiley

Quick question: Are you still selling the whole DVD series. Would love to have one.




frailin - Posted - 10/06/2011:  17:48:16

Hi Greg.  Volume 1 - Banjo Builders EAST of the Mississippi is finished and shipping.  You can order it at:

One week from tomorrow I fly into Portland, OR for a long weekend to interview the first 8 builders of the WESTERN Swing.  

Can't wait!  big

gregsbanjo - Posted - 10/06/2011:  17:59:58

Great. Have a great trip.




bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/06/2011:  20:48:55

can't wait

neillconnor - Posted - 10/11/2011:  02:17:40

Not a banjo maker, but a maker of chairs for banjo players. This is a nice video

bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/11/2011:  11:20:57

cool video


talented carpenter and bonjo-er



Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 10/11/2011:  13:34:37

Is that a Clifford Essex he is playing?

flatfootjohnny - Posted - 10/12/2011:  06:27:04

Great! so now im gonna have to buy me one of those rocking banjo chairs... AND this DVD! :-)

neillconnor - Posted - 10/12/2011:  06:53:13

Is that a Clifford Essex he is playing?

No, it's another English banjo, a Windsor popular no2

frailin - Posted - 10/12/2011:  09:59:59

Lovely craft!  I love the video as much as the chairs!

Now I want one, too.  big

Wish this guy lived closer. 

neillconnor - Posted - 10/12/2011:  10:18:23

If you do a volume 3 of the banjo builders and come to the uk, you could pick one up from him, he lives in Bromyard 15 miles away from Griffin banjos.

frailin - Posted - 10/13/2011:  11:06:05




Did anyone in the US spot an article about Bill Rickard and/or the Banjo Builders yesterday?  As of noon today his free Program at Vimeo had had OVER 500 views!  Whoa!

I'm off to the great NW tomorrow at o'dark 30.  Will be posting some pics and updates from the road.  

I get to go meet another batch of new old friends.  Yay!  big

Enviroguy - Posted - 10/13/2011:  14:17:02

What a great project. You have done a bang-up job of producing this series. I'm riveted. Somebody sent me the Bill Rickard episode - I toured his shop and met him about a year before. Great to see him documented - he's a great guy.
Thanks a million, Craig!

YorkshireWannabeOldTimer - Posted - 10/13/2011:  15:26:16

I just watched the last extra of the last DVD of Volume 1, having watched all that preceded it, and I've got to say - a great enterprise with a great outcome. The prospect of further instalments... excellent!

frailin - Posted - 10/13/2011:  15:59:11

Mystery Solved


"Put it in here... it comes out there."  You gotta love the web!  

Now I have an explanation for the increase in traffic to watch Bill Rickard's Program.  It was reposted several times yesterday.  One outlet was Reddit... a site where artists can post videos of them doing what they do.  

I love the last quote:  "I find it hard to believe that anyone who makes banjos could possibly be a hateful person."  big

The second post was on Metafilter... one of the earlier weblog/forums that today reports over 3.5 MILLION visitors a MONTH!  

There were several quotes complimentary to Bill there, too.  I especially liked this one.

At this rate, Bill's show will reach 1,000 views (in one day) by 8 or 9 tonight.  big

I love it that folks are learning about our banjo builders.  approve

Edited by - frailin on 10/13/2011 16:03:56

bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/13/2011:  16:52:04

it would be great if even a fraction of the people who downloaded the vimeo or responded to reddit BOUGHT the dvd set Mr. Evans is selling.  I wonder if referring to the availablity of the dvd's on these sites would be helpful?

That might help defray costs of vol1 and 2, and help pave the way for Banjo Builders of the UK (or Canada or Antarctica or Iceland)




frailin - Posted - 10/13/2011:  17:00:12

I've sold about 140 DVD sets now.  That has generated enough $$ to fund the NW Swing and then some.  And that's a good thing as I won't know about the grant until next March.  


Putting it another way, if I'd NOT bought a computer (a necessary $2k expense to handle HD files), I'd be right at breakeven on Volume 1.  

I'm confident the project will continue to pay for itself.  There aren't many hobbies with that as a benefit!

Besides, this has been an absolute blast to do.  smiley

scruss - Posted - 10/13/2011:  17:01:48


Originally posted by frailin

Mystery Solved

Yeah, I posted it to metafilter, and someone on reddit picked it up from there.

frailin - Posted - 10/13/2011:  17:05:13

Thanks Stewart!

frailin - Posted - 10/14/2011:  11:26:47

Touchdown Portand, OR - 10:05A


Banjo Builder Western Swing Agenda: 

John Bowlin (WA)-Friday

Doc Huff and Mark Platin-Saturday (OR)

Brooks Masten & party at Scott Killops! (OR)-Sunday

Jason Mogi & Gary Davidson from Dusty Strings (WA)-Monday

Jason Romero (Horsefly, BC)-Tues/Wed 

Chuck and Tanya Ogsbury (CO)-Saturday


bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/15/2011:  17:05:23

Good luck on the western swing!  I have admired the work of Jason Romero and Brooks Masten for a few years now--they approach the banjo in similar but aesthetically different directions.  I like the ornate nature of the Romero instruments and the basic simplicity of the Brooks banjo equally.

Tell Mr. Masten to update his blog--some of us actually follow what's happening in his shop!



J-Walk - Posted - 10/15/2011:  19:04:10

Craig, you need to figure out a way to sell that DVD set on Amazon and other channels.

That said, the Western swing promised to be even better than the Eastern swing.

frailin - Posted - 10/15/2011:  22:12:19

Staying at Chateau Brooks tonight. Will try to update soon.

On task and on schedule. Got some great stories. :)

BackDraft307 - Posted - 10/16/2011:  00:53:27

Man Craig... What you are going is so awesome. To presurve the banjo and it Artiest like this.... It makes me think how cool would it be if this could have been done... 100's of years ago when all the banjo stuff started....
I can not wait to get my piggy bank full enough to order the East Coast DVD's... Then start saving up for the west coast set...
Safe Travels....

frailin - Posted - 10/16/2011:  07:21:26

Western Swing... first 3 interviews.


Wow.  That's all I can say.  WOW!  I can't promise this group of fine individuals will be any BETTER than those of the Eastern Swing, but I CAN promise you, THEY ARE EQUALLY AS FASCINATING!!  

Friday was my chance to capture the stories of the delightful, happy, gregarious John Bowlin.  Amazing work!  AND THEN I had the good fortune of being able to LISTEN to the the Bowlin 1865 Fretless at the hands of one of the best... R.D. Lunceford his'self!  

Check out that smile!  Didn't come easy, lemmetellya.  


Saturday morning was Doc Huff.  

I wish I could see all the shapes and colors inside his head.  Fortunately, his hands are capable of reproducing most of them.  Yep, that's his house he build himself.  

And after traveling the world with his medical missionary work, he's got a cache of wood you would not believe!  This is one of 3 stashes. 

Doc is one more delightful builder that recognizes the joy these instruments bring to the WHOLE world (he always takes his with him). 


And Saturday afternoon I met another hero of mine... Mark Platin. 

Wildwood is alive and well... and Mark continues to produce some of the finest banjos in the world.  What a pleasure it was to shake his hand and thank him in  person.  

Today (Sunday) is Brooks Masten.  Then party at Scott Killops house!   Wheee!

Hope someone has a banjo they can lend me to play.  smiley

J-Walk - Posted - 10/16/2011:  10:16:49

Craig, those are really some great photos. Professional quality.

orangikan - Posted - 10/16/2011:  18:02:03

Agreed on the great photos. I was really impressed in volume 1 with how the still photos of the builders seemed to capture something of their character.

frailin - Posted - 10/16/2011:  18:45:23

That's precisely my goal, Adam.  So what does this pic tell you about Brooks Masten?  big

More great stories.  


J-Walk - Posted - 10/16/2011:  19:15:24

It tells me he uses a pick on his index finger. Never woulda guessed that. 

Brooks and Doc are the only two of these builders that I've ever met. Both were good peoples. You must be having a hell of a good time, Craig.

neillconnor - Posted - 10/17/2011:  04:01:01

Great pictures Craig, can't wait to see volume 2

Scanbran - Posted - 10/17/2011:  11:56:33

Craig, my vol.1 DVDs arrived today, and I'm watching them right now.

I just want to say thanks very much for doing this project - absolutely fascinating viewing, and it was a joy to hear from my favourite player, Howie Bursen.

So far, the interviews have been great, but I must say Bill Rickard's story was so inspiring (I didn't know this before) and watching him give a tour of his incredible workshop was just jaw-dropping.

Wonderful stuff!


frailin - Posted - 10/17/2011:  20:45:01

I'm delighted folks are enjoying Volume 1 of the banjo builders.  The great news is, Volume 2 is shaping up to be equally as interesting in people, product, techniques and MORE (to be detailed later... probably as an extra).  smiley

Today was banjo virtuoso (and builder) Jason Mogi of Deadwood Revival.  After a talk and shop tour, Jason and Kim (his wife and band mate) gave me a front row seat to the two of them demonstrating Jason's wares.  Wow!  I seem to be saying that a lot.  

Later on in the afternoon I drove to Seattle to talk over banjo/music trends with Dusty Strings owner Gary Davidson and his go-to banjo guy, Rob  Bulkley.  More verification the movement from BG to CH is not just a regional anomaly (it's a national trend!).  

I'm about to crash at the Sandman Hotel in Cache Creek, BC... a little over 2 hours outside of Horsefly.  Tomorrow it's Jason and Pharis Romero.  


agent369 - Posted - 10/18/2011:  13:44:47

As a fan of Jason and DWR, this is one that I was looking forward to

Mike Buchman - Posted - 10/18/2011:  16:43:17

Minor correction, Gary Davidson is a retail sales manager at Dusty Strings but not owner. That distinction goes to Ray and Sue Mooers.


J-Walk - Posted - 10/18/2011:  16:50:25

I really want a Jason Mogi banjo. Every time I see one for sale, it's already gone.

frailin - Posted - 10/18/2011:  20:55:09

It's 9 hours north of Seattle...


And worth the drive.  big   Here are a few highlights of my day with Jason and Pharis.

Once you get to spend some time around these two, you understand why they're here doing what they do.  And how fortunate that makes all us banjo lovers.  


ScottK - Posted - 10/18/2011:  21:48:31

You rock, Craig!  Thanks for bringing us all these great stories!  It was sure great to meet you Sunday and play a few tunes together!  Hope we get to do it again sometime!


frailin - Posted - 10/19/2011:  06:56:42

Some close ups from in and around the Romero's workshop.  

corgies - Posted - 10/19/2011:  07:57:25

Yeah! Hello to my banjo's birth parents!

bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/19/2011:  18:27:39

MAN  I love the west coast--the topology, the attitudes, their approach to the world.  I have spent time in washington and I lived in alaska in the early 90's while working as a forest firefighter in the US forest service--it really is  a beautiful area, and western canada is so untouched.


Makes my east coast feel kinda stuffy and flat



StraitsBlueGal - Posted - 10/19/2011:  18:56:59


I feel so uncool....  Need to become a luthier ASAP (actually, not a bad idea at all!).

J-Walk - Posted - 10/19/2011:  19:11:44

Jason must be doing OK. Many a banjo maker would have been forced to spend that $5 bill hanging on his wall! :)

Craig, what's the anticipated release date for this 2nd video? Just curious because... you know why.

bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/19/2011:  20:58:32

Used to be you could make a crack about canadian money--something like--hey to you and me thats 5 dollars--that's a years worth of groceries in canadian money.....

....dollars no longer that strong......



bricklifter1 - Posted - 10/19/2011:  21:01:52

it's gonna be hard to wait until fall of 2012........i think I'll picket



I just love quirky humor




frailin - Posted - 10/25/2011:  10:08:04

Home... finally.  


I'm now uploading footage from the Northwest Swing.  Just finishing up Doc Huff's shop tour (got John Bowlin's interview first).  There are some amazing stories in here.  

Here are some pics from Friday's visit to Ome.  Wow.  This place always impresses me.  

Chuck and Tanya both interviewed.  


Here are a few snaps from the shop tour.  As Chuck says, he's got several years of inventory on hand.  

The work/craftsmanship on display is breath-taking. 

Brought to you by the Ome team...

Ok.  Back to it.  smiley

frailin - Posted - 10/25/2011:  10:11:43

Oh.  I spent the weekend in Denver with my son, Seth.  He's a musician out there.  DeAnne flew in from Minneapolis to share the fun.  We hiked the mountains, videotaped two of Seth's performances and ate way too much.  All the ingredients of a great vacation.  

Here we are up above Red Rocks.  

certified male - Posted - 10/25/2011:  13:26:56

I just started going through all these pages and haven't read them all yet... just skimmed.  Great stuff great project.  Have you stopped in to see Stan and Sandy yet or did i just miss it?  any photos of them?    Mark

Ho C Ying - Posted - 10/26/2011:  06:10:36

Very nice pictures, Craig!

BackDraft307 - Posted - 10/27/2011:  15:45:53

Thanks Craig,

Just received my copy today... only 2 days after ordering, that is fast!   Bet you can't  guess what ill be doing tonight!   Banjo building Marathon,  

Is beer and popcorn allowed while watching... banjo building? big,  Ah will if not I'll start a new trend.... LOL! 


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