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

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rendesvous1840 - Posted - 05/13/2011:  15:57:47

Skip lunch, have dessert instead. You only go around once. Let me know if you run out of quarters.


BrittDLD1 - Posted - 05/13/2011:  17:04:48

Hi Craig --

I'll be there for the day, tomorrow (Sat the 14th) -- from about 9am to 10pm

(It's about a 1-1/2 hr ride each way, from home...)

I usually can be found hanging around the exhibit area -- making a pest

of myself, and talking too loud...  


Ed Britt

PS-- Beard's a lot shorter than the photo at left.


Edited by - BrittDLD1 on 05/13/2011 17:05:40

frailin - Posted - 05/13/2011:  17:12:11

Bring Kleenex (be prepared to drool). Will Fielding has some amazing wares for sale.

I gotta split by noon (for Glenn's) if I'm gonna stay on schedule. Kevin Enoch and Pete Ross are on Monday's docket.

Thanks to Glenn for lodging!

mojo_monk - Posted - 05/14/2011:  04:59:54

Man oh man! I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing the finished product, Craig! Thanks for bringing us along.



GSCarson - Posted - 05/16/2011:  08:03:52

Had the real pleasure of meeting and having Craig Evans (Frailin) stay with us over this past weekend as he did builder interviews with Kevin Enoch and Pete Ross, and must report that he is as genuinely a good guy in person as he has been here on the BHO.  From everything I saw the interviews are turning out just great, and will be more than worth your time to hang in there for, it will be worth the wait.  It is a really great project, and can't think of a better person to pull it off. Used to love Charles Kuralt's reports from all over America and this is better yet.  Talked lots of banjo talk of course, but also got to play a few tunes together and Craig even sat in with our old timey band Sat night right off the road from Boston and Banjo Camp North.  We put him on the hot seat and he jumped right in, he can pick that Lee banjar of his mighty fine...   Even did a tune with three banjos to celebrate his journey and nobody ran out of the place screaming or anything.  Very glad to be able to call him a friend and waiting for his next report from the road like everyone else with anticipation.  Those of you in Va and parts southwest keep an eye out for this little white mobile banjo documentary laboratory.

Glenn C



Craig Evans - Banjo Builder Eastern Swing

Frailin Mobile

RWJonesy - Posted - 05/16/2011:  17:49:47

Craig, I am really excited for you and the fruit that this project will bring. Count me in as one who is interested in purchasing your DVD interviews.

frailin - Posted - 05/16/2011:  17:51:01

I'm in Eggleston VA at Greg Galbreath's.  A BREATH-taking place (you'll see).  Here are  few more pics from the last few interviews.


Ethnomusicologist Richard Jones-Bamman sat and shared some amazing insights on the banjo.  


I spoke with Bruce Molsky at Banjo Camp North... asked him what he thought was most important in selecting a clawhammer banjo.  He also added some thoughtful comments on the banjo's contribution to society and culture.  


Here's Howie Bursen.  I asked him the same questions as Bruce.  He added some comments he'd heard from Tommy Thompson.  Priceless!


The I ran into this guy coming out of the vendor's gallery.  He hardly said "hello" before running off to the commissary.  Wish I could tell you the number of time builders say "well Ed Britt says...!"  I think Ed's forgotten more than most of us will ever know.  

I also saw Jeepster and Kathy318 among other Banjo Hangouters.  I love that.  :)


Got Kevin Enoch's story on Sunday.  Impeccable work.  Honest as the day is long.  


Here's Pete Ross.  A formidable intellect.  Amazing attention to history, detail, culture and much more.  He's just one more piece of the INCREDIBLE rich tapestry that makes up the population of banjo builders. 


This picture IS George Wunderlich... probably the kindest, friendliest, jolliest (and smartest) human being I've ever met.  


And here's banjo builder and whiz engraver Glenn Carson.  Glenn and Pat demonstrated the kindness and consideration shown me by so many others along this journey (Stan and Sandy Werbin, Lois and Doug Unger, Jeff and Michelle Menzies, Greg and Cindy Galbreath),  I'm grateful beyond words for their welcoming a stranger into their homes and lives.  Wow.  Good things ARE happening out there.  I know... first hand.  :)


Can't wait to get editing so others can see and hear these stories.  


frailin - Posted - 05/16/2011:  18:42:06

Shucks... thought of this AFTER the 15 minute limit made it impossible to edit my previous post.  I forgot to include Richard and Lee Jones-Bamman in the list of folks extending me the kindness of food and lodging (and conversation!).  Thanks, guys.  

Greg Galbreath - Posted - 05/17/2011:  08:43:49

Craig just left here this morning on his way to NC.  I just wanted to report that it was a real pleasure getting to know him and that we had a wonderful time talking banjos and hanging out.  I also wanted to thank him for taking the time to undertake such a large project (and especially for including me in it)- I can't wait to see the final results!

Good Luck with the rest of your trip Craig!


Viper - Posted - 05/17/2011:  08:44:50

I'm enjoying just seeing where you're going and who you're talking to. I can't wait to actually see the results! 

frailin - Posted - 05/17/2011:  11:49:15

Greg Galbreath... another amazing story.  And if you've not yet experienced a Buckeye Banjo, you're in for a treat.  The same with meeting Greg and Cindy in person.  Wonderful people!  smiley


Greg and Cindy's magnificent home.  


Here's the workshop for Buckeye Banjos.  I got to sleep upstairs... well, what sleep I got.  I was up most of the night playing Greg's newest banjos.  


Expect great things from this guy.  


frailin - Posted - 05/17/2011:  11:49:41

Tomorrow is Mike Ramsey and Donald Zepp.  

Ron Ortegel - Posted - 05/17/2011:  13:51:06

Thanks, Craig. This is great.

I'm looking forward to seeing these. 

dimndawg - Posted - 05/17/2011:  18:07:01

Enjoyed reading this thread.  Agree with comments about Greg and Cindy's hospitality.  Very welcoming and engaging folks.  Proud to have a Buckeye in my home.


The Engineer - Posted - 05/17/2011:  19:41:27

Craig it was a pleasure meeting you at the Banjo Camp and talking with you. Jim

XXXris - Posted - 05/18/2011:  05:55:29

Ok, I can't stand it. When do we get to watch??

Greg Galbreath - Posted - 05/18/2011:  09:00:14

Here's a picture of Craig conducting our interview and I should say Craig doesn't mess around.  Ten minutes after arriving he had already scoped out all the possible spots that would work well for the interview and not wanting to waste the nice afternoon light started shooting within 30 minutes.  He is also a great interviewer and made the whole experience rather fun (although I do keep thinking of things I wish I had said).


Banjo Maker Interview


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 05/18/2011:  12:18:23

What an absolutely great home and workshop.  Very comfortable looking. 

Along the way, someone needs to hijack that camera, and turn it on the interviewer.  Craig is cogent in his thinking and careful with his words, and it would be a good thing to capture his measured thoughts about what this whole drill means to him on his own camera as part of his birthday project. 

I know he's reading this, and some might say that this message sacrifices the strategic element of surprise, but come on.  We're talking banjo players here.  We should still be able to pull this off, even though the high ground might have been given away. 


howseth - Posted - 05/18/2011:  16:34:21

Craig - I wonder if you could apply to the Guggenheim Foundation for a a grant to cover this project of interviewing all these terrific banjo makers?


frailin - Posted - 05/18/2011:  18:49:27

Another day of inspiring conversations.  smiley


It's started with some time with my new, old friend, Mike Ramsey.  I can see why he and Bart Reiter are buds (many similar interests beyond banjos).  What a warm, friendly guy.  He's now at 2,500 banjos and counting.  


Here's a peek at his shop.


But my daily adventure was only beginning.  Next stop:


Zepp Country Music. 


And the King of Banjo Land was there to entertain.  

How 'bout that smile?  Took at least 3 GB of pics to finally score it.  


Ok. But this WAS still about my 60th BD, right?  So I thought I'd push my luck and ask for a favor.  Like this trip, I bit off more than I could chew... but it was worth it. 

Hear for yourself.


Tomorrow, Lo Gordon.  

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 05/18/2011:  18:56:21

What is so weird about your last post with pics, Craig, is I just logged onto this site, and this smile popped up.  I thought to myself, "That smile looks just like Rachael Ramsey's - I wonder if that is her dad." - and sure enough, it was indeed Mike Ramsey.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rachael in Albuquerque two days ago - she and her fiance showed up for our Megaband practice - they were in town for a conference - great gal.  Love her playing (fiddle and guitar)....and she really does have her father's smile.


Thanks for all the great pics and info - enjoying your trip nostagically, of course.



frailin - Posted - 05/18/2011:  19:21:43

Some comments on questions raised above:

*  Availability -  There's a pile of raw material here.  I'll be editing these shows over the summer... but I won't be rushing it.  These are great, individual stories and opportunities to "connect dots" in understanding mindsets and concepts (sometimes between builders, even). That takes time and thought.  I'm gonna let these shows bake some before pulling them out of the oven.  Each builder's program will probably run 20 minutes or so.  Might post a couple programs before fall... need to see how fast I can finish them properly.  Planning on having all the programs available via web and DVD before Christmas (Volume 1 - Banjo Builders EAST of the Mississippi).  Coupla hurdles to jump over first, though.  If I get the grant, all will be made easier.  I now know I'll be needing a new computer to handle these HD files.  My 3 year old laptop just can't chew fast enough.  disapprove

*  Some observations on the builders:

 - Wonderfully creative folks.  About a 3rd are primarily "artisans" working with banjos as a medium.  On the other end are 1-2 "craftsmen" that view themselves more as simply builders.  Everyone else sees themselves as an in-between combination of the two. 

 - In order of "importance" - A third are heavily focused on the banjo's appearance (first).  Another third are into a banjo's sound.  The last third is interested in the tactile sense of "playability."  And twice now I've heard this explained as a banjos "fit." In other words, "what does it feel like when you're playing it?"

 - Humble.  Nobody has a big head.  No surprise there.  Also friendly.  Slightly more Extroverts than Introverts.  

 - Also, NO one is into the banjo building business to make money.  Most are getting by, though.  Some are doing nicely. 

 - Clean shop/dirty shop is 50/50.

 - Cat owners out number dog owners at least 4:1

 - Two roosters caused issues with filming. 

 - Nobody would vote for Donald Trump.  


Ok.  Past my bed time.

Oh... I'd love to get a Guggenheim grant.  Anyone know folks there?  


Note to self:  Don't play duets with Donald Zepp unless it's on an instrument OTHER than a banjo.  

Mark Johnson - Posted - 05/19/2011:  08:20:16

nonsense, I thought you and Donald [Zepp, not Trump] played quite well as a banjo duet.

those little stats are truly fascinating, at least some of them.  That no one is in it for the $ isn't much of a surprise, nor the bit about Trump.  But it had never occurred to me that there would be noticeable splits in the importance of appearance/sound/fit.  I'm digesting this, trying to see if I can pick out who falls in to which category...

even this picture log has been really engrossing.  I know what I want for Christmas.


Viper - Posted - 05/19/2011:  08:53:20

Great duet. Sounds like a great trip keeps getting better. 


Blake507 - Posted - 05/19/2011:  09:56:01

You've got me standing in my stirrups looking for the next post.  Don't think I have been this excited since Saturday matinee serials with Hoppy, Roy, Gene, Lash LaRue, Captain Marvel and the Spy Smasher.

Thanks Graig,

Danny B.

frailin - Posted - 05/19/2011:  17:57:30

Today's builder was Lo Gordon and his son Tim of Cedar Mountain Banjos.  These guys are fascinating.  Both very visual and mechanical.  Lo seems to have a jig for just about everything ("helps with consistency").  

And Tim is one heckofa fine player!

Lo, like several other builders had to first DE-construct, then RE-construct a banjo to figger out how it works BEFORE learning how to play.  Go figger!

Lo and I also shared the same banjo teacher... Dwight Diller.  


Ok.  I'm in Hiawassee with my in-laws tonight to recharge my batteries.  Rumor is there's a great jam possibility tomorrow night at the local Green Egg Fest (whatever that is).  Anyone in the area wanna play?  

Anyway, won't be on the road tomorrow.  But next up (the day after) is Jason Burns.  Then Chuck Lee.  Then HOME!!  Yay!  My OWN bed! 


frailin - Posted - 05/19/2011:  19:52:16

Here's some food for thought (I've had a fair amount of "car time" to noodle things over).  I'm considering plotting out the following scatter chart.  Where a builder resides is based on HIS option of himself and his work. 







                 Artisan    ----------------------------------------------------------   Craftsman





mrphysics55 - Posted - 05/21/2011:  08:19:08

We're all hopped up on caffein and waiting for Craig to bust in the door here at Homewood Music ...


Edited by - mrphysics55 on 05/21/2011 08:19:57

cmox - Posted - 05/21/2011:  19:12:49

What a great birthday present!  Yes, this is documentary material.  Puts me to thinking about all the folks who made field recordings in the '50's and '60's.  Also reminds me of Studs Terkel's great interviews.  I'm out on the left coast so I'm looking forward to the Western Swing tour too.  


frailin - Posted - 05/21/2011:  19:45:39

Well I for one am glad the world didn't end.  I really wanted to meet Chuck Lee (tomorrow).  But today's adventures were yet another lifetime thrill!  Before I get to that, I want to tell you what I learned yesterday while staying with my in-laws in northern Georgia.  

This here contraption is a Big Green Egg (cooker/grill).  They're mighty fine!  Should be for close to $900.  The folks that invest in 'em like to gather and share everything from recipes to food to music.  The latter is where I come in... but only after enjoying the former.  What a cheerful group!  There were close to 120 of these peeps there for the initial "taste-off meet and greet" at the Anderson Music Building on the Georgia State Fairgounds in Hiawassee.  My (wonderful) mother-in-law had invited me to join them at this shindig and then asked if I'd have an interest in playing?  Does poison Ivy itch?  Of course!  But I'd like to bring at least a fiddler along with me.  So I started contacting BHO folks I knew in the Hiawassee area to come share the food and fun.  Turns out, most weren't around.  Too bad.  

As fate would have it, earlier in the day, whilest I was standing in Lo Gordon's downtown Breverd Music Store (Celestial Mountain Music), Lo's lovely Mary (Gordon) was telling me about this fabulous young musician in Hiawasee.  His name was Chris Ryan Casbarro.  She even gave me his number.  While my mother-in-law watched, I texted Chris.  A hour or so later, I had my fiddler.  

Meet Chris Ryan Casbarro.  If you don't know of this guy, don't worry.  You will soon.  smiley  Chris showed up with a smile, a fiddle, a pack of Marlboros and a bow stroke that lit up 30 Green Eggs within 20 feet.  Dang that boyz good!  We had enough "D" and "A" tunes between us to last at least 3 hours.  It's always nice to play for an appreciative audience.  The night was way too short.  But we'll be doing that again soon enough.  We made plans for an appearance at a Disabled Children's Fund Raiser later on in the summer.  

Ok.  On to today.  

Little did I know that visiting Jason Burn's shop in Birmingham, AL was going to be the adventure it turned out to be.  There were a coupla great surprises.

I walked in shortly before 10:30A to meet Jason, his shop owner/benchmate, the handsome concertina maker Bob Tedrow... and the even more dignified Eddie Young (that would be MrPhysics55 to most BHO folks).  

Seems Eddie is a huge Jason fan and just happened to have some of Jason's eye-candy (banjos) to share with me at the end of the video interview.  All went according to plan.  Jason was wonderfully impressive (as you'll see) and the eye candy was too good to put down.  We even recorded some 3-banjo and concertina numbers just for grits and shins.  Might make it to the Jason Burns show.  But I'm not going to give away the surprises here.  approve


Ok, it's late and tonight I'm in the world's worst hotel in Shreveport, LA trying to rest up before meeting Chuck and then my long drive home tomorrow.  Gonna stop off in Cedar Rapids, IA to visit my mom in the nursing home there and tell her of my big adventure.  

Oh, I guess there is one surprise I can share with you.  Check out the cool hat Jason is wearing.  As I was leaving his shop, Jason graciously helped me carry my equipment to the car.  I opened the rear hatch and this hat fell out... practically landed on Jason's shoes.  Jason looked at it and said "is that a Greek fisherman's hat?  That's cool!  I've been looking for one of those!  In fact, I went to buy one the other day and the store was out."  Now this hat was gift to me from my mother.  About 8 years ago (before Alzheimer's), we were walking through a small Swedish knick knack shop in Excelsior, MN when I picked up the hat and put it on... mostly just as a funny thing to do.  I turned around and put on my best Zorba the Greek face for mom.  She laughed... then got serious and said "you look good in that hat!  Let me get it for you."  I protested (I'm over 50 and still have hair.  Why cover it up?), but she bought it for me anyway.  

I never wore it much.  Mostly kept it in the car in case the weather changed and I needed head gear.  Situations like that actually happen up in Minnesota.  But for 8 years or so, that cap sat in the back of my car.  Right up to today.  

I told Jason to try it on.  It fit perfectly.  And as good as I look in that hat, Jason looks better.  Looka that smirk.  Funny thing... I guess I'd been carrying that hat in my car for 8 years just to deliver it to it's rightful owner.  Clearly, it was his.  I gave it to him. 

My great banjo builder adventure has been most exciting, but the hat story is what I'm going to tell mom.  I know she'll like it.  She always likes a happy ending.  

Edited by - frailin on 05/21/2011 19:56:04

pammiec - Posted - 05/22/2011:  05:56:24

Great story about the Greek hat!  Funny how things work out like that! Safe travels and all the best to your Mother and you!

Thanks for the reports, looking forward to the final video!

frailin - Posted - 05/23/2011:  19:43:58

Part 1:  DONE!  Fourteen stories (and more!) "IN THE CAN!


I'm happy to report, I made it back home alive.  I missed the Joplin, MO tornado by an hour.  Nineteen days on the road was a long, LONG time... but it was WELL worth the effort.  The banjo builders gave of their time and their stories.  I did my best to capture them. As you can see from the pic, there are many, many hours of video.  As such, I'm anxious to get started on Part 2: Editing.  

At this point, I need to mention the selection of the 14 builders East of the Mississippi was difficult.  There are many fine banjos being made by people today.  But I focused on those that have dedicated years to perfecting their craft, full time.  There are some exceptions, but in those incidences, other justification for inclusion was substantial.  The same criteria will be used for selecting builders West of the Mississippi.  I'm just sorry there's not enough time to include more.  


Editing these stories will take me the better part of the summer.  When they're done, I'll be distributing them several ways. 



Banjo hangout's owner/builder, Eric Schlange will help me set up a page (probably through Autism Hangout) that will list the individual builder's programs.  Each will have a short 1-2 minute preview clip (housed at youtube) that will give you a sample/taste of the program's content.  If you then choose to view the program, it will be available on a Pay-per-view basis.  I figgerd a cup of fancy coffee at Starbucks gives you about 20 minutes of pleasure for $2.80 on up.  A draft beer at your favorite watering hole will run you $5 - $6.00 for the same amount of pleasure.  So pricing a 20 minute individual builder's program at $3 seems fair.  I'm also allowing for "free refills."  With your purchase, you'll be able to view the show repeatedly for a week.  


For those interested in owning the series, I'm hoping to do a Volume 1 (Builders East of the Mississippi) and Volume 2 (Builders West of the Mississippi - shot in early 2012).  In addition to folks at BHO, I am also seeing some interest from libraries, schools and historical societies.  Haven't determined a final price yet (don't know all my costs).  There'll be some additional shows included in the DVD series, too... things like comments and insights that just didn't happen to fit in any one builder's show.  I can think of half a dozen of these gems right now BEFORE I start editing (i.e. Bruce Molsky and Paul Brown shared some incredible thoughts on the banjo's contribution to culture and society). If I get the grant, this will happen this fall.  If not, I'll have to find other funding. 

Just so you know, I didn't set out to make this a HUGE money making venture any more than our banjo builders chose their trade for the same reason.  I am hoping to break even.  But the adventure also has a reward.  Besides, indulging in a passion goes a long way in providing satisfaction. smiley


From the eMail bag:

I got an interesting coupla pics from Jason Burn's building buddy (and shop mate), Bob Tedrow today.  He'd snapped a few shots of Jason's interview.  Here I'm telling Jason how important it is that I remember to start the camera BEFORE I ask questions.  



My last interview of builders East of the Mississippi was 12 hours down the road from Jason's, in Ovilla, TX. It was on a quiet Sunday morning (not that traffic/parking would be much different). 

The guy I interviewed had two sides to show.  The mild-mannered, jovial Clark Kent of the builder set:

And the wilder, Scots/Irishman. 

Both were, well, charming... as was the beauty that charmed them both.  

I spent almost 4 hours with the lovely Tammy and Chuck Lee.  AND they FED me!  

Most builders have a "favorite" tool.  Sometimes, it's something simple, like a hand rasp, or an ancient old drill.  Others like routers or band saws.  Chuck's thing is DRILLs.  

There are 5 that you can see in this picture... and 3 more on another table (that =s 8).  Each is configured with a separate jig.  And the only thing more common in his shop that drill presses are JIGS.  This guy has them for everything!  There's a GREAT story in there I'm saving for his show.  smiley

BTW - GREAT use of space, dontchathink?


Ok.  That's all for now.  After a good night's sleep in MY bed, tomorrow morning I head to Apple for a new computer.  There's just waaaay too much data here for my poor little old Mac to swallow.  

So I'm going to have my head in the computer for a while now.  When I've got something to show, I'll be back.  In the meantime, say some prayers for those poor folks in Joplin, MO.  I've never seen such destruction.  And if hadn't been for Chuck and Tammy feeding me lunch (that took another hour beyond when I intended to leave), I would have been right in the thick of it.  

Except for the grace of God...

Edited by - frailin on 05/23/2011 19:52:50

banjoholic - Posted - 05/23/2011:  19:54:03

This thread alone has been great fun to follow.

I can only imagine how wonderful these videos are gonna be!  Godspeed!!

frailin - Posted - 05/24/2011:  03:58:46

Boy, was I tired when I made that last post last night... so tired, I forgot to mention the "free viewing" option.

When finished, every two weeks or so I will be rotating in a new show that will be free for all to view.


This way, if you're on a restricted budget and can't afford a fancy Starbucks or a beer, you can still find joy in our amazing banjo builders.  If you're patient, in a year's time you can watch all the shows for free.  smiley

frailin - Posted - 05/24/2011:  06:03:28

An UPDATE from one of the builders.


Jeff Menzies wrote me this morning.  He just returned from a trip to Jamaica where he personally delivered this marvelous instrument (it was commissioned for Andrew Tosh).  It was on his bench being finished when I was visiting with him a coupla weeks back. 

While Jeff was there, Reggae artist Abdel Wright (has toured with U2/Sting) just picked up the banjo and started to play.  Check out that smile.  See?  Banjos are the universal music of "joy" in any language. 

Congratulations, Jeff!!


Edited by - frailin on 05/24/2011 06:18:10

pernicketylad - Posted - 05/24/2011:  07:56:32

I for one will definitely be interested in the DVD. You really are doing important work Craig. What a legacy. Imagine someone did a book like that back in the 1880s/1890s. A wee chat withe the Buckbees, Dobsons and Stewarts. 


frailin - Posted - 05/24/2011:  08:28:42

Bingo.  Thanks, Shane.  smiley

ceemonster - Posted - 05/25/2011:  15:07:11

This thread, and your project, is such a charmer!

frailin - Posted - 05/25/2011:  15:25:04

Thanks ceemonster.  Encouragement is appreciated.  approve

After an unexpected 1/2 day loss (couldn't get my NEW Mac to migrate my OLD Mac's hard drive files), I'm now up and working on the first Builder - The "Muse" - Will Fielding.  

Will was also the first to get me high rez pics of his banjos.  After 2.5 hours, the first 6.25 minutes (of the "conversation") is edited... well, sorta.  I like to let things simmer a while.  

Cottonmouth - Posted - 05/26/2011:  08:15:21

Craig, although I live in Alabama (Fairhope), I seldom get to Birmingham, but no trip to that city would be complete without a visit to Homewood Musical Instruments. Bob Tedrow is a fountain of musical knowledge and a most interesting fellow. The first time I ever saw Jason Burns there, he was repairing a guitar and I didn't even know he built banjos. I'm glad you had the opportunity to travel that far South. Come down to the Gulf Coast some time and look me up.


frailin - Posted - 05/26/2011:  13:26:54

Pilot program up for (free) viewing.  


I finished a first draft of Will Fielding's program earlier today and thought I'd share a glimpse of what's coming.  These folks are incredible.  smiley

Click here for the Pilot show:


frailin - Posted - 05/26/2011:  13:45:44

PS - I already caught the glaring typo in the credits (sorry Will).  It won't be included in the final show.  approve

Mark Johnson - Posted - 05/26/2011:  14:02:54

random thoughts:

1) totally awesome.  very.

2) I think telling us who is playing the music, what the tune is etc., even a quick tiny bit of text shoved in the corner, would be nice.  (I was wanting to know who were were hearing during the intro stuff and the slide show, for example)

3) I kinda feel bad about ever having told Will what I wanted.  The man works magic, I wish I'd just let him rip (not that any of my Fielding's suffered a bit from my pickiness... they're gorgeous).

4) I feel a bit dizzy with the video showing an view where Craig is on my left and Will is on my right but the audio is panned the opposite way...

5) I want that banjo with the crazy bookmatched spalted wood headstock.  

5) This is worse than when I was addicted to Lost.  I want the next episode, stat!

Edited by - Mark Johnson on 05/26/2011 14:06:19

frailin - Posted - 05/26/2011:  14:10:28

Cool, Mark.  By the numbers...



2) I think telling us who is playing the music, what the tune is etc., even a quick tiny bit of text shoved in the corner, would be nice. - I CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN.  ESPECIALLY SINCE GUEST MUSICIANS ARE CONTRIBUTING WORK. 

3) I kinda feel bad about ever having told Will what I wanted.  The man works magic, I wish I'd just let him rip (not that any of my Fielding's suffered a bit from my pickiness... they're gorgeous). - WOULDN'T SWEAT IT.  I KNOW HOW HARD WILL TRIES TO PLEASE.  

4) I feel a bit dizzy with the video showing an view where Craig is on my left and Will is on my right but the audio is panned the opposite way... - HMMM.  I GET IT.  BUT I'M NOT SURE I CAN CHANGE THAT WITH IMOVIE (I'M NOT DOING THIS ON FINAL CUT).  

5) I want that banjo with the crazy bookmatched spalted wood headstock.  I DO TOO. 


Edited by - frailin on 05/26/2011 14:10:56

pammiec - Posted - 05/26/2011:  14:36:56

Thanks for this Craig! Great job! I am especially excited to see this first profile since I just ordered a banjo from Will a few days ago! Very exciting!

Good stuff! 


rendesvous1840 - Posted - 05/26/2011:  15:46:42

An excellent piece of banjo film. It's really special to hear the people whose instruments we read about online & in BNL adds & articles. Apart from the aches & pains, and the expense of such a trip, it must have been exciting to do this. Thanks for sharing itr with us all.


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 05/27/2011:  05:23:30

Mark Johnson makes an important point – number three in his list – reflecting his regret that he had ever told Will Fielding what he wanted, instead of just letting Will build the banjo. 

I just received a Jason Burns banjo, my second, that was the result of a year long process of discussion and decision between Jason and myself.  For me, the process of designing an A scale became an exercise in understanding where to draw the line between (1) one’s personal sense of artistry and tendency toward invention and (2) the builder’s own artistic expression and architectural choices for his basic banjo design. 

From my perspective, the process became one of understanding where the artistic creativity and design flair of the builder, and the intention and hoped-for end state for the intended player had to meet, negotiate, and find a balance between vision and preferences of each of the two key people involved. 

That entailed coming to grips with the reality that decisions based on compromise between the player and the builder would modify the end result in unintended ways, and decisions based on concessions would end up torquing the enterprise in ways that could not account for the manner in which the vision of the builder and the intention of the ultimate owner would meet and mix.

Let me add my own congrats to Craig for pursuing this enterprise, and bringing us along for the ride.





GSCarson - Posted - 05/27/2011:  15:03:02

Well done Craig, well done!    Mark, I don't think you have any concern for regrets (although I will admit that spalted wood calls me as well).  While I agree that allowing a builder to make their instruments exactly how they want to is very smart if you want one strictly done the way they like to do it or by their tastes, the whole idea of a custom banjo might be to integrate some of the players ideas and wishes.  There are some builders who enjoy that quite a bit, and others who don't want any part of it. That's one of the really great things about all of the builder options we have today. I really like doing every one a little (or a lot) differently, which is why I mainly build for myself and music buddies.  I have worked with Will quite a bit and would say that based on my interaction with him during a number of those "one off" projects, that he generally seems to enjoy the process and seems stimulated by it as I do and I know many others do as well (just look at some of Kevin Enoch's, Dan Knowles, and Wyatt Fawley's variety of work, etc...). The spark for the idea for the inlays on your 12" Whyte Laydie came from Will's interest in old architecture, specifically an old building in Florida I believe.   It will be really interesting to see all of Craig's interviews and see how different the various builders truly are in regard to what interests them and how they like to work.   Best, Glenn C.

RWJonesy - Posted - 05/27/2011:  16:10:43

*** Thank you Craig for your sacrifices in making this project possible. I am excited and looking forward to your DVD release of the eastern builders that you visited and interviewed!!!

rubicon - Posted - 05/27/2011:  17:06:28

Craig this is a wonderful project I enjoyed the video immensely thank you for the sacrifices you make and have made  in your life to share this with us ! 

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