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Banjo Lust

Posted by JedMarum on Thursday, June 11, 2009

I am one of those guys who loves all kinds of food. If someone took the time to cook it, I'd probably eat it and enjoy it; no matter what it is. I've enjoyed lamb's brains in Equador, cow's udder in Bolivia, scorpions in China - and God only knows what I ate in some of those places without knowing what it was!

Likewise in music, I like all kinds of music - and typically find myself breaking it down in my head, no matter if it's music I listen to or not. I like so many guitars and banjos - and I always love having a few hours to kill in new music store, where I can play all their instruments and imagine which one or two, I'd like to take home.

But I have to say I have definite taste in what I want to own. I really like mahogoany guitars with spruce tops - but I've never owned one. I always choose rosewood. I like the beautiful resonator, bluegrass banjos - but I've always owned open back. I like so many of the wood tone rings, but I love the metal tone rings.

Right now I am playing two Deering Gootime banjos - one strung with nylon strings and tuned to G - and the other strung with steel and tuned to A. I think of these banjos as temporary. I'd always planned to replace them with an Ome, a better Deering or a Chuck Lee - but these little Goodtimes sound OK. And play pretty OK too. They mic well, they travel well - and they're cheap. I bought the lowest end product they have - but these banjos sound so much better the $200 ought to be able to get you! So I am still using them after several years each.

But having said all that, I do lust after a really fine banjo. I had a beauty (a Long neck Vega from Deering) but sold it at a time when I was not playing banjo as much as I do now, and it was worth a few bucks.

Last week I did a recording session in New York and when the folks there told me they had a Chuck Lee banjo, I left the Goodtimes at home! They loaned me a beautiful wood tone ring, Chuck Lee banjo for the session and I loved playing it. It reconfirmed my new mission to get one of my own. That brings me back to my original point; as much as I really like the mellow, rich sound of open backed, wood tone rings, I know for my own banjo I'll want a metal ring.

I think I'll start a charity; the "Jed Marum Banjo Fund" or "Save the Texas Banjo Player" sort of thing. Surely donations could be tax deductable in this age of bailouts and TARP money. Don't we need to "save the livelihoods of the working" banjo players?


Anyway - the serious scheming begins!

5 comments on “Banjo Lust”

kcjc69 Says:
Thursday, June 11, 2009 @1:40:21 PM

Jed call your congressman for some stimulous funds. Since you're already playing banjo that would mean the project is "shovel ready". Shoot for the sky!



JedMarum Says:
Thursday, June 11, 2009 @1:58:38 PM

Hehe! You're right. That's a great angle. There must be some sort of grant for which I can apply!!

denmccar Says:
Thursday, June 11, 2009 @2:20:01 PM

Ya know Jed,

The Jed Marum Banjo Fund is actually a great idea and I want to be the first one to help.  I will act as treasurer.  Everyone....  please send your donations to Dennis McCarthy c/o Banjo Hangout and I will be sure to purchase a real nice banjo.  I mean for Jed of course.

JedMarum Says:
Thursday, June 11, 2009 @2:28:43 PM

I knew I could count on your help!


denmccar Says:
Thursday, June 11, 2009 @2:38:30 PM

Are you still going to the Cantab this summer?   I'd like to get you into a place a little more local and could set it up ??

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