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New Banjo

Posted by Enviroguy on Thursday, May 27, 2010

My wife may yet kill me.. I'm buying another banjo.  But NOT just another banjo.   Leading west coast luthier Jason Romero has agreed to apply his craft to make a 12" open back maple and chechen banjo for me.  Jason was very patient and informative in our discussions about tone woods, trim and other considerations and I think we have come up with a great design. Jason's lovely and talented wife Pharis is working on the inlay which will be a trillium motif (Trilliums are the provincial emblem of my home province of Ontario, Canada).

I only recently took up clawhammer - but I've had an ear for it for a long time.  After a month of lessons and practice - I'm hooked. I love everything about it. Recently I heard Ivan Rosenberg and Chris Coole at their dobro/clawhammer project CD release and the hook was finally set when I heard Ivan playing a 12" mahogany Romero. After listening to various banjos on Jason's website I decided that mahogany or walnut were just a bit deep for me, and moved toward maple and, with Jason's coaching - chechen. Chechen is a very hard tonewood produced in sustainable forest operation in Mexico. It has also formerly been called Cuban rosewood.

Anyways, now the waiting begins.  In the meantime, Bill Rickard has been kind enough to let me try out his banjos - most recently an all cherry 11" which has a great sound.  I'm lucky to live only about 40 minutes drive away from his shop. 

I'll let my fellow hangout members know about this banjo when it arrives. I know it will be a real treasure. One of the many things to love about the banjo world is the dedication of the people who make the finest instruments they possibly can.  Jason is among these people and it's great to see the recognition he is getting for his efforts and skill.



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