Posted by ruraltradpunk on Sunday, December 12, 2010
Janey mack - can't believe it's been over 2 years since I've put a blog post up here! I did disappear I'll admit - after moving to the States in May '08 it took me a good few months to get settled, find a place to live etc etc. Ended up in an apartment building where opportunities to play the banjo are few and far between due to thin walls. Because of that I ended up playing a lot of mandolin instead, while my poor old Stromberg sat in it's case collecting dust. Then this past summer I had to sell it, and a bunch of other stuff, to get $$ for vet bills for one of me dogs. Thankfully the wee critter is on the mend now, so all is well. About a month ago I left my newest mandolin, a Weber Custom Vintage A, in at Gryphon Stringed Instruments for a set up and ended up playing an absolutely GORGEOUS Ome Silver Mogul tenor:
It was way out of my price range but I just couldn't put it down and when I got home I immediately went online and started scouring all the usual sites to see what was out there, tenor banjo wise, that wouldn't bankrupt me. I went to Vinnie Mondello's website and found a short scale Bacon and Day Silver Bell #1 (1927 I think, going by the serial number - someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though) with a pretty interesting story behind it: it used to belong to the fella who was the banjo player at Preservation Hall in New Orleans and it's a Hurricane Katrina survivor. Vinnie has brought it back to life and I should have it by mid-January!!
I can't wait to get it, and for the moment I'm having to get my tenor banjo fix by going down to the local music shop and playing on a new 19 fret Vega Senator tenor they have. Vinnie is setting up the Silver Bell for me and putting a Renaissance head on it - I've never played a banjo with one of them before but after listening to Ptarmi's youtube clips where he compared a Fiberskyn/Renaissance/5 star I thought I'd give the Ren a try.
Of course now I have the classic short scale tenor dilemma - trying to find a case for it! I've priced getting a Cedar Creek one made for it, and am waiting on a price quote from Ameritage as well. For the moment I may just get Glenn Cronkhite to to make one of his super sturdy leather gig bags for it, as financially that might be more achievable now than the spendy-er option of either the Cedar Creek or Ameritage.
Thanks to playing the mandolin I've continued to learn tons of new tunes, and I'm looking forward to getting out to some sessions with both the mandolin and the banjo.
Next up on my wish list is a tenor guitar! Played one of these last year and it was the absolute business:
Here's a link to my mandolin blog with mp3's and youtube clips in case anyone wants to hear what I've been up to for the past 2 years!
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'Huber HR-30 Tone Ring' 52 min