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The gift of banjo.

Posted by Rob Bourassa on Friday, April 27, 2012

like this

Hi all,

I haven't had a 5 String of substance since 1980. I quit picking banjo professionally around then and turned to guitar to support myself. Every time I'd get the notion to buy a 5 string and get back into it, something would come up.

I was given a little Goodtime at a guitar workshop I performed around 10 years ago but the neck got broken so I haven't been able to do much in the way of serious playing with it. I would borrow my buddy Russ' Liberty from time to time to do special shows, and even used it for a few banjo lessons on YouTube for my guitar instruction channel.

I have had trouble getting free videos finished because I don't want to be a louse and keep Russ' banjo for too long, so it has been a hard thing to find time for everything.

I called Russ on his birthday last week to say hello and to my surprise, things worked the other way around and he gave me a birthday gift. He gave me his Liberty Quadrille. 

That banjo has been my favorite for years. I used to keep a Liberty catalog on my nightstand as a teenage boy, and look at the Quadrille before I turned in at night. I can't say how overwhelmed I am. This is a wonderful gift.

Russ isn't giving up picking. He has two beautiful Great Lakes banjos, one of which was just refinished. Still, I have never seen such a beautiful charitable act of kindness, and am dumbfounded.

I had actually gotten calls from a couple of banjo manufacturers who wanted to work out a deal, having me use their banjos on my YouTube channel in exchange for free advertising. I also had several generous folks from this forum and YouTube contact me, offering to give me a banjo to use for lessons, but I really didn't want to use something that I wasn't happy with, and would not have felt good about using the Liberty again.

I'm glad I waited. The Liberty is my favorite banjo in the world and always has been.

I don't know how many of you folks have friends like this, but I am more than blessed.

 

Thanks buddy,

 

Rob



12 comments on “The gift of banjo.”

Jane C Says:
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @3:40:21 AM

It happens all the time. I've watched your videos many times, you definitely deserve your banjo Rob and I look forward to hearing that banjo again. Best wishes Jane

n1wr Says:
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @2:15:51 PM

Rob: You are indeed blessed. You know one thing about a gift like that - every time you pick it up you will think of your friend.

I have a similar gift - well not a gift but an inheritance from my dad who passed on in 1996. It is a beautiful guitar - a Guild Artist Award model from the late 1950's. Its worth a bit of money I suppose, but to me it has a much greater value. It brings me back to my dad, who I miss and have so many fond memories. He taught me to play guitar on this Guild - when I could barely get my arm around it. He loved that guitar and every time I pick it up that love comes back to me.

Cherish that banjo and the friendship that brought it to you.

Wayne in Maryland

BanjoBelle Says:
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @6:11:10 PM

way to go,kiddo! You are most certainly blessed-must be for helping so many peeps learn to play.

Tonecaster Says:
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @6:23:29 PM

Rob and I have been friends for a long time. We met when we were both in our teens. We both have a lot of common interests with banjo being one of them. We reconnected about 20 years ago around the music of Chet Atkins and would take trips to Nashville to hang out at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society conventions.
As we drove down Rob and I would talk guitars and eventually Rob would get around to talking about the Bible and Jesus. I really wanted to talk guitars. But, he was pleasantly persistent. Eventually we started talking more Bible and less about guitar and I was getting really interested in what Rob and the word had to say.
Well, to make a long story short, I?m in Seminary and look to be ordained near the end of the year and serve the church I?m currently at. Rob is a big reason why. The gift I gave him is nice but the gift he gave me is eternal.
I had the Liberty 32 years and it served me well. In Rob?s hands the Liberty will be in service to others.
Wayne, you are so correct. Friends are a great gift and I?ll be happy to see Rob use this banjo for many years to come.
Rob ? It wasn?t so hard to give up the Liberty ? but that beautiful Sully?s strap that went with it ? that was tough. So, I got another on the way. :)

Russ

Tonecaster Says:
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @6:31:48 PM

Rob and I have been friends for a long time. We met when we were both in our teens. We both have a lot of common interests with banjo being one of them. We reconnected about 20 years ago around the music of Chet Atkins and would take trips to Nashville to hang out at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society conventions.

As we drove down Rob and I would talk guitars and eventually Rob would get around to talking about the Bible and Jesus. I really wanted to talk guitars. But, he was pleasantly persistent. Eventually we started talking more Bible and less about guitar and I was getting really interested in what Rob and the word had to say.

Well, to make a long story short, I?m in Seminary and look to be ordained near the end of the year and serve the church I?m currently at. Rob is a big reason why. The gift I gave him is nice but the gift he gave me is eternal.

I had the Liberty 32 years and it served me well. In Rob?s hands the Liberty will be in service to others.
Wayne, you are so correct. Friends are a great gift and I?ll be happy to see Rob use this banjo for many years to come.

Rob ? It wasn?t so hard to give up the Liberty ? but that beautiful Sully?s strap that went with it ? that was tough. So, I got another on the way.

Sorry for the strange typos ... must be the Devil. :)

Russ

Rob Bourassa Says:
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @8:13:35 PM

Thanks Russ. I took the strap off last time, and never put it back on. I will bring it to you soon. You are going to make a great pastor.

Tonecaster Says:
Sunday, April 29, 2012 @9:57:03 AM

Just kidding about the strap dude. See you soon. We need to get Monson too. :)

Russ

Rob Bourassa Says:
Sunday, April 29, 2012 @6:33:45 PM

Don't get a new strap. That thing is too big for me. I'm an over the right shoulder guy, and I am going to buy a thin leather strap with a smaller pad.

Tonecaster Says:
Monday, April 30, 2012 @11:57:31 AM

You're thinking thin. I like that. :)

Rob Bourassa Says:
Monday, April 30, 2012 @12:00:03 PM

So the Great Lakes is on the way back?

Tonecaster Says:
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 @1:38:24 PM

Sweet!

direct.hangoutstorage.com/banj...42012.jpg

loubegue Says:
Sunday, May 27, 2012 @7:01:44 AM

Dude... I love you man! Thank you so much for your tireless contributions to teaching banjo. You are by far the best banjo teacher ever. please don't ever go away.

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