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Starvy Creek Bluegrass

Posted by LKB on Monday, July 9, 2012

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It's been several years since I've been able to attend the July Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival, outside Conway, MO, but with a line-up that included Ron Stewart, J.D. Crowe and Robby Boone, it was not to be missed, even in a record heat wave.  It was great to reconnect with Robby, and he was kind enough to introduce me to both Ron and J.D.., plus let me look over his fine banjos.  A true gentleman.  Thanks Robby!

I was able to try out several great new banjos both onsite and at the Morgan Music store in Lebanon, MO.  With the memories of a Huber, a couple of fine Hopkins and a RS arch top Yates still fresh in my mind we had to head home after the Friday evening show featuring J.D., Doyle Lawson, and Paul Williams.  What a show!

On the way home, discussing the banjos we tried out over the 2 days, Derek Vaden (of Jerry Butler and the Bluejays) suggested that my own KK 11 might benefit from double checking the tightness of the tone ring as It was sounding muffled to him.  I had never removed the tone ring from the rim, no idea what kind of ring was on it.

I pull it out Saturday, play some and indeed, compared to the fine instruments I had played at Starvy Creek, it was sounding muffled.  I had plans to visit luthier Mark Franzke that afternoon to see his finished restoration of a 1907 Orpheum, http://franzkemandolins.blogspot.com/?spref=fb so I took the 11 with me.  He had time to work on it that afternoon and, with Derek in attendance, we tore it apart.

The tone ring was too tight, Mark proceeded to trim down the rim with a blade.  Turns out this 1930's Kel Kroyden 11 has a G-BB tone ring.  According to information found on the forums, this is a good ring.  Happy to finally know what it is.  Under Derek's watchful eye, the trimming is finished.  Mark then reassembles the banjo with a new high crown head and slightly lighter gage strings.  Boom!  New banjo!

I'm so pleased with the way it sounds now.  I just had to let people know.  2 days at the Starvy Creek festival, with access to so many great players and instruments, supplied what we all hope to get from these events, revitalization and inspiration.  Thanks to the promoters, the players, and Mark and Derek for their fine work.  Let's pick!



2 comments on “Starvy Creek Bluegrass”

tgaryc Says:
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @6:23:19 AM

We also were at Starvy Creek, We stayed the whole week. I really like Ron Stewart and the new banjo player for the Grascals. The only trouble with the line up was trying to find time to go pick, with all of the heat we played in the morning and late at night. We pretty much watched all of the shows on Friday and Saturday. I gained 2 pounds while we were there, go figure that. G C

Hankon5 Says:
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @8:08:23 PM

Hey -thanks for your review--great stuff. Keep pickin'
Hank

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