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BAS (Banjo Aquisition Syndrome) Is It Real? Oh You Better Believe It!

Posted by loukiii on Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I got it. You probably do too, you just might not realize it. Perhaps you have not been infected by it yet. Oh buy you will. It is only a matter of time. 

What is it? It's a scourge all banjo players share regardless of playing style, whether it be Clawhammer, Plectrum or Bluegrass.

Remember back to when you got your first banjo? Probably didn't know much if anything about them other than you wanted to learn to play it so you could sound like Earl, JD, Sonny or whoever your banjo idol was. So chances are it was a cheap piece of crap but eventually you learned how to make it sound like a banjo and probably thought to yourself, "Hmm, if i got a better banjo I would probably sound a lot better, after all, I am an intermediate player and I need to be playing on a banjo worthy of my ability or I will always sound like crap" Odds are you might have even decided to get a "Professional" banjo and just skip the intermediate stage altogether, after all, you will eventually grow into it, right? So by spending a few thousand dollars now, you are saving yourself a few thousand by going straight to that Gibson Granada, or Huber, Stelling Staghorn whatever banjo you will be playing eventually, right?

See this is how BAS makes your mind play tricks on you. Oh but it doesn't stop here.

So say you managed to resist spending 4 or 5 thousand dollars on that top quality pro banjo. Say you exercised a little self restraint, and scratched your itch with a moderately priced mint condition used RB250, or a nice late 70's early 80's vintage Gold Star. Both of which can be had for well under $2000, both being pro level instruments that could last a banjo picker the rest of their picking career right?

Ok so you think your set for life... but you know you have been playing that fine professional quality banjo for a couple years now and your frets are looking a little worn. Maybe its time to send your banjo off to a luthier to get a fret job? It will come back in a couple weeks sounding great! Whaaat? A couple weeks? What am I supposed to play while its gone? Ahaaa! BAS rears its ugly head. "I will just get me another banjo." you say.

Odds are you still have your ol'clunker you started on, hiding in the closet or under a bed somewhere. "But, that would never do. I mean that is a cheap beginners banjo. It would probably mess up my roll or something, contaminate my picking style. If anybody saw me playing it they might think I was... a beginner" Relapse.

As one can plainly observe, BAS never goes away. One never knows when it will raise its ugly head.

One must ask, "What can be done? Is there a cure? Can this be prevented?"

The simple answer is, No. At this time there is no known cure. One can only treat the symptoms, not the disease. I would love to go on and explain how to treat the symptoms but I haven't looked in the classifieds for almost an hour maybe we can discuss treatment in the next blog entry.

1 comment on “BAS (Banjo Aquisition Syndrome) Is It Real? Oh You Better Believe It!”

Kevin G Says:
Monday, April 22, 2013 @5:06:05 PM

With a daughter at Michigan State, I used to stop in at Elderly Instruments in Lansing and play all the banjos I couldn't afford. Seemed to stem the tide...temporarily. I haven't found the equivalent down here in Charlotte, NC. Maybe it's a good thing we moved. Still got college bills.

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