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Posted by banjoboba on Monday, October 8, 2007

Got back yesterday from the IBMA in Nashville- it was fantastic as usual. I went  with Jim Adams, and met Tom and Karen Thorpe there.

We saw many great bands. I was especially impressed with the Steeldrivers-really top notch, and had their own style- first time I heard of them was there- they will go far in the bluegrass (and acoustic music) world.

Unfortunately, we missed Earl Scruggs by about 20 minutes. He made an unannounced appearance and played, but we didn't know about it in time. I did get to meet him at two other IBMAs (and see him play at other times), and it was incredible to meet the man who originated the style we play.

We did lots of jamming until 3 AM each night, and people were still jamming when we stopped. Actually, the second year I was at the IBMA  (in Louisville, KY), in 2002, I jammed for 36 hours in 3 1/2 days- including two 12 hour stints from 7 pm to 7 am, plus an 8 hour and a 4 hour jam. I don't think I'll ever come close to that again, and I don't know how I did it then.

It's banjo heaven for banjo (and other instrument) players- almost all major and other makers are there, with different models to try out. It's really good to meet and talk with the luthiers who build the banjos. You can get to know them, and when you see them the next year it' like seeing old friends.  A list of who was there includes Steve Huber, Geoff Stelling, Rob Bishline, Scott Zimmerman (Deset Rose banjos), the Gibson line, Gold Tone, David and Paul Hopkins and Bill Palmer at Louzee banjos, Tom Nechville and Val Johnson at Nechville banjos, Janet Deering, First Quality, Elderly, Jaroslav Prucha, Dave Schenkman from Turtle Hill and others. I usually spend many hours each day walking around the vendor room and playing all the banjos. It's a great way to try banjos (and other instruments) to get an idea of what your next instrument might be.

At the IBMA, you can meet, talk with and even play with members of the bands. Bluegrass is accessible music- you can even walk into a night time jam with various musicians from the onstage bands, which is a real experience. This just doesn't happen in rock or country or most other types of music, and it makes bluegrass special. 

If you haven't been to the IBMA, you should go. It's the ultimate experience in bluegrass, and you get to really be involved in the music and people that make it all happen. I'm making plans for next year already.

One last thought- I have a new 2 part article on the free Mel Bay web magazine at . The topic (in the new October issue, and in the last issue from August) is left hand techniques. I also have other articles going back to April 2007. I'll be doing another 2 part article for the December and February issues, on string chokes and note bending. Please check out the articles and let me know if they are useful. Thanks!

Bob Altschuler



8 comments on “IBMA”

DandyRandy Says:
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 @9:26:48 AM

Thanks for the report for those of us who couldn't be there.

TThorpe Says:
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 @11:22:16 AM

Hey great job, Bob!  IBMA is a pretty spectacular event.  I almost hate to admit I was there minus a banjo, but one of us has to play guitar.  I think I picked all the banjos in the Exhibit Hall, though, at least once.  My favorite new banjo was the "Berkshire" model just released by Steve Huber.  Not real fancy, but it has a great sound. I concur with your message - if you haven't been to the World of Bluegrass you have to start making plans for next year's now.  There's nothing like it.

banjoboba Says:
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 @6:33:45 PM

Hi DandyRandy,

If you can, get to the IBMA some time- it's worth the trip.

Thanks for your post.


Bob A.  


kayakjz Says:
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 @8:48:25 PM

Good write up Bob. The only thing you left out was a photo of your new banjo strap! :-) I'll catch up with you next week when I return from my next trip. -J

Shorty P Says:
Thursday, October 11, 2007 @11:10:49 AM

Bob i  talked to you a couple years ago at valley lake bluegrass festival in Ohio. When I seen you at the Huber stand i knew you and I had talked somewhere before.  I bought that Huber Lexington I was playing when you were looking around .I also have a couple of pictures with you in them.

Shorty P.

banjoboba Says:
Friday, October 12, 2007 @6:10:42 PM

Hi Shorty,

It's good to hear from you. The Lexington (and any of the Huber banjos ) are fine banjos. You'll like it!

If you can, please send me one of the pictures you mentioned.

Take care- keep picking.


Bob A

Shorty P Says:
Friday, October 12, 2007 @10:20:40 PM

Bob  look on my homepage and you will see them. I recieved my new banjo today and I'm already in love.


banjoboba Says:
Friday, October 12, 2007 @10:28:19 PM

Shorty- Good pictures! Have a great time with the new Huber.



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