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ARTISTE BANJOS NZ. Gold Tone & Recording King Stocked. NZsteve

90 Members, Created 7/7/2011 -

Administrators: NZsteve (owner)

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Merlin Longneck Banjo, Luke Kelley

From NZsteve on 10/18/2020 3:07:41 AM

To follow on from the Dubliners and Luke Kelley's banjo,

" A crazy footnote in banjo history " as Elderly describes it !

Here is a great video of the beast

And how it plays !

" A mid-20th century high tech banjo, this Merlin longneck model has a machined aluminum Seeger-style long neck and hardware. The ~3/8" fiberglass rim is fitted with a raised brass hoop tone ring. Other features include an ebony fingerboard with pearl comma inlays, an integral armrest, and an ebony peghead overlay with a"Merlin" logo and a raised metal Eagle. A crazy footnote in banjo history

From Hangout archives

longneckpat - Posted - 09/02/2009:  05:10:09

Yes, Luke played a Merlin long neck for the most part of his professional career. Around 1980, he acquired an early 1960's Vega Pete Seeger that I had the privilage of playing in his presence. He told me that the fingerboard on the Merlin had warped away from the aluminium neck and was dismantled at that stage. The fingerboard and the peg head overlay were the only wood parts in this banjo. I have since acquired a Merlin for sentimentality sake. They are hard to find and about 120 were made. They are not the best to play with a thick aluminium neck that tends to tilt even more than conventional wood necked long necks. Sound is good though and unique and the head size is about 11.5 inches in diameter. I play several sylyes and can mimimc Luke pretty well. If you are starting to play the long neck banjo, Gold Tone make reasonably priced long necks and Wildwood and Deering make excellent long necks. I use a Deering Vega long neck as my working banjo and this sounds and plays great based oon the original Vega Pete Seeger Model long neck.

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