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Playing Since: 1958
Experience Level: Purty Good


Occupation: Retired Mechanical Design Engineer

Gender: Male
Age: 81

Classified Rating: (+2)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 3/3/2008
Last Visit 6/29/2023

Al Spencer: Al was born in the hills of Tyler County, West Virginia, in 1942. Old Time and Gospel music surrounded him as a youngster. His parents, Harley & Ruth Spencer were involved in the entertainment business on radio, TV, music festivals, political shows, and more. They were known by two names in those days, “The Spencer Kids” when just the two performed, and “The Spencer Family Band” when others would join them. Harley Spencer, Al’s father, was a great tenor banjo player that was twice the West Virginia State Banjo Champion. His mother was always by his father’s side playing really solid rhythm guitar. They played together for an excess of 50 years. Both passed away in 2001. Al’s parents thoroughly enjoyed the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and would go to all shows that were within driving distance of their home. Al stated, “At a very early age, I was awestruck by the sound of Earl Scruggs playing banjo.” He has been working at “Scruggs Style” playing in excess of 40 years. Also, it was stated that he still gets “goose bumps”, when he hears Earl Scruggs play. Al is well-known today for his hard driving banjo style, lead singing, and harmony singing with other members of the group. It is really evident, when you watch him play, that he is a person who tremendously enjoys playing the banjo and singing. Many folks have mentioned over the years that you never know which banjo Al is going to be playing during a performance. In the very early years of his playing, his primary banjo was a pre-war Epiphone Arch Top Recording “A” that he has related, “The sound of this banjo would drive a straw through a fence post.” In recent years, he plays older pre-war flatheads and his own custom banjos. In the early seventies, Al was the inventor of the “Acoustic Fiberglass” banjo tone rim which is utilized in his custom series banjos. In 2003, his interests in “Acoustic Fiberglass” was expanded. His latest banjo tone rims and resonators are characterized by the tremendous properties of carbon fiber technology in their construction. He recently stated that the latest two banjo’s built in 2007 are the best banjo’s he has ever played. In the spring of 2004, Al retired after 38 years as an Engineer with PPG Industries and began focusing on his bluegrass interests. (by:mm 10-06) The Mountain State Bluegrass Express

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