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Duke of Pearl

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Playing Since: 1963
Experience Level: Purty Good

Occupation: Luthier's inlay supplies

Gender: Male
Age: 81

My Instruments:
Erika custom 1-pc. machined bronze pot arch-top 5-st., Granada-style inlay (1969).

Erika custom scratch-built, block pot arch-top, 2-pc. flange 5-st., full inlay/engraving (1967).

OME Grand Artist "Spring", special (non-standard) custom-built 5-st.

1930 Gibson Florentine, factory pre-war flat-top, 5-st. "Florentine Special" neck by Karnes.

Seriously Steampunked yard-sale Kay 5-st., retrofitted w/Fender Concert Tone arch-top, solid neck rod, bubble wrap-lined resonator, ebony 26.5" scale fingerboard (the best sounding old Kay on the planet!).

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Reno, Scruggs, Stanley, Grier, Keith, Adcock, Crowe, Munde, Shelor, Jim Mills, Mark Delaney.

Classified Rating: (+16)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 10/8/2006
Last Visit 5/20/2024

OCCUPATION: Former banjo builder; currently inlay materials supplier and MOP antiques dealer. HOBBIES: Longtime, many, and varied, including in no particular order: 4-wheeling; wilderness survival skills; Bluegrass music; entomophagy (insects as food); 3-rail billiards; Biblical apologetics; olympic-style & beach volleyball; herpetology (reptiles, including rattlers caged in our front room!); antique mother-of-pearl collecting; mycology (edible mushrooms); topology, astrophysics, relativity, and quantum mechanics (bedtime reading); old and politically incorrect whaling history; surrealistic arts; hoaxes, freaks,and oddities; really good cigars. PERSONAL BIO: Among other things, at one time or another have been a: surgical scrub nurse; scientific illustrator; commercial collector/vendor of small desert mammals, snakes, and decorative wild plants; chicken ranch manager; and scrap metals dealer. For five years (1980-1984), was a professional gold miner, dredging my own claims on Lavezzola Creek (north of Downieville, Ca.) and kicking out about 11 metric lbs. of "God's own metal"! In Denver, Co. (1963) was a partner in "The House of Banjos", in 1965 started making "Erika Banjos" back in Van Nuys, Ca., and by 1968 was processing pearl and abalone for instrument inlays, as well as dealing fine woods, ivories, tortoiseshell, and fine banjo parts. Vending eventually overtook building and I bacame a major luthiery materials supplier. Moved to Grass Valley in 1979, and got married to Cheryl ("The Duchess") in 1985. The Gibson Montana Div. bought out my shell biz in 1989, but they later folded the operation and we returned to the industry around 1990, but instead of working shell here took it overseas to S. Korea and then later also to Indonesia, where we currently have about 110 employees processing 250 metric tons per year. The former Larry Sifel (Pearl Works, Md.) and I invented laminated shell (Abalam), for which since 1998 we were awarded four U.S. patents. Am currently working on several more patentable shell projects, all of which are intended to escalate your nacreous addictions. Lastly, but above all, Cheryl (now with her savior since Jan. 20, 2021) and I gratefully admit that our lives would have been hellish disasters without the saving, strengthening, enlightening, and loving activity of God's crucified and resurrected son Jesus Christ in our lives and decisions -- public thanks to the One who's openly due it!

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