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Blast from the Past

Thursday, January 5, 2012

About six years ago I taught a banjo-building class based on my "Rocky mountain" banjo design.  There were five students - my cousin and four young men.  Of the five that started banjos, the first to finish was one of the young men who was nineteen at the time, followed by my cousin several months later - and that was it until now.  Over Christmas vacation, one of the other young men approached me about finishing his banjo.  Now an engineering student at BYU (also my alma mater), he is singing and playing cello and guitar in a folk band, and wants to learn banjo.  Over the past few days we have worked hard on the fast track to get his banjo finished.  Last night, for example, we leveled and crowned the frets. A few days previous, we mounted a goat skin head.   We hope to assemble and string it up this weekend. This looks like it will be a fine example of the "Rocky Mountain" banjo.  I have plans available for free, for anyone who wants to drop me an email.

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Banjo kits complete

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 Add Comment

Gearing up

Thursday, December 8, 2011 Add Comment

A gig

Thursday, December 1, 2011 Add Comment

Back in the Saddle almost

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 Add Comment

Neck by Router

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 Add Comment

Tension headaches

Monday, August 15, 2011 Add Comment

Banjo at Scout Camp

Monday, July 18, 2011 1 comment

The panhead goes on trek

Monday, June 13, 2011 Add Comment

I sold a banjo

Friday, May 6, 2011 1 comment

Panhead banjo finished

Saturday, April 30, 2011 Add Comment

New project: A Panhead Banjo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 1 comment

Challenge Banjo finished !

Sunday, February 27, 2011 1 comment

A new Project

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 Add Comment

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Playing Since: 1998
Experience Level: Intermediate

Jonnycake White has made 51 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 


Occupation: Computer Programmer

Gender: Male
Age: 67

My Instruments:
Home built - 2 minstrel fretless, 2 short-scale, others

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Bob Flesher, Camptown Shakers, Planxty, De Danaan, Deseret String Band, any Old-time, minstrel, string band types.

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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 6/19/2008
Last Visit 3/29/2023

Born in Arizona, I have fond memories of a small-town Colorado childhood and suburban Bay Area (CA) adolescence. I've lived my entire adult life in Utah. A computer programmer by profession, I enjoy working with my hands in wood and metal (although I find mistakes in software much easier to correct). I built my first instrument in 1991, my first banjo (and third overall) in 1999, and have built as of 2013 about 28 instruments, including 21 banjos, mostly from scratch on my own designs. I started trying to learn 3-finger banjo in 1998, found it to be too difficult, developed a two finger style on my own, but finally got the hang of frailing a few years later. Since then I've been slooowly working on improving my technique and repertoire. Favorite quotes: "A lot of our culture is lost in our lives-the old stories that were told by mothers and fathers who would go into the bush and then return to tell the others what they had seen. The problem now is that no one goes out and does anything, so we have no stories to tell our children. We have nothing to pass on. In the old days we had to make a musical instrument and sing along to it. Now we just go into town and buy a tape and listen to that." - Mario Mahongo, !Xu Bushman, quoted in National Geographic, Feb. 2001, p 117. "As a boy, I recall going with Dad to the woods to get the timber for banjo-making. He selected a tree by its appearance and by sounding...hitting a tree with a hammer or axe broadside to tell by the sound if it's straight-grained...As I watched him shaping the wood for a banjo, I learned to love the smell of the fresh shavings as they gathered on the floor of our cabin...When the strings was put on and the pegs turned and the musical notes began to fill the cabin, I looked upon my father as the greatest man on earth for creating such a wonderful thing out of a piece of wood, a greasy skin, and some strings." - Frank Profitt, cited in Foxfire 3, p 124 from Sing Out, Oct-Nov 1963.

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