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Richilieu Long Neck Banjo

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saw some posts from 2010 about whether or not CC Richilieu from Oregon, WI made any long neck banjos.  In the early 1980's I lived in Madison and made many, many trips to Rich's shop to play his wonderful banjos, spend time with Rich - he was a great man - and try to get him to build me a long neck.  He always declined saying his shop wasn't set up to make them.  After a year or so of trying, I bought a 5 string resonator banjo.  Time passed and I found out he had made a long neck for Tommy Makem.  I asked Rich again to make me a long neck and he agreed.  Tommy Makem's long neck was a Vega PS-5 copy with a maple neck but a White Layde tone ring that Rich used on his banjos and none of the inlays that Rich used.  Mine was made from 75 year old Brazilian rosewood - rim and neck - and had the upgraded peghead with inlays.  The neck inlays were "Praire"style which were much less ornate.  The banjo was marvelous with a thin neck, low action, great tone and volume.  When I first held and played it, the feeling was unbelieveable.  It sounded soooo good and played so easily.  A couple of years later, I had the opportunity to show it to Tommy Makem.  He played it for 30 minutes and asked if I would consider selling it to him.  I declined.  He said he had stopped using his Richilieu because the neck "moved too much" when he was traveling.  He had returned to the Vega PS-5.  

I was out of the states from April 2009 and October 2011 and I left the Richilieu with my son for safe keeping.  This proved to be a bad decision because the Richilieu was gone when I got back.  My son had some unemployment and housing problems during my absense.  I have never been able to get him to tell me what happened to the Richilieu.  I would love to have it back.  By way of identification, Rich put a "E. Lynn Edgemon" nameplate on the hardshell case.

Anyway, Rich told me he was never going to make another long neck banjo.  So, as far as I know, he only made two.



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Created 4/27/2017
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