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Mac Traynham

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My favorite banjo builder is Mac Traynham of Willis, VA.  In the world of old time music Mac is well known, as is his wife, Jenny for their incredible playing and singing.  However, Mac's banjos reflect a lifetime of immersion in the folkways of Virginia and a dedication of more than 35 years to old time music.  Mac uses a variety of woods but his most incredible sounding creations are made of maple and cherry.  He builds in the style (and with some of the tools) of the great Kyle Creed.  

However, what makes Mac's banjos ring is the fact that he is a renowned player of Blue Ridge music and a friend to all musicians-old and young-who love the indigenous music of the Blue Ridge.  

This year, Mac will finish his 100th banjo.  His 98th banjo is an openback that he built from wood brought to his shop from a timber sale on my Great Grand Father's farm in New York State.  Mac dried the cherry logs, helped me rough out the neck, and then when the winter storms set in, used his shop woodstove to steam the layers for the rim.  

This past Spring, he carved a beautiful cherry blossom inlay into the headstock and then followed down the neck with falling blossoms and cherries.  It is a family heirloom, a stand alone work of art, and a banjo that sounds with as much character and charm as Mac does.  

Mac is fixture on the Virginia Crooked Road, at the Floyd Country Store, near where he built a beautiful picker's dream gazebo in the Floyd city park to accommodate the overflow of Friday and Saturday night pickers.  

Mac is a great teacher, volunteering time to teach young Appalachian students how to play the clawhammer style of Floyd County, and a great member of the community.  Mac's daytime job is detailed cabinetry and woodworking, but it is quickly being taken over by demands from across the country for his banjos.  

You can find more out about Mac's work at www.mactraynham.com.  I'm on my second Mac banjo and hope to save the money for a third.  His work is noted for the sharp, cutting attack, yet great growl for those ancient tomes.  His banjos are played by many of my banjo heroes.

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Playing Since: 1999
Experience Level: Purty Good

Interests:
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing]

Gender: Male
Age: 65

My Instruments:
Ramsey custom Woody the Peace Banjo
Lo Gordon Cedar Mountain
SS Stewart Thoroughbred
Ramsey Custon Fretless


Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Walt Koken, Pete Peterson, Frank Lee, Riley Baugus, Adam Hurt, Steve Arkin, Claire Milner, The Orpheus Supertones, Waking Up Tillie, Kellie Allen, Greg Allen, the Scrapwood Stringband, Tim O'Brien, The Highwoods, Tommy Thompson and the Original Red Clay Ramblers, Norman and Nancy Blake, a bunch of dead guys, and everyone at Clifftop.

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Created 1/20/2006
Last Visit 6/26/2020

Clawhammer player looking for other clawhammer players/old time fiddlers to jam with. Also play mando. I grew up in SW Kansas, lived in Lawrence, KS. for years and took over The Flint Hills Special Radio Program on KANU from none other than Dan Crary. Was part of the Kansas old timey scene (what there is of it) for years, now host a regular OT jam in Durham, NH. Learning Canadian tunes ala clawhammer. Contact me if you want to be a part of our New Hampshire Old Time Sunday jam.

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