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Dan Gellert replied to topic 'Really nice fretles banjo info required (G W TEEL)' 2 days
Playing Since: 1962
Experience Level: Purty Good
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Occupation: Musician/Musical Instrument Technician
I built my main instrument myself, an open-back finished in 2012. It has a block rim of hard rock maple, no tone ring (for that old-timey sound) and a mahogany neck. I also made a bluegrass-style resonator banjo from a Stew Mac kit in 2008. I'm currently building an all-cherry open-back model.
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Last Visit 5/24/2016
Lemme see, here. I started out as a child (rim-shot). My first instrument was a guitar, which I got at age 12--late by most standards. I took three years of lessons, then joined my first rock band at age 16. Then the Folk Music revolution arrived in about 1961, and I started playing a little banjo in 1962--whenever my buddy would let me play his while he showed me Scruggs rolls--and went back to acoustic guitar throughout the sixties, playing in coffee houses and jamming with the Folklore grad students at Indiana University, including Richard Blaustein, Peter Aceves, and Neil Rosenberg. Through them I became steeped in fiddle tunes and soaked up Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Gid Tanner, Riley Puckett, Doc Boggs, Doc Watson, etc. . I slid into blues in about 1967--added it really--learning blues harp and picking up on Brownie McGee & Sonny Terry, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and others. In 1973 I learned to tune pianos, which has allowed me to keep playing music as at least a part-time professional ever since. In the mid-70s I began to play rock and fusion in bands again, playing with Michael Brecker very briefly, and becoming the quintessential opening act. I'll name-drop on request. As the 70s drew to a close I began learning and playing pedal steel and jazz guitar. The 80s and 90s were a long period of hibernation. During that time I only played parties. My wife is a singer and pianist, so I became her bass player. I also learned how to do a pretty good impersonation of a lounge pianist, so I did some solo work at parties and receptions. I released one CD called Piano Improvisations (available on iTunes and CDBaby) during this period and played guitar and bass in a couple of jazz combos. I decided to take some cello lessons after the turn of the century, and as fate would have it, a violin fell into my hands. I was immediately smitten. I relearned all the old fiddle tunes I'd played in the 60s and learned a whole lot more, picking up some Irish ones along the way. During this time I began to make instruments, and I'm still building fiddles and banjos. I also went back to playing in bands as the designated multi-instrumentalist. Currently I play banjo, fiddle, dobro, mandolin, guitar, lap steel and pedal steel. The first banjo I built a couple of years ago sat around for a bit waiting for final touches, but I started playing it anyway. Right now I'm banjo-crazy. I play both bluegrass and clawhammer styles, and I'm working on a CD in which I play all the instruments..
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