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Paul R replied to topic 'Adapting other music styles to bluegrass with banjo. ' 1 day
Playing Since: 1990
Experience Level: Purty Good
Occupation: Retired teacher
Mountain Heart, Steel Drivers, Laurie Lewis
Classified Rating: not rated
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Last Visit 10/4/2018
Actually bought my first banjo, a $25 Kay with a gold metal-flake resonator and about 1/2 inch of action where the neck met the pot, in 1972. Made loud noises with it for a few months and then found a Vega long-neck mountain banjo in a San Francisco hock shop for $200. Played it somewhat for a few years and then gave it up for family pursuits. Fast forward to 1990 and a $65 nameless banjo at a Santa Cruz swap meet. Made my girl friend crazy with it, so she had to go. Found my first "real" banjo (aside from the Vega) with an actual tone ring and parts that mostly fit. It was a Seville (Some Asian make?) and I was impressed with the weight. $200 at a Fresno hock shop. Somewhere in there I also found a $400 Iida, which I bought. I liked the Seville better, however, and soon sold the Iida. A few years back, I got serious and had the money so I went looking for a better instrument. I figured that I would go with the standard Mastertone design, it being tried and true. What I found were a lot of over-priced Gibsons which may or may not have been actually made by Gibson. Earl Scruggs says if you're going to build a banjo, you should put your own name on it. So I went looking for a builder with a reputation, and settled on a banjo built by Robin Smith of Heartland Banjos. It says Smith right there on the peghead, and that's fine with me. I love it. Sounds great. I look forward to owning more banjos.
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