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Playing Since: 1975
Experience Level: Intermediate

gbisignani has made 19 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

Gender: Male
Age: 68

My Instruments:
Bacon & Day Special #1 conversion
Recording King RK 85 Elite
Deering Goodtime Parlor open back
Gibson RB-170 open back
Dean Robinson (Dean-O-Craft) open back

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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 7/28/2016
Last Visit 10/19/2019

I started playing banjo in the early 1970's. I had come home from Vietnam and was significantly depressed. I thought I needed something to cheer me up and the banjo came to mind. I went out and bought a cheap tenor banjo. Probably Japanese. I never played the tenor like a tenor. I always finger picked. Even though I was pretty lousy I kept it up. Sooner or later I bought my first 5-string. Another Japanese but a real upgrade from what I had. I remember when I got it home I noticed a crack in the peghead. I tried to return it but the store owner (Newark NJ) wouldn't take it back. I'm thinking back in those days, in New Jersey, they probably couldn't wait to get rid of any banjos they had. Now a lot of those days are a blur but somehow I ended up with another Japanese 5 string that I'm pretty sure was a Masterclone. It had goldish plating and was very fancy and heavy so I'm thinking a tone ring. I taught myself to play with nothing but records and concerts. At this time in New Jersey there weren't really too many people that played banjo so I was pretty much on my own. I should say that I came from a very musical family. We all took music lessons, me on trumpet. My mother played piano and had taught piano for a while. My sister played clarinet, oboe, and piano. My brother clarinet and sax. It's a shame but I'm the only one still playing. I was talking to a guy at work that played guitar. This is the mid 70's. He told me he had a 5 string banjo that he never learned to play and asked if I was interested in buying it. He told me it was a Bacon banjo. I told him to bring it to work and I would look. It turned out to be a Bacon & Day Special #1 tenor. He had had a 5 string neck masde by this guy Roger Siminoff who was then residing in NJ. Well I still have that banjo and I love it. I played on an off all these years. About 2012-2013 I moved to North Carolina. I couldn't believe how much banjo music there is around here. I was taking lessons for about 6 months when my left arm and elbow started having problems. I had just bought the Recording King RK 85. I always played the Bacon & Day as an openback so I wanted a bluegrass banjo. Eventually I quit taking lessons because I had to have surgery on my left elbow. During my recuperation I developed a love of clawhammer and old time music. I started trying to play and watched youtube all day. I got the bum ditty down and I'm very much loving playing. I'm still not very good. I'm back to playing the Bacon. But I'm loving the journey. I actually play sometimes in a Rock & Roll band. It's challenging trying to fit the banjo into the music they are playing but it's a lot of fun. In 2018 I bought an openback banjo from Dean Robinson. Truly a work of art. Not flashy but the best banjo I've ever owned ! My Journey continues !

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