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James Hartel

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Playing Since: 1972
Experience Level: Purty Good

[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: banjo maker / visual artist

Gender: Male
My Instruments:
banjos I make & a Vega Tubaphone

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Pete Seeger, Dan Gellert, Reed Martin, Brad Leftwich, Michael Miles, Rob MacKillop, Greg Adams, Jody Stecher, Enda Scahill, Brendan Dolan, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and too many others to list.

Classified Rating: (+8)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 3/3/2004
Last Visit 7/15/2024

I've been making and playing banjos on and off since 1973 when I made a banjo for my 2 year old daughter. She didn't learn to play that banjo until she was thirty, though, and by then, I had dug around enough in the history of American banjos to start making authentic-looking replicas of original minstrel banjos. I have had access a vast array of surviving early banjos through the generosity of banjo history experts, collectors of early musical instruments, and museums. I've documented the exact dimensions, construction techniques and detailed characteristics of each individual instrument that I replicate. Also, I continue to research and fine tune my banjos regularly so that they look and sound as much like the banjos of the early minstrel period as possible. I make around 10-15 banjos a year. My banjos are used by historical interpreters, museum sites, and musicians throughout America and in many other parts of the world.

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