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The Wreath has arrived!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good day all my fellow banjo players and enthusiasts ........November 2011 will remain in my memories as a very joyous and festive month. I celebrated my 25th year at Baker Dist. Co. 11/24/11, was presented with an excellent Canon digital wonder camera, and a letter of appreciation from the President of our Company (whom I have known for 20 plus years,) but the real joy arrived 11/9/11 form my good friend and fellow 5-string FANATIC Chris Cioffi, Springfield TN. We had discussed a banjo project back in Sept. or Oct. 2009, my interest in the old Style 3 Wreaths joined with Chris' vast 25 years plus experience with the pre-war Mastertones. I knew Chris had owned and professionally played many great pre-wars, and I don't think one could find a more knowledgable or expert authority on these wonderful old banjos. Realizing I could never afford one of the pre-war banjos, even the pot assembly, we discussed building a Style 3, Wreath around a pre-war raised-head tonering, and styling around the original Gibson specs and appointments. I realized it would be very long in duration, as Chris is a one-man repair and restoration facility, and was in the process of gearing up his machine and luthier shop at the same time!! But knowing his reputation for perfection (Huber Banjos 2003-2008 or so) and being a patient man, we proceeded. To get to the point, the Wreath was completed to our specs and arrived Nov. 9, 2011. I expected a wonderful banjo, with great tone, volume, and playability, but when I played the first tune that day, and realized what sound this instrument had, I was blown away. I had the shakes for quite a while while playing it!!! I must say, Chris' work exceeded even my high expectations!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I have owned, and own some wonderful flathead 5s---'77 Stelling Bellflower, 04 OME Custom top-tension, and these are superb banjos, but for a banjo that had been assembled for less than 3 weeks, and come out of the case like the Wreath did, well, I must say it is the magic of Chris' ability and workmanship that speaks for itself. I know the 80-year old tonering, and excellent mahogany tonewoods account for a lot, but I feel it is the man putting it all together that made it what is............the most satisfying banjo I have ever played----in my 36 years of banjo playing!!!!!!!! I'll post some pics, as soon as I find the time-------mostly I have been playing this fine instrument endlessly for the last 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!! But not to worry, the stainless frets should hold up well, and they play efortlessly!!!!!!!!! Gotta go, I want to play the Wreath some more!!!!!!!!!!! Best to all, Bill Hare, Vero Beach FL   

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Playing Since: 1975
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

Interests:
[Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: manager

Gender: Male
Age: 68

My Instruments:
5-string banjo, six string guitar

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Alphabetically, Crowe, Emerson, Osborne, Scruggs, and Shelton (Alan), also Doug Dillard. I appreciate the modern, melodic , jazzy styles, but prefer the DRIVE. Really fond of early Jimmy Martin, most of Monroe, and Flatt & Scruggs til about 1964 (when they tried to do hippie songs). JD and the New South has always been strong, esp. 1st album, Red Allen in various groups, and John McEuen ( a superb multi-instrumentalist)

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Visible to: Public
Created 11/8/2009
Last Visit 1/17/2022

Born 1954 Phila. PA, moved out to the sticks @ 6 mos. old, lived in PA (Chester County, not far from Lancaster or Phila, 10 acres of beautiful hill and farm country til the progress of the 70s moved in. College @ U. of AZ (Go Wildcats), went to my first Bluegrass Fest 1974 (Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley (w/ Ricky Lee--wow), Lester Flatt (Kenny Ingram and Marty Stuart-yikes) and decided to get a banjo, esp. after hearing Ralph tear it up. Been a maniac ever since. Got a Harmony banjo 1975, got the rolls down, Iida RB-250 copy, 1976, learned the basics, kept looking at banjos, then saw and played a Steling-wow-had to have one. Dec.1978, new Stelling, wow. Also got a 75 Mossman Flint Hills guitar, learned some guitar too. Several local groups, played all the time, and moved to Florida 1983. Worked solar hot water contracting about 4 years, then went into HVACR supply biz. Became mgr, 1992, still playing locally, weekly show in Vero running weekly about 8 years (but mostly I play guitar and do the lead singing; but pick the banjo daily.

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