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I managed to snag one of Noah Cline’s mountain banjos – and it arrived in the mail yesterday, 2 December. He dressed this one up with a decorative peghead overlay and a nice small five pointed star cutout – filled with a colorful star inlay. He also added a metal sheath over the northern part of the neck, a crescent moon adorned with what I suppose is another MOP type colorful star, and one of those Dobson-like metal plates at the “scoop.” He shaped a nice, functional five string tailpiece, and on the reverse side, in the middle of the bottom wood “resonator”, he cut out another crescent moon and adorned that with an adjacent five pointed colorful star.
The banjo is a 25 inch scale. Noah shaped a nice mahogany bridge, used modern friction tuners, and this little instrument – to my old ears – plays very nicely. It is comfortable to hold, balanced, and easy to play.
I have owned several “mountain style” banjos, but none of them lasted in my banjo arsenal for very long. They tended to be slightly longer scales, and just didn’t balance right for me.
This one is a pleasure to hold and play.
Noah’s banjos are rough hewn, hand made folk type projects. He does use modern screws and such, but he works to incorporate the saw chatter and rough cuts into the character of the banjo. The neck is a pleasure to move up and down, north and south, getting those longer, liquid slides that fretless banjos offer – I haven’t played fretless in a while, a long while, and I’m really enjoying this one. Noah put nylon strings on, and I think they are just the right touch.
In addition to being a banjo artist, he is also an accomplished clawhammer player, and a pleasure to deal with in the context of banjo-fueled commerce.
Overall Rating: 9