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Oct 11, 2018 - 12:21 AM

510 posts since 6/25/2006

Yes, it feels quieter - regular contributors, David Cava and Tony Lombardo appear to have gone away but hopefully will come back soon. David is still posting some great tenor jazz guitar on youtube - maybe he is focusing more on guitar at the moment.
I search Banjo Hangout a lot but don't always post. I haven't got a facebook account but I think this is where many jazz banjoists post - it seems to be less about learning/playing technique and more news re gigs and video/photo posts: http://www.facebook.com/groups/JazzBanjo/
I feel a bit 'out-of-the-loop' not being on Facebook but can't quite bring myself to join up.  Don't like it's dominance as a platform and the whole sharing your life thing.  I guess I am resisting now it feels compulsory to be on it!
 

Oct 11, 2018 - 2:31:56 AM
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Players Union Member

Neil Allen

France

456 posts since 6/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by hobogal

I feel a bit 'out-of-the-loop' not being on Facebook but can't quite bring myself to join up.  Don't like it's dominance as a platform and the whole sharing your life thing.  I guess I am resisting now it feels compulsory to be on it!
 


I deleted my account after 2-1/2 years on it and it was such a huge relief not to have to think about it any more. Even if you install a plugin to strip out all the advertising, it is still a constant source of distraction and time wasting, especially as I sit in front of my computer for work. I prefer to go for a walk in the evening or practice my banjo rather than arguing about X, Y or Z with people who I barely know and whose opinions I don't particularly care about!

Oct 11, 2018 - 5:30:36 AM
Players Union Member

mbuk06

England

6861 posts since 10/5/2006

I think the relative quietness of the forums other than bluegrass and old-time just reflects the predominantly American make-up of this site and the comparative interest and participation in these musical areas within the US. My gut feeling is also that there is also a tendency for non-OT and non-bluegrass musicians to be less inclined toward online activity. None of the musicians I play with in English sessions post on music forums; it's a far more local-based way of thinking and relating. People with a shared interest who are geographically distant are more likely to communicate online. I can identify with that myself as my BHO posting history relates almost completely to OT; I play banjo in English music and dance sessions equally but rarely, if ever, post on that subject. This also applies to American OT and bluegrass musicians who live among an active local music culture; many never post online.

Edited by - mbuk06 on 10/11/2018 05:32:35

Oct 13, 2018 - 10:19:15 AM
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266 posts since 6/4/2015

Hello all,

There has been some more time than I thought between writing this post and returning to it. 

My observation stems from what seemed stasis on the 4-string Jazz forum for about 4-6 weeks. Eddy Davis had posted 5 or 6 times, I think, over that period, but nobody else did apparently. Every time I opened BHO, not a single fresh post in sight. That struck me as rather peculiar, so I thought it best to raise the matter on BHO. Not sure as to whether this is a temporary dip in traffic or harbinger of terminal decline of BHO.

Secondly, I have been searching for banjo builders/restorers in mainland Europe, around the same time. I find it really shocking to discover how few are left. And there's a parallel, I feel, between my first observation and my second, somewhere.

Thirdly, not only some great plectrum players have been chased from BHO, by unjustly harsh comments, but, I think, some great tenor players, too. Rob McKillop, for instance, a musician I hugely admire, even gave up banjo completely, after having been viciously attacked in a BHO forum. Sean Moyes, I think, is another one who left BHO in a huff, several years ago, if I remember correctly.

Fourthly, a friendly word to neilend.

Please don't feel inhibited as to posting because of being brand-new to banjo. If you are unsure of anything with respect to banjo, just ask!  There's simply no such thing as a stupid question. Tons of experience on this forum, that's true, but each and every one of us started from zero, at some point. So even to beginner questions posted hundreds of times on BHO, you'll always find a friendly and helpful response. We've all been there.

I hope to see lots more posts from you, from now on. And I'll certainly answer your questions if I can.

Fifthly: I don't like Facebook either.

Sixthly and lastly,: please come back to BHO soon, davidcava. Your enthusiasm and dedication a jewel in BHOs treasure chest. I declare a personal interest here as well, since I'd still like to show you, one day, what Some Of These Days might sound like when approached as lament.

Veerstryngh Thynner

Edited by - Veerstryngh Thynner on 10/13/2018 10:55:49

Oct 13, 2018 - 7:16:18 PM

lanemb

USA

9 posts since 3/11/2018

I agree with the hate for Facebook! People post way to much personal information there.

Thanks to all the people who answer questions. I know it gets tiring at times but the people asking really do appreciate your help.

People will come and go but BHO will continue to roll along. It keeps the craft going.

Oct 14, 2018 - 4:31:34 AM

266 posts since 6/4/2015

Michael,

In the US, yes, probably. But in mainland Europe, banjo building and restoration are close to extinction. The attraction of buying a  banjo furthermore greatly diminished, I imagine, if soon no longer professionally to be maintained and/or restored anywhere on the continent. With exception of the UK, perhaps, as traditionally more attuned to the US than to the European mainland.

I searched for banjo builders in Germany, Belgium and Holland, recently. The harvest just two in the whole of Germany, two in the whole of Belgium, and just a single one in Holland. The latter only available for small maintenance. Besides, of genuine European banjo makes, Pietsch (also from Germany) is, to my knowledge, the only one left.

And so repairs and adaptations are already coming to great additional expenses, from the viewpoint of European banjo pros and amateurs alike. I don't know about banjo builders in France. Maybe Marco can tell us a bit more about finding banjo repairers in Italy. But I doubt there'd be any in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Rumania, Poland, Bulgaria or the Baltic statelets. And if some banjo players do indeed dwell in these countries aforementioned, they'd all have to travel to Germany, I figure, to have their instruments fixed.

What's more, the UK is shortly to show the EU their back. This may mean that banjo players from the EU might soon be required to apply for visa. For every visit undertaken, natch. Buying  abanjo and having it professionally maintained could thus become so exorbitantly expensive that it's just not worth the bother. And therefore banjo may well be in serious danger of disappearing altogether from the European musical landscape, in my view.

If there ever comes a time that for banjo players all over Europe a trip to the US is the sole alternative, for banjo purchase as well as for banjo maintenance, banjo would almost certainly lose every attraction. Not only too expensive for young people, but also since we banjo veterans have been very astute in demonstrating that banjo is a mere niche interest solely of relevance to the middle-aged and grey who grew up with it, between the 1950 and 1990, roughly, but soon to be extinct anyway, So who cares?

If this is indeed the case already, banjo is hard on its way to become truly exclusive to the US alone.

Veerstryngh Thynner

Edited by - Veerstryngh Thynner on 10/14/2018 04:47:24

Oct 14, 2018 - 5:07:27 AM
Players Union Member

Neil Allen

France

456 posts since 6/15/2014

There are some good builders in Europe. Check out Prat Instruments in Spain or Prucha in the Czech Republic. There are quite a few niche builders here and there, in Europe and in the UK, but the market is small and the jazz/tenor market probably even smaller.

I was talking to the guy who runs the Banjo Works in Faversham (UK) about six months ago and he reckoned a lot of companies were simply getting out of the musical instrument business due to lack of people who want to spend so much of their time on learning such a skill. It's not just banjos that are in decline, seemingly.

As for what the UK is doing to itself at the moment, sadly, the woes of its banjo makers are likely to be the least of its worries.

Oct 14, 2018 - 6:03:46 AM
Players Union Member

Neil Allen

France

456 posts since 6/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Veerstryngh Thynner

Thirdly, not only some great plectrum players have been chased from BHO, by unjustly harsh comments, but, I think, some great tenor players, too. Rob McKillop, for instance, a musician I hugely admire, even gave up banjo completely, after having been viciously attacked in a BHO forum. Sean Moyes, I think, is another one who left BHO in a huff, several years ago, if I remember correctly.

 


I am very sorry to see that the bluegrass teacher John Boulding has locked his account. An outstanding contributor. I don't know the reasons for his decision, but the BHO is poorer without him.

Oct 14, 2018 - 6:46:13 AM

266 posts since 6/4/2015

Neil, 

Thanks very much for that info. Never heard of Prat or Prucha before. Would you know of any in France, too, by any chance, seeing that you are living there?

And with respect to the present British civil war of words raging, domestically: you're dead right that what the UK is doing to itself is truly awful. I sincerely hope that, in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU without any agreement, your future in France will not be affected. All EU governments having given assurances to that extent, I think. But I bet that British expats, too, all over Europe, are plenty concerned nevertheless, as to what's going to happen if (or when) push really comes to shove.

Veerstryngh Thynner

Edited by - Veerstryngh Thynner on 10/14/2018 06:57:27

Oct 14, 2018 - 7:29:52 AM

Ryk

USA

150 posts since 11/20/2011

I own a Prucha 5-string and love it. There is also Norbert Pietsch in Germany: pietsch-banjos.de/pbc/index.php/en/. I have a plectrum made by Norbert that is just exceptional. (Headstock to the left.)

Oct 14, 2018 - 7:59:36 AM
Players Union Member

Neil Allen

France

456 posts since 6/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Veerstryngh Thynner

Neil, 

Thanks very much for that info. Never heard of Prat or Prucha before. Would you know of any in France, too, by any chance, seeing that you are living there?

And with respect to the present British civil war of words raging, domestically: you're dead right that what the UK is doing to itself is truly awful. I sincerely hope that, in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU without any agreement, your future in France will not be affected. All EU governments having given assurances to that extent, I think. But I bet that British expats, too, all over Europe, are plenty concerned nevertheless, as to what's going to happen if (or when) push really comes to shove.

Veerstryngh Thynner


I have dual British / French nationality, so I am in the fortunate position of not being personally affected. I will refrain from commenting further on this because it is political and therefore against BHO rules, but I will leave it to your imagination what I think of it. I hope you are ok.

A good place to start looking for builders in Europe would be the some of the links here. 

I think the biggest banjo-related event in France is the La Roche Bluegrass Festival, where a lot of small luthiers are, I believe, present. I must try to get there in 2019.

Oct 14, 2018 - 1:14:29 PM

266 posts since 6/4/2015

Hi Neil,

I am aware of the BHO no-politics rule, of course. But since Brexit is well underway to ruin the future of millions of people on both sides of the Channel, not mentioning it is not an option. To politics always a human aspect. The latter that interests me more. And, in essence, behind my question. Without wishing to pry, of course. Or to go "deep", for that matter.

In the meantime, I'm glad your double nationality is protecting you against the March 2019 upheaval approaching.

Veerstryngh Thynner

Edited by - Veerstryngh Thynner on 10/14/2018 13:22:26

Oct 14, 2018 - 1:45:45 PM
Players Union Member

Neil Allen

France

456 posts since 6/15/2014

I fully understand. Thanks. I hope things will be okay for you, too.

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