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Sep 20, 2019 - 3:46:05 AM
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3203 posts since 7/12/2006

Most of our legendary banjo players are gone now.,sad to say.Which makes me wonder what has happened to the main banjos they played. Are they collecting dust in some closet, or are they being played as i hope they are?.Wouldnt it be kool if these banjos were loaned out to some of the great players of today? to see Some modern player on stage with Earls or Dons or Ralphs or Dougs etc. banjo would kinda make it feel like theyre still around.Just a thought. And a wish.

Edited by - stanleytone on 09/20/2019 03:48:23

Sep 20, 2019 - 5:26:24 AM
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133 posts since 8/9/2005

I've played "Nellie" and "Banjer" both unbelievable and can be bought.

Sep 20, 2019 - 6:59 AM
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12179 posts since 10/30/2008

Earl's banjo is the Country Music Hall of Fame, I believe. His original Vega Scruggs model is in the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma.

Don Reno's banjo is in the good hands of his son Don Wayne, last I knew.

One of Ralph's Style 5s was in the Country Music Hall of Fame (I saw it there) during Ralph's life, and I believe the other went to James Alan Shelton. Where it went after James died, I don't know.

Doug Dillard's, I have no idea.

Steve Martin is playing John Hartford's pre-war RB 18 top tension. I vaguely think Allison Brown bought John's Deering Hartford model? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Jim Mills has Snuffy Jenkins' RB 4.

Ola Belle Reed's old RB 3 is in the good hands of a BHO member.

I believe there are those who are "in the know" about where most all of the "famous" banjos are now. They know MUCH more than I do, of course! The general public doesn't know, but there are those who do.

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:03:37 AM
Players Union Member

frailin

USA

6684 posts since 10/26/2005

George Gruhn (Gruhn Guitars in Nashville) has Uncle Dave Macon's Gibson and at least one of Stringbean's. There are more, too.

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:20:32 AM
Players Union Member

KCJones

USA

488 posts since 8/30/2012

Ricky Skaggs '86 Stelling Sunflower was owned by Russ Carson and was sold right here on BHO a couple years ago. Not sure who bought it.

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:45:16 AM

R Buck

USA

2677 posts since 9/5/2006

Bobby Patterson of Galax had J.E. Mainer's Vega, I played it after a recording session when he showed to Wayne Henderson and me. It was in rough shape, I wonder what happened to it when Bobby died.

Sep 20, 2019 - 8:22:42 AM

2683 posts since 5/29/2011

Not that Sonny Osborne is dead, but isn't the banjo played by Aaron McDaris the one that Sonny played for some years?

Sep 20, 2019 - 8:25:20 AM

31 posts since 10/22/2012

Rudy Lyle played a Gibson wreath flathead, and Jim Smoak had an old Gibson 5-string.
Where those banjos are is another mystery. A music store in Burlington, N.C. has one of
J.D.'s original prewar RB-75's, which I believe is for sale. From the same store, J.D. obtained
the flathead Granada, No. 9584-1, one of the 3 Kings --- 9584-2 and 9584-3 of Sonny Osborne
and Earl Scruggs.

Sep 20, 2019 - 8:29:46 AM
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5242 posts since 10/13/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Not that Sonny Osborne is dead, but isn't the banjo played by Aaron McDaris the one that Sonny played for some years?


That is the rocky top banjo I believe.

Sep 20, 2019 - 8:30:28 AM

5242 posts since 10/13/2007

quote:
Originally posted by redwing46

Rudy Lyle played a Gibson wreath flathead, and Jim Smoak had an old Gibson 5-string.
Where those banjos are is another mystery. A music store in Burlington, N.C. has one of
J.D.'s original prewar RB-75's, which I believe is for sale. From the same store, J.D. obtained
the flathead Granada, No. 9584-1, one of the 3 Kings --- 9584-2 and 9584-3 of Sonny Osborne
and Earl Scruggs.


Jim Smoak is in southern Indiana and still teaches banjo there.

Sep 20, 2019 - 12:28:40 PM

carlb

USA

2005 posts since 12/16/2007

I think Wade Ward's banjo is on display at the courthouse in Independence, VA.

Sep 20, 2019 - 12:52:05 PM
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1072 posts since 7/12/2004

How about Don Stover's checkerboard 6 archtop?

Sep 20, 2019 - 1:16:40 PM

1829 posts since 1/16/2010

I had been wondering where Earl’s Vega had disappeared to over the years. Wasn’t until it surfaced for auction at Gruhn’s that the mystery was solved. Sitting in a case at Earl’s house in the attic or closet for 40+ years! Wish I was a millionaire, I’d a paid the 20K in an instant! :)

Sep 20, 2019 - 3:16:49 PM

12179 posts since 10/30/2008

Stover's Style 6 was crushed by an airline. Stover told me that himself. Gone.

Sep 20, 2019 - 3:19:35 PM

12179 posts since 10/30/2008

Regarding Rudy Lyle's banjo, I remember someone telling me back in the 1970s that the neck and pot got separated -- never found out why, and Bill Emerson had the neck. Never found out any more than that. Seemed odd to me at the time.

I was pleased to learn a year or so ago that Bill Evans is playing the Granada once owned by our sadly departed BHO buddy Jim Rollins. Not an original 5 string, but a mighty banjo. Bill was playing it at Banjo Camp.

Sep 20, 2019 - 3:21:47 PM
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1301 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by From Greylock to Bean Blossom
quote:
Originally posted by redwing46

Rudy Lyle played a Gibson wreath flathead, and Jim Smoak had an old Gibson 5-string.
Where those banjos are is another mystery. A music store in Burlington, N.C. has one of
J.D.'s original prewar RB-75's, which I believe is for sale. From the same store, J.D. obtained
the flathead Granada, No. 9584-1, one of the 3 Kings --- 9584-2 and 9584-3 of Sonny Osborne
and Earl Scruggs.


Jim Smoak is in southern Indiana and still teaches banjo there.

 


Jim's banjo was a prewar original RB-4  9474-3.  Chris Warner bought it in 1968, played it with Jimmy Martin, had a new neck made for it by Randy Wood, and sold it to Larry Smith in the early seventies.  Larry sold it shortly before he died a number of years ago without telling us who bought it.  He searched for the original neck for years without ever finding it.

The Rudy Lyle banjo, as I recall, was severely damaged (inside rim ply chopped out) and ultimately parted out by Tom and Ross Morgan.  I remember someone was trying to gather up all the original parts to restore it, don't know the outcome.

Edited by - Oldtwanger on 09/20/2019 15:25:36

Sep 20, 2019 - 3:32:15 PM

1301 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Oldtwanger
quote:
Originally posted by From Greylock to Bean Blossom
quote:
Originally posted by redwing46

Rudy Lyle played a Gibson wreath flathead, and Jim Smoak had an old Gibson 5-string.
Where those banjos are is another mystery. A music store in Burlington, N.C. has one of
J.D.'s original prewar RB-75's, which I believe is for sale. From the same store, J.D. obtained
the flathead Granada, No. 9584-1, one of the 3 Kings --- 9584-2 and 9584-3 of Sonny Osborne
and Earl Scruggs.


Jim Smoak is in southern Indiana and still teaches banjo there.

 


Jim's banjo was a prewar original RB-4  9474-3.  Chris Warner bought it in 1968, played it with Jimmy Martin, had a new neck made for it by Randy Wood, and sold it to Larry Smith in the early seventies.  Larry sold it shortly before he died a number of years ago without telling us who bought it.  He searched for the original neck for years without ever finding it.

The Rudy Lyle banjo, as I recall, was severely damaged (inside rim ply chopped out) and ultimately parted out by Tom and Ross Morgan. When Tom had it I remember him calling me to assist in acquiring a TB-2 that we knew of to use the rim and flange for a transplant and restoration, but we could not get it.  Somewhere in there Emerson got the neck.   I remember someone later was trying to gather up all the original parts to restore it, don't know the outcome.


Sep 20, 2019 - 5:45:15 PM

1072 posts since 7/12/2004

I was playing in a jam at Bean Blossom in 1979 and someone handed me a banjo. They said it was the one Rudy Lyle used to record "Rawhide". I didn't know whether to take them seriously or not, but I wasn't going to let go of it without playing Rawhide. I never did figure out if that was actually the banjo or not, but you could answer the question if you know when the banjo was parted out.

Why would someone chop the inside ply out of any banjo rim? Did they need kindling?

Sep 20, 2019 - 6:27:13 PM
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2558 posts since 11/15/2003

Why would somebody chop the inside ply out?
Why would Bill Monroe out of spite, break the Gibson name chunk out of his mandolin?

Musicians be Crazy!

warp!

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:26:56 PM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

447 posts since 4/17/2019

John McEuen visited Earl Scruggs to find his Granada in pieces on the front porch, he was using a small hatchet to whittle away at the bottom of the rim. He knew what to look for. I think all resonators at the time had straight sides, and slanted sides came later.

He was cutting a nice 45 at the bottom of the rim to create more sound, to let the music out. , then he put the gold plated Granada back together.

Bill Monroe had other problems and tried to use politics to keep Flatt and Scruggs off the Grand Ole Opry. Not a pro thang to do.

This has been a great thread, I learned a lot. Musicians are not crazy, we are hungry.

Sep 20, 2019 - 8:41:33 PM

5242 posts since 10/13/2007

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Regarding Rudy Lyle's banjo, I remember someone telling me back in the 1970s that the neck and pot got separated -- never found out why, and Bill Emerson had the neck. Never found out any more than that. Seemed odd to me at the time.

I was pleased to learn a year or so ago that Bill Evans is playing the Granada once owned by our sadly departed BHO buddy Jim Rollins. Not an original 5 string, but a mighty banjo. Bill was playing it at Banjo Camp.


Wasn't that the Reverend Odell banjo? A great sounding one.

ken

Sep 21, 2019 - 4:58:45 AM

GStump

USA

278 posts since 9/12/2006

That granada, now owned by Bill Evans, is NOT the reverend O'dell. That banjo is, unless i'm very mistaken, an original RB 75 that is fairly strange, although it can be argued that any configuration for a late 75 is not necessarily strange. You can view pics of it and much of the story and history about that banjo on greg earnest's website, and it is listed in the list of style 75's as the Reverend O'dell, (again, if i'm not mistaken) it is one tremendous banjo.

Sep 21, 2019 - 5:25:08 AM

1072 posts since 7/12/2004

The Reverend Odell is a very late prewar original RB75. Jim Rollins had more than one prewar flathead.

Monroe defaced his mandolin out of spite, as the post said, and there's a logic in angling the bottom of the rim as Earl did (although any prewar Mastertone resonator should have had sloped sides - only the low end banjos used straight sides).

I'm trying to figure out the logic of removing a ply from the rim, and why someone would have thought it would improve the sound.

Sep 21, 2019 - 6:45:38 PM

2558 posts since 11/15/2003

I find it odd that earl would have been hacking on his rim with a hatchet, especially since things went so bad with the bow tie neck after he used a wood rasp on it!

Warp!

Sep 21, 2019 - 8:14:16 PM

1072 posts since 7/12/2004

I believe he used the wood rasp on the original Granada neck. I could be wrong about that, though.

It would be interesting if his Granada had a straight sided resonator. All the Mastertones I've seen from that era had wedge shaped cross section in the sides. My style 3 and 6 both have sloped sides, but my old 11 did not. I'm pretty sure all their post-war banjos had straight sided resonator walls - is it possible that Gibson replaced Earl's resonator during one of its trips back to the factory? Does anyone know whether that banjo's resonator currently has straight or sloped sides?

If Gibson took in Earl's banjo with a sloped side resonator and returned it with straight sides, I could imagine him trying to compensate for the loss by opening up the space between the rim wall and resonator back. He could have done the same thing with spacers on the wall lugs, but that would have increased the volume of the air chamber too, and changed the sound.

If it had happened to Monroe, he probably would have just chipped out the name on the headstock.

Sep 22, 2019 - 12:47:18 AM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

447 posts since 4/17/2019

Very cool,sloped sides it is. the bottom of the rim is a flat right angle, right? That's what Earl was doing, make a bevel there instead of a flat surface. I found I had to offer flat, beveled and 1/4" round and innovated the use of Fresnel ledges inside the rim to make 3 chambers like an amphitheater.

An archtop decreases the area of the sound chamber to make it project and a little snappy.

So removing one lamination (?) would increase the size of the sound chamber.

But putting Fresnel ledges on the sloped sides is the next step, there's enough wood there, they're only 1/8" ledges, but they work, they move sound without other doodads.

Bill Monroe  got mad at his record company. Oh crap. Flatt and Scruggs went and got themselves a sponsor, good and professional business practice.

Earl wasn't wealthy yet, he had worked with his hands in the mill. Hatchet whittlin' is kind of a skill.

Edited by - Helix1 on 09/22/2019 00:48:44

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