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Oct 6, 2019 - 1:23:32 PM
26 posts since 7/20/2019

youtube.com/watch?v=Q8cOfE9sLh8

Looking for some insight. What's the make of the banjo Alison is playing in this recording? The tone is exactly what I'm searching for.

Oct 6, 2019 - 1:55:55 PM

1312 posts since 10/13/2004

STELLING.........

Oct 6, 2019 - 1:57:51 PM

1283 posts since 4/13/2009

It is a Deering John Hartford model, with a lot of audio magic applied, as well as Alison's right hand.

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:00 PM
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JohnTN

USA

118 posts since 8/8/2012

That appears to be a Prucha, the Spirit Alison Brown Signature Model.

http://en.pruchabanjos.cz/banjo.php?banjo=spirit-alison-brown-signature-model

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:07:41 PM
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Emiel

Austria

9273 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by JohnTN

That appears to be a Prucha, the Spirit Alison Brown Signature Model.

http://en.pruchabanjos.cz/banjo.php?banjo=spirit-alison-brown-signature-model

 


Yes, it's the Prucha…

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:09:10 PM

695 posts since 11/27/2005

Different flange, maybe?

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:18:56 PM

1283 posts since 4/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by deestexas

It is a Deering John Hartford model, with a lot of audio magic applied, as well as Alison's right hand.


Oops... it is a Prucha

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:39:40 PM

Hawk54

Australia

770 posts since 2/9/2007

It is a prucha

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:41:55 PM

306 posts since 11/17/2015

Looks like a Stelling to me......

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:48:25 PM

banjoy

USA

8648 posts since 7/1/2006

Alison used to play Nechvilles, now she plays Pruchas. She switched over, I think, about 5 years ago or so.

The banjo in the video is a Prucha. Here's a better pic of her with it:

http://compassrecords.com/artist/alison-brown/

They're sweet banjos.

Edited by - banjoy on 10/06/2019 14:49:11

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:48:49 PM

641 posts since 8/26/2009
Online Now

I bet it is a genuine previously unknown pre war sounding something . . . with floor sweep parts.

Just kidding.

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:55:23 PM

Alex Z

USA

3672 posts since 12/7/2006

Prucha, Alison Brown model, as mentioned.

Where you all been the last several years?  smiley

Prucha name on the peg head, 2-piece flange, Prucha designed holes in the flange.

Prucha and Stelling are two makers who designed the flange holes to copy the peghead outline.

Oct 6, 2019 - 2:56:18 PM

Emiel

Austria

9273 posts since 1/22/2003

Yes, the flange is different from the Prucha production model pictured on the Prucha website. The fretboard inlays are the same however, so is the extended fretboard. Also the tailpiece is different (Kershner in the video, two-hump clamshell on the Prucha website).

Should be a two-piece flange mahogany flathead banjo…

Edited by - Emiel on 10/06/2019 14:59:07

Oct 6, 2019 - 3:07:38 PM
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205 posts since 7/28/2019

Alison used to play Nechvilles, now she plays Pruchas.

Oct 6, 2019 - 5:38:45 PM

26 posts since 7/20/2019

Do any of you know if there's anything particularly special about Prucha?
I was originally leaning towards Stelling but the sound the Prucha is giving out sounds so clear.

Oct 6, 2019 - 6:38:01 PM

1184 posts since 7/14/2004

She also played a Robin Smith for a number of years before rolling out the Prucha.


 

Edited by - Sheenjack on 10/06/2019 18:40:17

Oct 6, 2019 - 7:11:33 PM

1184 posts since 7/14/2004

.


 

Oct 7, 2019 - 2:45:24 AM
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1532 posts since 4/10/2005

[[[Do any of you know if there's anything particularly special about Prucha?]]]

Yes, they are special, but in the same sense as Stellings are special----Pruchas are one of the finest small-shop makes out there, and like Stellings but differently from Stellings, they have their own unique take on tone and feel. Mr. Prucha actually apprenticed with the Stelling shop years ago, but took what he learned and put his own stamp on his banjos. He does a line that is supposedly Gibson Prewar-esque, but to the ear of many, those banjos still have a characteristic "Prucha" sound, no less than his premium line of "Prucha" models that are not modeled on Mastertones, such as the Diamond Point, the Bat, the Professional, etc.

It's just a matter of whether that characteristic sound is what floats your boat. There are millions of samples on youtube, as well as on the Prucha site.   Alison Brown played Stelling Staghorn for years.  I think it may have been prior to the current era of the Tony Pass thinskirt rims. 

Later she played a mahogany Prucha Diamond Point for some years, and then a few years ago Prucha created the "Alison Brown Spirit model." No idea whether this differs from the other Prucha models in any respect but cosmetics. (BTW I think even more recently than the Prucha AB Spirit, Deering created a fancy-schmancy Alison Brown model. Don't know if she is playing that lately or what.)

Here is master player Bill Evans demo-ing and rhapsodizing about his mahogany Prucha Diamond Point model:

youtube.com/watch?v=-oPeAtOADiY&t=456s

Edited by - ceemonster on 10/07/2019 02:48:33

Oct 7, 2019 - 4:58:20 AM

banjoy

USA

8648 posts since 7/1/2006

What ceemonster said.

Also, Prucha is one of the few makers which forges its own metal components, and are of very high quality for sure, such that Prucha metal parts (flanges, hoops, tonerings, tailpieces...) are available and can be found on other maker's banjos.

I owned a few Stellings in my days and what always impressed me is the exceptional fit-and-finish of those banjos, which in my opinion remains the among the best. I met Jaraslav Prucha in early 2010 and picked several of his banjos, at the time when my Nechville was on order being built. Prucha tried to talk me into cancelling that order and buying one of his instead. The fit-and-finish on his banjos, I believe, top Stellings, which is saying a lot. His banjos are a work of love, and a work of art IMHO. I kind of wish now I had gone with a Prucha instead. Pruchas are very sweet banjos, beautiful to look at and play like butter, and sound great.

I may be mis-remembering here, but as I understand, the plating on Prucha metal parts is much thicker/heavier than can be found on most other maker's parts, due to the fact they're made in Czechoslovakia which does not have as strict safety regulations for these things (regarding smelting, fumes, etc). I hope I remembered that correctly (if not, then, well, never mind :).

Edited by - banjoy on 10/07/2019 05:08:10

Oct 7, 2019 - 5:08:27 AM

Emiel

Austria

9273 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by ceemonster

[[[Do any of you know if there's anything particularly special about Prucha?]]]

 

No idea whether this differs from the other Prucha models in any respect but cosmetics. 


Like I said before, it's a two-piece flange banjo with a extended fretboard. Prucha banjos are normally one-piece flange banjos.

Oct 8, 2019 - 6:49:59 PM

893 posts since 12/8/2006

How about the extended fingerboard?

Oct 8, 2019 - 6:56:07 PM

4030 posts since 6/15/2005

Stelling and Prucha have adjacent booths at IBMA every year.

Oct 8, 2019 - 10:10:18 PM

14853 posts since 2/7/2003

Stelling metal prts are made by Prucha, have been for a long time

Scott

Oct 14, 2019 - 10:55:43 PM
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stanger

USA

7235 posts since 9/29/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Mike Rowe

Different flange, maybe?


The Alison model Spirit has a tube & plate flange. It was Prucha's idea after Alison requested some tone differences for the Spirit that were not the same as her earlier Diamond Point model Prucha. That was the banjo she used for a very long time in performance.

You can see her Diamond Point in this video, an older one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEKcRF4iab8

Alison does own a custom John Hartford model Deering. I think it's called Annabelle; the neck has inlays that were taken from some of Hartford's drawings. John was an excellent artist who made his living doing commercial art before he became a full-time musician.

regards,

stanger

Edited by - stanger on 10/14/2019 22:56:54

Oct 14, 2019 - 11:12:40 PM
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stanger

USA

7235 posts since 9/29/2004

quote:
Originally posted by arnie fleischer

Stelling and Prucha have adjacent booths at IBMA every year.


Yup. They're old friends. Geoff mentored Prucha a lot in the American ways of banjo building.

While their banjos look and sound much different, the Pruchas show a lot of Stelling influence in lots of details on some of his models.

Since Prucha is a major parts supplier, and as they all do, builds his banjos to meet the market, some of his Stelling influence is now seen on parts he doesn't use as standard on some of his models. He's building a lot of Gibson replicas these days, more than in the past. So most of them have parts that are similar (or exactly) like the ones used on Gibsons.

Ironically, he supplied lots of his parts to Gibson too, when they were still making banjos. Back then, all the Pruchas looked much different and used different parts than the Gibsons.

His original cast pot metal flange was one, and I've always thought it was superior to the Gibson flange in durability. I think it also adds to Prucha's unique tone, too. Once Gibson got out of the banjo biz, though, Prucha decided to invest in his own casting tools, which are very expensive, and stopped using his own flange on his banjos. There was too much investment to stock both, and he chose the one that was the best known and most popular.

His Diamond Point has always been my fave model. I own 2, one just like Alison's, and one that's an open-backed version with a curly  cherry neck. I like the Spirits, but I still prefer the D.P.

regards,

stanger

Oct 14, 2019 - 11:26:12 PM
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stanger

USA

7235 posts since 9/29/2004

quote:
Originally posted by JGraffrath

Do any of you know if there's anything particularly special about Prucha?
I was originally leaning towards Stelling but the sound the Prucha is giving out sounds so clear.


The 'special' is pretty subtle. Prucha is a good player, and has always been a machinist; his father was one, so Jarda grew up learning the trade.

Part of that was learning the tonal qualities of all the different bronze mixtures that foundries use. When he designed his own tone ring, he specified one particular alloy he thought was superior to the others. Then, over the years, he steadily refined all the finally milling work that's done on the tone rings after they're cast. He won't say exactly what he did or what the alloy is, but together, they give his banjos the bottom end of a good Gibson that has a lot more clarity and sustain on the top end than a Mastertone.

He also trims the outside of his rims different to fit his flanges. The flange placement on the rim is different from a Mastertone. And, for a long time, his flanges were a lot different.

His woods all come from Slovakian forests, which also makes a difference. The maple grows in country that gets very litte rain but almost perpetual fog. The trees get high moisture, but are very slow growing, and the fog protects them from freezing, so they grow at a higher altitude than all other maples grow.

A third thing he does is tune the inside of his solid-wood backed resonators. They are carved inside and out, much like good mandolins. These resos are called the Massif, and they're only offered as stock on a few of his banjos, but they're a popular build option.

So in most respects, his banjos are pretty similar to a good Mastertone, but a lot of small details differ, and it all adds up.

regards,

stanger

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