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how long did you wait for THAT banjo

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Oct 11, 2019 - 4:14:23 AM
4638 posts since 9/5/2006

just wondered how long some of you waited to get that one banjo that you lusted for or knew about and hoped it would come up for sale....
me i waited about 10 years.

Oct 11, 2019 - 4:31:11 AM

m06

England

7980 posts since 10/5/2006

I was about 10 years too. Can't say it was a wait for a specific banjo though. In 10 years we can play a lot of banjos if we're friendly, polite and put our mind to it! Looking back I think it took me that much playing time to really know what banjo would be right for me. In that sense it was a gradual acquiring of the relevant knowledge and understanding.

Having said that I did have a good playable banjo from the start. I'm learning to play a new instrument now (18 months in) and the first thing I did was make sure I had a good playable instrument to learn on.

Edited by - m06 on 10/11/2019 04:33:40

Oct 11, 2019 - 4:47:54 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23348 posts since 8/3/2003

I started picking banjo way back in the '70s but put it up to raise my family. Got back into it in the early 90s and didn't get the banjo of my dreams until 2000, so you could say I waited 30 years or 8 or 9 if you consider I quit picking and came back.

Oct 11, 2019 - 4:53:06 AM
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32 posts since 12/3/2017

I’m still waiting, but it should be here sometime today. I ordered a custom VRB-G from Mr. Huber in April & it was placed on the truck & out for delivery 20 minutes ago. Sitting here waiting anxiously.
Anticipation!

Oct 11, 2019 - 6:34:22 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

7503 posts since 6/30/2015

Might still be waiting, but the ones I have are all close, if not it. The one I'm building, if I ever finish, will be the one I've waited for the longest, 67 years and counting.

Oct 11, 2019 - 6:45:39 AM
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333 posts since 5/30/2016
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Good luck PJ with the new Huber. I’m sure you are excited. Heck,I’m excited for you. Please let us know how it sounds.

Oct 11, 2019 - 6:58:49 AM

carlb

USA

2016 posts since 12/16/2007

I had a friend who had both a Whyte Ladie and a Bacon Professional. I decided I wanted a Bacon Professional and spent four years until I found one that I was satisfied with (I did pass up on one that didn't quite have the sound that I was attracted to). I still play it after buying it from the Pittsburgh Music Emporium back in 1979, though recently I did have a 5-string neck built for another, a Bacon Professional tenor which had a broken neck (Thank you Bill Talley) and often play often play this one too.

Oct 11, 2019 - 7:38:21 AM

Paul R

Canada

11713 posts since 1/28/2010

About 41 years. I had an early Jake Neufeld open-back and stupidly traded it for a resonator banjo not long after I bought it. Then I needed an open-back and bought an Orpheum (circa 1913). Neufelds were only available for a short time and essentially unavailable. On 1 March of this year I saw one at the Twelfth Fret. After back-and-forth e-mails I traded the Orpheum for the Neufeld on 27 March. I could never get the Orpheum to sound the way I wanted it. The clincher was the last time I took it to a jam and it sounded awful (in fact, I'd been using the resonator banjo for clawhammer at jams - it sounded much better than the Orpheum).

Oct 11, 2019 - 8:09:09 AM
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32 posts since 12/3/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Cox

Good luck PJ with the new Huber. I’m sure you are excited. Heck,I’m excited for you. Please let us know how it sounds.


I took delivery of my lifetime banjo an hour ago. Looks beautiful & sounds even more beautiful. 
Thanks to Steve Huber, his dad & the crew for doing such a good job on her!

Oct 11, 2019 - 10:52:27 AM
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32 posts since 12/3/2017

Photos of my lifetime banjo that just arrived earlier today. I’m not sure if these photos will post, and I apologize for pushing them on ya’ll.


Oct 11, 2019 - 12:06:13 PM
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910 posts since 12/2/2013

My current RB4 is THAT banjo. It isn't the first RB4 I've had (that was one owned by Sammy Shelor I bought from Zepp 20 years ago and later sold), but this one is like a shelter dog, perhaps misused, misunderstood and neglected but now restored to health/beauty courtesy of Clancy Mullins.




Oct 11, 2019 - 12:56:56 PM
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3323 posts since 4/27/2004

Although I now have the banjo that I thought was the coolest of the ones made by Gibson, my story is about a mandolin!

Over 30 years ago now, I was in the market for a decent F-style mandolin. Brand really didn't matter. This was before the days of Ebay and Marketplace on Facebook. All we had then was a weekly trading magazine. About this same time, I had a friend who was also looking for a mandolin.......but just something inexpensive to learn on. He asked me to keep my eyes out for one. When I got the current weeks' trade magazine, in it was an ad for a mandolin with case. The price was $400. There was no description of what kind or anything. Because of the price, I believed that it was probably an A-style beginners mandolin, so I gave the add to my friend. Long story short, he drove to the sellers house (who wound up being Alan Bibey's dad!) and bought the mandolin. When he brings it back, the darned thing was an F-style Gibson copy with a Wayne Henderson tweed square hardshell case!!!! I couldn't believe it!! And the mandolin sounded great!! I immediately fell in love with it!! But, hard as I tried, my friend refused to sell me that mandolin!! I even offered him a considerable profit......to no avail!! Fast forward 30 years and out of the blue my friend contacts me, asking if I was still interested in the mandolin (I didn't even know he still had it!). So after all these years, I finally own the mandolin of my dreams! And she still plays and sounds like a dream! Good things come to those that wait!!

Oct 11, 2019 - 1:30:32 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22413 posts since 6/25/2005

I sought an openback that spoke to me. No particular one, though I knew it had to have a tone ring and be an 11” shell. I found it in 1969, about 8 years after I started playing and 3 or so after I knew what I wanted.

Oct 11, 2019 - 4:22:23 PM
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388 posts since 7/20/2013

As soon after "Tom Dooley" as I could I badgered my parents into buying me a banjo. It was a Sears Silvertone 5-string. I played it for 2-3 years, knowing fairly soon that I needed a better quality instrument. But they cost a lot of money! I started saving, (It was only about $500 on the West Coast for a Vega Long Neck Like Dave Guard's; it was THAT banjo and I was saving for it!) But one day I saw a brand new Ode long neck in a music store for just about the amount I had already saved toward the Vega ... +- $100. I'd keep saving for the Vega, sure, but play the hell out of the Ode. I slowly found there was nothing the Ode couldn't accomplish. The tone was amazing, the volume was more than any other instrument I encountered. I played the Ode for years, always promising myself that "eventually I'll buy the Vega long neck Pete Seeger model of my dreams". Over time I also got to play really professional Vega long necks: Charley Oyama's, Alex Hassilev's, Tad Diltz's, and others. My Ode was always near so I could compare the sound, the feel, etc. The Ode never disappointed me; it matched the Vegas in everything I tried to play. Even after I had a bank account balance large enough to plunk down cash for a new Vega PS, somehow circumstances just never drew me to purchase one. I still had a subconscious hankering for a Vega peg head (THAT banjo!), but never pulled the trigger. As I moved into clawhammer and BG, I was enamored of Gibsons, but I was savvy enough to acquire custom banjos from small makers or put together my own banjos from parts I'd acquire; and I bought various Gibsons when I could 'steal' them. Eventually my original Ode LN died in a tragic accident, but I was now repairing and trading in many different banjos and guitars so I just played whatever came along. The most versatile banjo I used was a Gibson RB175; it could handle Folk, Bluegrass and Clawhammer perfectly adequately and I played it for a long time as my fall-back/go-to banjo. Occasionally I'd run across a good deal on a Vega long neck, and I imagined myself on an album cover with the long neck, looking like a low-rent Dave Guard. I still had that old hankering for a Vega LN, but never made a purchase.

Two years ago I ran across an unbeatable deal on a long neck Ode to replace the one I had used for so many years. It is one of the original 100 or so long necks Chuck Ogsbury produced in his first batch of long necks (it's number 54). As soon as I began playing it I realized that it was all the banjo I'm ever gonna need. It sounds as good or better than I remember my original Ode sounding. I also have a parts banjo that plays rings around most instruments as well. Currently I could trade one of my banjos and maybe a little cash for a Vega PS, there are a couple of nice ones on eBay and here on BHO classifieds. But I think I'll just pass ... wink

 

Edited by - darwinyarwin on 10/11/2019 16:27:37

Oct 11, 2019 - 6:19:36 PM

Owen

Canada

4196 posts since 6/5/2011

From the other end of the spectrum...

I was working on a fly-in reserve when I started with a pawn shop bottlecap I had picked up during Easter break.  I soon found that I was unable to contort my fingers to fret cleanly [even tried using my right hand to "place" my left fingers so they wouldn't choke adjacent strings].   I decided I needed a "wide neck," and the first one I came across was the Gold Tone BG-250FW, so I had a daughter in Winnipeg order one for me and it was waiting when I got there when the school year ended in June.   

However, the GT sounded so different from the bottlecap I wondered if maybe I'd purchased a dud.  We were off to Edmonton, so I took the GT to Myhre's Music to have it "checked out."  The dude I asked strummed it, did a couple of rolls/licks (?), handed it back with "It sounds like a banjo to me."  He paused, and then went on to say that it was a pretty good banjo, and that I would likely "never have to upgrade."

And he was bang on... I've got 'way more banjo than I'll ever need/use...unless I take a severe knock on the noggin and wake up with a heretofore unknown skill.

That's the long-winded answer. The short answer is  "Easter to June...about 3 months."

Edited by - Owen on 10/11/2019 18:26:22

Oct 11, 2019 - 7:15:12 PM

chuckv97

Canada

44042 posts since 10/5/2013
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About 45 years. Never had a top quality banjo, a few god Japanese models in the ‘70’s. Got back to banjo after a 26+ year absence , bought a Style C ODE , which I like,, then an RK77 Elite,, but always wanted at piece of an old Gibson, so I finally sprung for a 1929/30 TB-1 conversion. I love it.

Oct 11, 2019 - 10:40:40 PM

352 posts since 2/5/2014

I actually owned “the” banjo, but didn’t value it enough so I sold it. It was an older Deering Sierra that has crisp clear tones.
I have purchased 4 other banjos, trying to replicate that sound. I do own an open back Sierra now, and figure it will do for now.

Oct 12, 2019 - 12:41:06 AM
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rcc56

USA

2296 posts since 2/20/2016

I waited 25 years.  I didn't know that it was "that" banjo until after I got it.

I bought my first banjo, a new Harmony Res-O-Tone, in 1975. Got the Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs books and started banging away. The frailing and up-picking took, but I never got very good with 3 finger. I sold the Harmony a couple of years later for reasons I'll not repeat here.

I was without a banjo for a couple of years until the pedal steel player from my first steadily working band sold me an old nameless open-back for $75. That was in 1980.  It was my only banjo for 20 years.

In 2000, while Norman Blake and I were mixing down "Flower From the Fields of Alabama," we were looking for a Gibson F-4 mandolin for Norman. There was a 10 page newsprint Vintage Guitar classified ads magazine in the studio, and while we were taking turns at the board, I spotted an ad for a Man in the Moon Cole's Eclipse for $800 at Bernie Lehmann's store. When I called, Bernie told me that the Cole was sold, but he had a Bacon ff Professional for the same money. At that time, the only thing I knew about a Bacon Pro was that it had a thing called an internal resonator, and that a young guy named Bart Reiter liked the design so well that he had built a few banjos on that pattern. After thinking about it for about 20 minutes, I called Bernie back, sent him a check, and asked him to put the Bacon in a box and ship it to me. I didn't know what to expect.

When the banjo arrived the next week, I unpacked it, tuned it up, and all of this deep, clear, crisp tone came out of the instrument. It fit me perfectly, and was all the banjo I will ever need. Later, I learned that it was a plain model made by Fairbanks/Vega, and that they only made a few hundred of them.

Since then, I have acquired a couple of fancier instruments that I will probably sell somewhere down the road. But the Bacon Pro #1 is my hands-down favorite, and will stay with me. So will the $75 open-back that I have now owned longer than any other instrument, and has just come back to me after semi-permanent loan to my all-time favorite student.

Edited by - rcc56 on 10/12/2019 00:51:31

Oct 12, 2019 - 6:17:03 AM
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3219 posts since 7/12/2006

to my utter astonishment, this Frank Neat 40th Anniversary Stanleytone banjo was laid in my lab in 1994 after only two years of playing. I had no idea I was getting it. A friend and fellow church member ordered one for himself ans brought it over for me to see. He wanted me to play it but being left handed i couldnt do anything with it. But he wanted me to try it anyway and he laid it in my lap.It took about 5 seconds for me to realize it was left handed. I was totally speechless. He was was.smiling like a cheshire cat.


Oct 12, 2019 - 7:50:33 AM

rcc56

USA

2296 posts since 2/20/2016

Sometimes, "that" instrument finds you, instead of the other way around.

Oct 12, 2019 - 7:59:31 AM
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910 posts since 12/2/2013

Hi Bob, and sometimes you "find" the instrument but it takes time for the love to develop (which may involve some money, work and understanding).

Oct 12, 2019 - 11:41:38 AM

102 posts since 8/25/2009

In August of 1960, my apartment-mate asked to borrow $5 until payday. After ascertaining that payday was that Friday, I advanced him "the flying five" and, just to make conversation asked him what he needed it for. I expected to hear a tale of a late night poker game, but instead he told me that there was a barber shop two blocks away in Back Bay, Boston, that had a "rummage sale in the back room". There was a banjo there, and the serial number on the rim matched that on the neck (actually the dowel), so he thought it was genuine. What he brought back was an 1893 Fairbanks Electric model 2 (which, much later, Jim Bollman characterized as " it doesn't sound like much, but at that time it was the highest grade under a presentation banjo". At the time neither of us knew what he had, but it called to me. When Tom repaid the loan I suggested that, since I hadn't charged him any vigorish, if he ever wanted to sell it he should give me first refusal.

Tom put a new head on it, and it needed a bridge and a tailpiece, but everything else was there. Five years later he offered it to me for $200, with a good hard case, and I didn't haggle. The only problem was that I was on a long-term assignment in Germany, and I didn't want to transport two banjos back to the U.S.A., so I asked him to keep it for me until I got back stateside in a year. Well, that year turned into three, until I dragged myself (kicking and screaming) onto the plane, so I ended up waiting eight years.

Oct 12, 2019 - 1:01:59 PM
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21 posts since 7/15/2013

I posted this thread earlier this year asking about Greg Liszt's custom 24 fret banjo that I had lusted after since 2014.
banjohangout.org/archive/353169


Ironically after nobody replied to the thread it was posted for sale by Greg this past week.

banjohangout.org/classified/77721

So I guess I waited 5 years without knowing it. Now it is mine and will be unless tragedy befalls me.

Edited by - Le_Marteau on 10/12/2019 13:02:19

Oct 12, 2019 - 5:12:23 PM

USAF PJ

USA

160 posts since 9/19/2014

Hey all,
But how soon after you got THAT banjo, did you want to get, THAT banjo?

Oct 12, 2019 - 11:54:24 PM
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4638 posts since 9/5/2006

great stories guys and gals,,,i had heard THAT banjo about 10 years before i got my hands on it and didn't realize at the time it was THAT banjo. i got a call form a friend of mine who runs a music store in greensboro and he said ,, i have a banjo you may be interested in.
so i goes down there and he opens the case ,,, i looked at it and thought ,,, i know this banjo,,, well i picked it for about 5 minutes and thought ,,,i gotta have it. about that time craig smith walked in from giving a lesson and grinned,,, i said will you pick this thing so i can hear what its supposed to sound like.... he was glad to do it. as he was playing it ,,like craig can play ,, i walked around the store listening to it at different distances and angles ...... it just got better and better. i went back into the banjo room and craig said ,,you better buy this thing.
so after a couple of weeks of offer/counter offer we came to a price. i have never regretted it ,, knowing its much more banjo the i will ever be a banjo player.

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 10/12/2019 23:54:59

Oct 13, 2019 - 8:38:10 PM

157 posts since 4/17/2011

This is such a great story, congratulations on your new banjo!

quote:
Originally posted by Le_Marteau

I posted this thread earlier this year asking about Greg Liszt's custom 24 fret banjo that I had lusted after since 2014.
banjohangout.org/archive/353169


Ironically after nobody replied to the thread it was posted for sale by Greg this past week.

banjohangout.org/classified/77721

So I guess I waited 5 years without knowing it. Now it is mine and will be unless tragedy befalls me.


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