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Jan 20, 2021 - 1:59:01 PM
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3959 posts since 5/12/2010

The video below records Dwight Diller playing a banjo I built about a year ago.

I liked the little banjo so well I was going to keep it for my own player until I was contacted about selling it a few days ago. Such is what motivates me to build another.

The woman who is wanting it lives out of state so I sent her a link to a video of the banjo being played on the day after it was first stung up.

I hadn't watched that video since the week following the trip to WV, so I watched it again so I could tell her at what point it was being played.

I had forgotten how good it sounded in the hands of a master, and what may interest some is in the video Diller demonstrates a little of his left hand technique which adds a lot of color to his music.

The whole video is worth a watching. It is somewhat a rarity in that Ralph Roberts is playing banjo while Diller mostly platys fiddle. Most know Ralph for fiddle, and Diller for banjo. Listen closely to Ralph on the banjo, he has wonderful rhythm, and a very light touch. Ralph was 90 years old at the time, and had only picked up learning the banjo a few years before.

The banjo I am talking about appears around 19:00.


Edited by - OldPappy on 01/20/2021 14:00:39

Jan 20, 2021 - 4:21:38 PM

259 posts since 10/16/2011

Went to one of Dwight's workshops and didn't know about his fiddling . Like how he plays . Nice banjo

Jan 21, 2021 - 5:30:27 AM

3959 posts since 5/12/2010

That visit to the Roberts was March of last year, and I really enjoy visiting Ralph and Charlie.

The banjo Ralph is playing is the 2nd banjo I built, it had been around a while and Diller gave it to Ralph because the shorter scale was easier for him to handle.

It was a fun visit, right around where Diller is playing the banjo I was talking about me and Charlie are in the background and she couldn't keep from talking. Matt Evans was recording and you can see me put my finger to my lips telling her they were recording and though you can't see it she grinned that big grin she has which I love to see.

Jan 21, 2021 - 9:36:14 AM
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3959 posts since 5/12/2010

Originally posted by Scott Barnbilly56

"Went to one of Dwight's workshops and didn't know about his fiddling . Like how he plays . Nice banjo"


Thanks for the compliment. 

Diller has been playing fiddle for at least 45 years, but has really taken off with it in the last few years after he started playing with Ralph Roberts.

Ralph is related to the Hammons and grew up listening to their music from Edn on down.

Burl, Sherman, and Maggie were youngsters while Ralph was a kid and they were near neighbors. Ralph may be the last living link to that legacy of music, and he certainly has that raw edge to his music that can make you sit up and take note. His bowing style differs from most modern fiddlers, and is worth paying a lot of attention to.  

I met Dwight at one of his banjo camps 10 or 12 years ago. At that camp his son Caleb was involved with the teaching.

Caleb is an outstanding "clawhammer" banjo player. In fact he is one of the best, if not the best, I ever have heard. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

That week was the first time I knowingly heard Dwight play a fiddle, but learned he played fiddle on the "Trouble on Spring Creek" recording he did with Darin Gentry. So, I had heard him play fiddle before, but just didn't realize it. 

When he and Caleb played some of these tunes together it was something like what we used to call brother or sister harmony.

They were in such perfect timing with each other both playing with that driving Diller RHYTHM, and they forever changed the way I  thought of some tunes as being  "simple". When they played the WV version of Liza Jane, which happened to be the first tune I ever tried to learn on banjo, I almost cried it had so much depth. I never thought of that as a "beginner tune" again.

Edited by - OldPappy on 01/21/2021 09:41:50

Jan 21, 2021 - 5:36:27 PM



478 posts since 8/13/2015

Thanks for posting that video. I watched it 2 times already.

Jan 22, 2021 - 2:29:02 PM

1746 posts since 4/10/2005
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Wonderful, and thank you so much for making this lovely recording available.

Here's hoping that all and one are keeping safe and healthy!

Jan 28, 2021 - 1:36:43 PM

3959 posts since 5/12/2010

The banjo Ralph Roberts is playing in the video is the 2nd banjo I built. I had built it for Diller years ago and he decided to pass it on to Ralph a while back because the shorter scale, like it is for a lot of us Old Farts, was easier for him to play, and also because that banjo has enough punch to be heard even with Ralph's very light touch.

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