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Dec 7, 2021 - 9:28:22 AM
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1113 posts since 11/26/2012

For a variety of reasons, I'm a big fan of buying used rather than new instruments. I recently purchased a new-for-me Deering banjo that was made in the year 2000. I had an interesting conversation with the seller about why he was selling it and how and why he came to own the banjo. Long story short, this banjo was made in California, bought by a man from Nashville, who later sold it to the guy I bought it from, who is from Florida, and now I own in up here Washington State. Not all that interesting, I guess, but that banjo sure did get around!

This got me to thinking that it would be very cool if there was a note-card left in the banjo case of every banjo where a comment or two could be logged by the previous owners. I've purchased two banjos in the past that included letters from the previous owners explaining the history of the banjo, but never a complete record of ownership. Maybe something like that isn't of interest to others, but when I play a used instrument, I like to think about who has owned it in the past, what kind of music it played and where it's been.

I own a beautiful old fiddle that was made in Germany right before WW2. It's nothing special, if you know the history of that region, literally millions of them were made. I know nothing about this fiddle other than that I bought it from a violin shop. But the story must be amazing. How did it get here to the US. Who played it (from the condition of it, lots of people, apparently). I wish I knew the story.

Anyway that's all, just musing...anybody have great stories about the history of their banjos?

Dec 7, 2021 - 9:51:13 AM
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banjopaolo

Italy

1518 posts since 11/6/2008

I own this Tb3 from the late 20s, a bluegrass player here in Italy bought it from Bernunzio, it was going ti be converted to 5stting by my friend Silvio Ferretti , the original presto tailpiece had been holed for the fifth string, then the guy decided ti sell it so I got it and kept it as a tenor...
Great instrument, completely original, I only changed the tailpiece to a Kershner of the same period...

I don’t know who played it before me....

In all most 100 years it must be played by many musician I guess....


Dec 7, 2021 - 10:14:34 AM

127 posts since 11/9/2021

That would be a cool idea! I have an old fiddle from 1887 (and I know that because the fingerboard came off a long time ago and it was dated 1887 on the underside of it) from the Tyrolean area (aka Transylvania), with a nice inlay on the back. I got it from the violin repair person for the Mid-Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1975, Mr John Toth. He used to go to Europe every few years to buy violins, so he kinda knew where it was from, but that's the extent of it.

My RM Anderson openback is #0032 and I'm awaiting an email from him on when it was made and hopefully who he sold it to. Just a shade away from unplayed ( very slight fret wear on the second fret), I bought it from the Music Emporium, maybe there is only the 3 of us involved in its history.

Dec 7, 2021 - 10:45:46 AM

129 posts since 10/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by wrench13

That would be a cool idea! I have an old fiddle from 1887 (and I know that because the fingerboard came off a long time ago and it was dated 1887 on the underside of it) from the Tyrolean area (aka Transylvania), with a nice inlay on the back. I got it from the violin repair person for the Mid-Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1975, Mr John Toth. He used to go to Europe every few years to buy violins, so he kinda knew where it was from, but that's the extent of it.

My RM Anderson openback is #0032 and I'm awaiting an email from him on when it was made and hopefully who he sold it to. Just a shade away from unplayed ( very slight fret wear on the second fret), I bought it from the Music Emporium, maybe there is only the 3 of us involved in its history.


Tyrol is in  Austria and northern Italy.  Transylvania is in Romania.

Dec 7, 2021 - 10:59:14 AM

129 posts since 10/3/2012

I love the idea here, and plan on putting an 3x5 index card in my banjo cases.

Dec 7, 2021 - 11:04:03 AM

2386 posts since 9/25/2006

I can’t wait to hear the stories

Dec 7, 2021 - 12:08:45 PM

doryman

USA

1113 posts since 11/26/2012

Maybe we could carve our names on the inside of the resonators. I don't what the OT players would do though!

Dec 7, 2021 - 1:04:02 PM
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127 posts since 11/9/2021

quote:
Originally posted by saw_woods
quote:
Originally posted by wrench13

That would be a cool idea! I have an old fiddle from 1887 (and I know that because the fingerboard came off a long time ago and it was dated 1887 on the underside of it) from the Tyrolean area (aka Transylvania), with a nice inlay on the back. I got it from the violin repair person for the Mid-Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1975, Mr John Toth. He used to go to Europe every few years to buy violins, so he kinda knew where it was from, but that's the extent of it.

My RM Anderson openback is #0032 and I'm awaiting an email from him on when it was made and hopefully who he sold it to. Just a shade away from unplayed ( very slight fret wear on the second fret), I bought it from the Music Emporium, maybe there is only the 3 of us involved in its history.


Tyrol is in  Austria and northern Italy.  Transylvania is in Romania.


Jogerfy was never my strong suit. wink

Dec 7, 2021 - 1:28:42 PM
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4875 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

Excuse me, but this is gonna tale awhile.

"Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait..."

Dec 7, 2021 - 1:47:57 PM
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doryman

USA

1113 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by wrench13
quote:
Originally posted by saw_woods
quote:
Originally posted by wrench13

That would be a cool idea! I have an old fiddle from 1887 (and I know that because the fingerboard came off a long time ago and it was dated 1887 on the underside of it) from the Tyrolean area (aka Transylvania), with a nice inlay on the back. I got it from the violin repair person for the Mid-Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1975, Mr John Toth. He used to go to Europe every few years to buy violins, so he kinda knew where it was from, but that's the extent of it.

My RM Anderson openback is #0032 and I'm awaiting an email from him on when it was made and hopefully who he sold it to. Just a shade away from unplayed ( very slight fret wear on the second fret), I bought it from the Music Emporium, maybe there is only the 3 of us involved in its history.


Tyrol is in  Austria and northern Italy.  Transylvania is in Romania.


Jogerfy was never my strong suit. wink


But it WOULD be cool if vampire once owned your banjo.

Dec 7, 2021 - 2:03:05 PM
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11 posts since 8/5/2021

I got my 5 from my uncle who bought it at byerly music in Peoria IL it was a repo originaly purchased by John tranthem in 54he played locally in Peoria on a local radio station it's the only one I ever had so I got to learn on a quality instrument it's a54 bowtie archtop

Dec 7, 2021 - 2:16:26 PM
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129 posts since 10/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

But it WOULD be cool if vampire once owned your banjo.


I once heard a rumor that Vlad the Impaler, would sit at the base of a pike, upon which one of his victims was still clinging to life.  The story goes that Vlad would practice "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" hour upon hour, until the poor unfortunate finally succumbed.  This is said to have greatly added to the victim's suffering.  ??

Dec 7, 2021 - 2:25:41 PM

129 posts since 10/3/2012

Back to the original topic.

My Stelling Sunflower was purchased from Mandolin Brothers in New York, by my insurance company, as a replacement for my 1979 Stelling Whitestar lost in the 2012 High Park Fire in Colorado. I had had the Whitestar for many years.

Dec 7, 2021 - 2:44:19 PM
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TN Time

USA

76 posts since 12/6/2021

Hi All! I am a new guy from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I have been lurking on the BHO for a while so I thought I should finally join. I have been playing the 5-string banjo off and on for 40 years or so. Anyway, my current banjo was made for me by Chris Sorenson of Companion Banjos. It has a maple wood tone ring, and it sounds great. I had a Fender Artist (1960's I think?) that I bought from a Guitar Center. It wasn't in the best of shape so I had a pro set it up. It looked and sounded great, but it was so heavy I could just barely handle the beast. I sold it to another guy in Tennessee and had Companion Banjos build a lighter weight banjo just for me. Not much of a story but I would like to know the history of the Artist. It is good to be here folks.
TN

Dec 7, 2021 - 2:51:55 PM
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4875 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by TN Time

Hi All! I am a new guy from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I have been lurking on the BHO for a while so I thought I should finally join. I have been playing the 5-string banjo off and on for 40 years or so. Anyway, my current banjo was made for me by Chris Sorenson of Companion Banjos. It has a maple wood tone ring, and it sounds great. I had a Fender Artist (1960's I think?) that I bought from a Guitar Center. It wasn't in the best of shape so I had a pro set it up. It looked and sounded great, but it was so heavy I could just barely handle the beast. I sold it to another guy in Tennessee and had Companion Banjos build a lighter weight banjo just for me. Not much of a story but I would like to know the history of the Artist. It is good to be here folks.
TN


Welcome TN Time

Hope you enjoy yourself here.

Dec 7, 2021 - 3:07:54 PM
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4875 posts since 5/9/2007
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I commissioned a build in 2010 from Jason Burns, Birmingham, AL.

It was his #17 and was/is damn near perfect.

Jason included a Journal to accompany the banjo on it's Life's Journey.






 

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 12/07/2021 15:12:03

Dec 7, 2021 - 4:26:41 PM
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doryman

USA

1113 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by mrphysics55

I commissioned a build in 2010 from Jason Burns, Birmingham, AL.

It was his #17 and was/is damn near perfect.

Jason included a Journal to accompany the banjo on it's Life's Journey.

 



That's excellent!  I'd write in that journal the times and dates of every festival or significant event I took that banjo to. You'll never regret doing that.  I've owned a cabin-cruiser type boat of one type or another for about 25 years.  About 10 years ago, I decided to keep a ships log.  Every trip I take,  I log where we went, who went with me, what we did, etc...  I'm up to Volume 3 now and those logs one of my treasured possessions and I kick myself for not starting earlier.  If I could go back in a time machine, the one thing I would tell my young self  (other than to marry the one I let get away) would be to keep a simply journal of all the adventures I've had over my lifetime. 

Dec 7, 2021 - 4:55:50 PM

4875 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

The one’s that got away …
: >(

Dec 7, 2021 - 5:00:21 PM

4875 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

Sadly doryman Burns #17 and it’s Journal got away.

Dec 7, 2021 - 7:32:04 PM
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121 posts since 5/8/2021

I found an old classified ad for my banjo from 2012 and contacted the seller out of curiosity. He seemed to remember it and thought it had been made for a "young up and coming" banjo player in Wisconsin probably around 2006.

Apparently between it selling in 2012 and me buying it in 2020, it sat in somebody's closet (no surprise) because it had no new marks or wear from the old pictures.

So it started life in Wisconsin, I bought it from a store in Milwaukee, I had it for my last year in Nebraska and now it's sitting beside my bassoon in Pennsylvania.

Dec 7, 2021 - 7:32:46 PM
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1115 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

For a variety of reasons, I'm a big fan of buying used rather than new instruments. I recently purchased a new-for-me Deering banjo that was made in the year 2000. I had an interesting conversation with the seller about why he was selling it and how and why he came to own the banjo. Long story short, this banjo was made in California, bought by a man from Nashville, who later sold it to the guy I bought it from, who is from Florida, and now I own in up here Washington State. Not all that interesting, I guess, but that banjo sure did get around!

This got me to thinking that it would be very cool if there was a note-card left in the banjo case of every banjo where a comment or two could be logged by the previous owners. I've purchased two banjos in the past that included letters from the previous owners explaining the history of the banjo, but never a complete record of ownership. Maybe something like that isn't of interest to others, but when I play a used instrument, I like to think about who has owned it in the past, what kind of music it played and where it's been.

I own a beautiful old fiddle that was made in Germany right before WW2. It's nothing special, if you know the history of that region, literally millions of them were made. I know nothing about this fiddle other than that I bought it from a violin shop. But the story must be amazing. How did it get here to the US. Who played it (from the condition of it, lots of people, apparently). I wish I knew the story.

Anyway that's all, just musing...anybody have great stories about the history of their banjos?


What an amazing idea. Love it

Dec 7, 2021 - 7:53:25 PM
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beegee

USA

22563 posts since 7/6/2005

My 28 Granada 40-hole came out of S. Florida. I got it in 1974. Traded a Fender Artist and a little cash. I have queried Joe Spann, but have not been able to find any information on it. I made the neck for it in 1975, using the TB neck as a pattern for inlays and profiles. I wish I could find out where it came from as new.

Dec 7, 2021 - 11:20:16 PM

doryman

USA

1113 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by struggle_bus

I found an old classified ad for my banjo from 2012 and contacted the seller out of curiosity. He seemed to remember it and thought it had been made for a "young up and coming" banjo player in Wisconsin probably around 2006.

Apparently between it selling in 2012 and me buying it in 2020, it sat in somebody's closet (no surprise) because it had no new marks or wear from the old pictures.

So it started life in Wisconsin, I bought it from a store in Milwaukee, I had it for my last year in Nebraska and now it's sitting beside my bassoon in Pennsylvania.


What percentage of banjos, do you think, have been left unplayed for more years than not?  The banjo I just bought, the one that inspired this thread, was purchased by the previous owner in 2012 and has only been played once or twice since then.  I bet there are a lot of banjos like that. 

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:39 AM
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1571 posts since 11/27/2005

My RB3 was played and owned by Ola Belle Reed and I acquired it from a close friend in 1982 and he bought it from Ola Belle in 1978 My RB75 was a rare situation. It was purchased new in 1937 by Ellbert Collins with his war bonds. Most southern banjo players never bought a new Gibson Mastertone. He was a local player in North Carolina and did not travel due to a fear of cars. His 84 year old son told me that when Snuffy Jenkins came to town he played the fiddle because daddy was a better banjer player. Cool history.

Joe

Dec 8, 2021 - 4:05:18 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15031 posts since 8/30/2006

My Monarch #003 was built in 2010 and hasn't gone anywhere.

But the wood is 150 yr old Chestnut from a barn in Ohio.

In that year several of us contributed to an ALL hangout Chestnut build with the rim by me, the rez and neck in Kentucky, the bridge from Xnavyguy in Austin, all Chestnut, and the sea turtle headstock inlay. All fun.






Edited by - Helix on 12/08/2021 04:08:53

Dec 8, 2021 - 10:11:50 AM

doryman

USA

1113 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by RB3WREATH

My RB75 was a rare situation. It was purchased new in 1937 by Ellbert Collins with his war bonds. Most southern banjo players never bought a new Gibson Mastertone. He was a local player in North Carolina and did not travel due to a fear of cars. His 84 year old son told me that when Snuffy Jenkins came to town he played the fiddle because daddy was a better banjer player. Cool history.

Joe


That is so cool.  Did you buy the banjo from Ellbert's son? 

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