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Russ and Pearl Miller - Early SoCal Bluegrass Scene

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Dec 29, 2021 - 5:00:11 PM
4229 posts since 12/3/2008

I came to know Russ and Pearl Miller when I took bluegrass banjo lessons at their shop in El Monte, CA in 1963. My teacher was an English gal named Patty Hill. I practiced like crazy. After 6 months, I showed up to my lesson, only to be informed that Patty had gone. I still wonder where her musical path took her?

Russ and Pearl asked me to be the new banjo teacher. I said, "But I'm still learning." They said, "That's okay, you just keep learning and teach others what you already know."

I taught at Russ and Pearl Miller's until I graduated high school the next year when I shipped off to college. I'll always be deeply grateful to them for providing me with a refuge and sanctuary: to be involved with their humble-but-significant corner of the emerging Southern California early '60s bluegrass scene.


Did any of you know Russ and Pearl Miller? Even if you did not, I think you may be interested in reading the article and finding out some of the interesting folks who did. Thanks to the Hangout member who shared this rare article with me. I hope it will be passed on.
 


Jan 4, 2022 - 12:13:51 PM

2851 posts since 4/5/2006

Roy Walters introduced me to Russ & Pearl Miller back in the late 60's. Roy was looking for someone to make a nice neck for his Aria banjo. At the time, I was totally clueless of the L.A. Bluegrass scene. Thanks for posting all that information on the Miller's.

Jan 6, 2022 - 7:05:41 PM

4229 posts since 12/3/2008

quote:
Originally posted by monstertone

Roy Walters introduced me to Russ & Pearl Miller back in the late 60's. Roy was looking for someone to make a nice neck for his Aria banjo. At the time, I was totally clueless of the L.A. Bluegrass scene. Thanks for posting all that information on the Miller's.


Did you go to his shop and showroom. Humble as that old shack was, he sure could pull some special gems out of that back room. Sounds like you were there several years after I had flown the coup. What were your impressions?

Jan 7, 2022 - 3:18:26 PM

2851 posts since 4/5/2006

We weren't there long enough for me to ask any questions, & too ignorant to form an opinion. Back then, I had an SS Stewart banjo, & other than appearance, I didn't know jack $**t  about banjo construction. I wish we had stayed longer & got to see some of the stuff you speak of. Roy was off to get another quote from Tom Norwood. The only thing I remember Roy saying about Russ & Pearl was he had heard Pearl did all the inlay work. Roy ended up having Tom Norwood make a rosewood H&F neck for the Aria.

I banged away on that Stewart banjo for a couple years, before discovering the differences between it & a Mastertone banjo. 

Edited by - monstertone on 01/07/2022 15:23:20

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