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On The Road Makin' Banjo Mutes For Fire Season

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Aug 12, 2022 - 7:12:02 PM
210 posts since 8/12/2019

Hi folks! Fire season is here, which for me means that soon I might have to get real mobile real quick... Luckily I have a small business that I can pack up with in this tiny case, and (hopefully) make a few bucks with anywhere that there’s a post office and some internet. I just wanted to share a little of my bug out vehicle (this trusty dusty and slightly rusty 1991 Ford Bantam 7.3IDI pictured below) and my bug out business, which is hand-making the Dapper Dampener banjo mute.

I invented my (now patented!!! :D ) Dapper Dampener gizmo last year specifically so I would have a little work and income while away from home during fire season—whether because of mandatory evacuation or much needed for relief from the smoke. It’s become a yearly pattern that I thought would be wise to prepare for.

A couple years back I was on the coast trying to get a break from the smoke when the Alameda fire started in my town of Ashland, ultimately destroying 2,600 homes and almost completely leveling the neighboring towns of Talent and Pheonix, Oregon. Luckily I wasn’t there—I was out on the coast in my bus trying to escape the already-hazardous smoke at that time, but found myself suddenly with no way to return home and no way to make money—so I decided I needed a backup plan for the following years, just in case. I needed something mobile and practical, and hopefully not too far from my more usual gig of doing instrument repair and restoration at my shop.

That (and because I thought it’d be cool) was the whole reason I invented the Dapper Dampener. It’s a compact, mobile, fun way to make a keep occupied when times get tough and I’m away from my home community for a while. This would have been the first year I could really try to make that happen, but as fate would have it I think it’ll be the last as well (in a good way!). It looks like Gold Tone might be producing a universal, one-size-fits-all model that I helped designed (*straightens tie*), so in a pretty short time a lot of my current stock components are going to be basically obsolete.

As exciting as that is, I’d really love to make a push to sell off as much of my current stock as possible before the universal product hits the market and effectively puts me out of business. (I still want to do custom leather work in a wide range of patterns so that I can keep serving the banjo community—I love working with players from all over the country and the world and I’d be very sad to lose that connection, but nothing is set in stone yet.)

Because of that prospect there’s likely only a limited window left to get the original Dapper Dampener design, handcrafted right here in the States. I lowered my prices here on my BHO listing ($37 for all backing materials—which is pretty much rock bottom for me!) and also on Etsy and Ebay if you’d prefer to go that route. It’ll help me monetize the little bit of stock components that I have left, and also help me prepare for the worst as we get into the depth of fire season. Here's a link >>>

(It’s actually been a relatively tame year here so far but that could change on a dime, so I’d like to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.) Any purchases would really help, and I’ll be happy to unload some of my stock. BUT if you’d rather wait for the universal model from Gold Tone (!) they should be coming around shortly and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed you held off!

But also, please, buy my stupid thing. It’s actually really cool! And I could use the gas money.

Anyhow, thanks for reading and thanks for all your support thus far and going forward! I’m very excited and proud to serve the banjo community.

All the best.

(Pictured: My trusted steed both inside and out... (Excpet I don't trust it at all--in fact I'm constantly suspicious of it... and it's a steer not a steed...)
My trusted personal assistant Gabriel The Dog.
Also my cosmetic case that I carry the whole Dampener business in, in case of evacuation.
Also a picture of the valley I'm in right now--this is not bad at all. It already smells like a campfire. indecision
Also some promo pics for my little doodad! That's Abigail Washburn! I could die happy.)

Edited by - thefoxden on 08/12/2022 19:16:32

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