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Nov 28, 2022 - 6:59:36 AM
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37 posts since 4/3/2020

Does anyone know the origin of Doug Dillard's Bella Voce + Flying Eagle neck inlay?

I saw in a video his resonator has an original Bella Voce engraving/painting.

Is this an original neck from Gibson or just a random aftermarket build?

Are there more of these?




Nov 28, 2022 - 9:03:44 AM
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1680 posts since 4/13/2009

According to Doug's information in Masters of the 5-String Banjo, he had a 20's Gibson Bella Voce 40-hole archtop pot and a neck made by Tom Hewitt in 1963.

Nov 28, 2022 - 9:10:05 AM

37 posts since 4/3/2020

Do you know if the Bella Voce and Flying eagle combo was something Gibson designed?

Nov 28, 2022 - 9:10:06 AM
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bill t

USA

309 posts since 12/14/2012

I'm slightly uncertain about this but I think he found that banjo in Oklahoma
when the Dillards were headed for California. He chose the inlay pattern for
the neck and peghead because those patterns were ones he liked.

Nov 28, 2022 - 9:16:51 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

2038 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by davedude

Do you know if the Bella Voce and Flying eagle combo was something Gibson designed?


FE and BV are both Gibson designs. Gibson sometimes used leftover or otherwise strange peghead/fingerboard inlay combos in the pre war period. 

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 11/28/2022 09:17:46

Nov 28, 2022 - 9:56:26 AM
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Jbo1

USA

1212 posts since 5/19/2007

I don't know about in the 1960s, but in the 70s it wasn't uncommon to "upgrade" your custom neck with the "Bella Voce" pattern, either the pegged, fretboard, or both. Historic accuracy often gave way to individuality. Quite like what bill t noted above.

Nov 28, 2022 - 10:39:53 AM
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Players Union Member

Foote

USA

635 posts since 3/25/2009

Bill t has the origin story right too. On their way out to LA, Doug found the banjo in a pawn shop in Oklahoma and bought it. I grew up in So. CA watching the Dillards and heard more than a few Doug stories over the years, usually involving some form of substance abuse. My favorite about the banjo was when it was "stolen" and was missing for several years. The story is that Doug and the band went to play a club in the San Fernando Valley that they hadn't played in a few years. When Doug showed up, the owner said he wondered when he was coming back for his banjo, which Doug had left after the last job and forgot about it!

Nov 28, 2022 - 11:45:45 AM
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37 posts since 4/3/2020

Wow!!

Nov 30, 2022 - 5:21:22 PM
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1411 posts since 11/29/2004

I was of the impression that the 5 string neck was built by Chuck Erickson, The Duke of Pearl, .... I may be wrong, but that is what I remember.

Dec 1, 2022 - 9:07:31 AM
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1499 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by DHutchens

I was of the impression that the 5 string neck was built by Chuck Erickson, The Duke of Pearl, .... I may be wrong, but that is what I remember.


Hi Doug
From a 2016 post by the Duke:

Duke of Pearl - Posted - 06/25/2016:  10:56:41
I did instrument work for Doug and actually made another Bella Voce neck for a close friend of his (Chip Hatlelid aka Chip Douglas, in HI), but not Doug's.  His was made in 1963 by Tom Hewitt (2 years before I opened Erika Banjos in Van Nuys, CA).  

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