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May 21, 2024 - 3:54:55 PM
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3 posts since 4/1/2024

Perhapd this is the wrong forum, but it seemed like the most appropriate one. I have the opportunity to participate in a trek of 20 miles over the course of 3 days across a prairie trail. The purpose is to reenact the settlers journey across the Oregon trail, and I was wondering if it would be a bad idea to bring my banjo along. I have a case for it, and I planned on building a wooden skeleton crate around it, but I'm concerned about the exposure to heat. Would it survive?

Edited by - Distracted on 05/21/2024 15:56:51

May 21, 2024 - 4:02:48 PM
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2308 posts since 4/18/2006

If you have $270 to spend you could get an open back Gold Tone composite banjo that would be perfect for the purpose of exposing to the elements. I've played a few of them and they play great. I wouldn't risk my main banjo in heat like that.

May 21, 2024 - 4:13:23 PM
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KCJones

USA

3060 posts since 8/30/2012

What time of the year? More specifically, what temp ranges? What are your specific concerns?

Banjos aren't glued together like guitars or fiddles or mandolins. They're a bit tougher than your typical lute. They do move with temp/humidity changes but nothing that can't be adjusted back and aside from extreme situations nothing that could actually cause damage.

Adjustments might be needed to maintain setup but most people worry themselves entirely too much about normal environmental variation 'damaging' their banjo. Unless you're leaving it in the blazing sun all day or submerging it in water, you're probably fine.

May 21, 2024 - 4:28:04 PM
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blazo

USA

473 posts since 5/16/2017

No disrespect intended but I find this post at odds with itself. You want to "re-enact the settlers journey" yet you are concerned about protecting your banjo from the travails of your travels. Doesn't seem to be much of a re-enactment if you are able to carry along a cushioned banjo. Just throw it in the back of the wagon and hope for the best :)

May 21, 2024 - 4:28:40 PM
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Owen

Canada

15162 posts since 6/5/2011

I'm no expert, but have heard that temperatures fit for banjo owners/pickers are fit for banjos.

May 21, 2024 - 4:29:09 PM
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3 posts since 4/1/2024

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

What time of the year? More specifically, what temp ranges? What are your specific concerns?

Banjos aren't glued together like guitars or fiddles or mandolins. They're a bit tougher than your typical lute. They do move with temp/humidity changes but nothing that can't be adjusted back and aside from extreme situations nothing that could actually cause damage.

Adjustments might be needed to maintain setup but most people worry themselves entirely too much about normal environmental variation 'damaging' their banjo. Unless you're leaving it in the blazing sun all day or submerging it in water, you're probably fine.


Well, to some extent it would. The case would be sitting in the back of an most likely uncovered handcart for 3 days in a row. It would be mid-June temperature in the Utah-Wyoming region

May 21, 2024 - 4:37:11 PM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

2369 posts since 8/9/2019

I just took a 1928 style 3 on a 2000 km drive from the VT/QC border to northern mainland Labrador and back
Which included about 400km off road courtesy of my old Toyota pickup.

I absolutely LOVED having the banjo with me/us. But I'd never do it again with a 100 year old Mastertone.
I want a Kay bottlecap for that next time.

May 21, 2024 - 4:40:10 PM
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240 posts since 12/27/2019

Sounds like a unique life experience -- just do it. You'll be happy you made the effort with the banjo, whatever happens, and well worth the journey of discovery.

May 21, 2024 - 4:55:41 PM

1212 posts since 2/2/2008

I think you should make up a hack banjo from a fence post and what ever you can find, tack a head on there and hit the trail??

May 21, 2024 - 5:04:06 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

2369 posts since 8/9/2019

In any case (zing!) A proper protective instrument case (i.e. flight case) will more than pay for itself on such an excursion.... granted even with backpack straps it will be a burden to haul

May 21, 2024 - 5:09:08 PM

133 posts since 8/14/2018

FWIW…. I have Sullivan v35 that has been tent camping in the summer heat… to the beach… on vacation…suffered a headstock crack when my then 5 year old son decided to play air guitar with it… relentlessly tinkered with over the years…

It’s been beat to hell — but it wears its scars proudly, still sounds great, holds a tune great and plays great!

That’s not to say I don’t have instruments that I baby… but these banjos are more resilient than you may think in my experience!

May 21, 2024 - 5:27:27 PM

3352 posts since 3/30/2008

What kind of transportation are you using ?

May 21, 2024 - 5:58:48 PM
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15254 posts since 6/2/2008

I bought an aluminum pot Rover RB35 to take on a schooner cruise in October '22. Turns out one of my bluegrass parts banjos would have been safe. But I did appreciate the considerably lighter weight and the compactness of a gig bag.

In the case of the trek, I might make the same decision: good banjo would probably be fine, but a lesser instrument would be lighter and adequate.

May 21, 2024 - 6:54:48 PM
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KCJones

USA

3060 posts since 8/30/2012

A fun solution would be to find an old sears catalogue banjo and bring that. That would fit reasonably within the reenactment context.

May 21, 2024 - 6:55:50 PM
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kat eyz

USA

1177 posts since 10/1/2003

If you "go for it" i would take a white sheet if your case is dark colored to cover it from direct sunlight. I would think this would help quit a bit ... i dont wear black shirts in the summer for the same reason

May 21, 2024 - 10:14:40 PM
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banjo roo

Australia

232 posts since 5/12/2010

Be careful about black cases. Black cases get HOT in the sun. I spray painted my case beige for that reason.




Edited by - banjo roo on 05/21/2024 22:17:31

May 22, 2024 - 2:55:47 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

531 posts since 3/24/2020

If I remember correctly Bart Rieter saying that you can take your banjo anywhere you would take your dog.

May 22, 2024 - 4:33:29 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30200 posts since 8/3/2003

I live in hot, dry West Texas and I've had my Stelling out in all sorts of weather. It gets 100 plus here in the summer and the only problem I've ever had is if I don't allow enough time for the banjo to acclimate after taking it out of a cool place and into the sun. If you do it too quickly, the strings may object and you'll have to retune. Other than that, I've never had a problem with playing the banjo in extremely hot weather.

May 22, 2024 - 5:24:20 AM

62129 posts since 12/14/2005

How important is it to appear "authentic"?
I would dare to guess that the people who did the original handcart trek to Utah didn't have expensive banjos.

You COULD cobble up a playable banjo out of a wooden salad bowl, with a tacked-on rawhide head.
OR a head made from a 2 liter beverage bottle, painted to LOOK like rawhide.


May 22, 2024 - 6:12:52 AM

Fracker

USA

43 posts since 1/12/2024

What banjo are you taking? If it were me, I would just take my banjo in a hard case and have fun with it, not give it a second thought. What's the worst that could happen? But then, I consider my banjo replaceable if the absolute worst case occurs, it gets run over by a wagon wheel or falls in a camp fire. In all likelihood it will weather the trip just fine. But if you don't feel that way, if you are going to spend the whole trip worrying about your banjo, maybe leave it home and enjoy what you're doing. It will be patiently waiting when you get back.

Edited by - Fracker on 05/22/2024 06:17:11

May 22, 2024 - 7:02:27 AM

3056 posts since 2/12/2005

There were many pianos discarded along the oregon trail. I hope your survival does not come into play.

May 22, 2024 - 7:09:05 AM
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Bart Veerman

Canada

5721 posts since 1/5/2005

People who go to, and camp at, bluegrass festivals don't have any problems with their instruments so you should be just fine.

May 22, 2024 - 7:19:52 AM
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171 posts since 2/7/2017

https://oceanwide-expeditions.com/blog/leonard-hussey-s-banjo-brain-food

The Endurance had been trapped in pack ice for 10 months when Sir Ernest Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship on 27 October 1915. He allowed each member of the Imperial TransAntarctic Expedition to bring 2lbs of personal gear with them as they set up camp on the floe—all except meteorologist, Leonard Hussey.

While Shackleton’s orders were to leave behind everything that was not vital to survival, he knew the effect that music would have on their morale, and instructed Hussey to also save his 12lb Windsor zither-banjo.

Edited by - OldTymeBanjo on 05/22/2024 07:20:40

May 22, 2024 - 10:19:55 PM
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John Yerxa

Australia

91 posts since 9/13/2021

Many a banjo has survived longer, tougher journeys ----

poetryfoundation.org/poems/467...the-banjo

May 23, 2024 - 6:43:19 AM

794 posts since 11/9/2021

My band plays a lot of festivals in the course of a year, some of them camping is the only form of lodging. So at night, when everyone finally goes to bed, all instruments are packed into the cars. Barring accidents, that is when most instruments that are made from wood are going to experience the worst of daily conditions, as temps drop at night and dew forms on exposed objects. For me, thats when its time to stop playing and jamming and time to put the axes to sleep.

So, unless your talking about backpacking like 10 miles into the woods, just put the banjo in your car overnight. If you really are backpacking, me, I would either get a cheap, plastic type banjo, or just bite the bullet and start playing occarina or piccolo !

May 23, 2024 - 7:29:57 AM

3056 posts since 2/12/2005

quote:
Originally posted by wrench13

or just bite the bullet and start playing occarina or piccolo !


Oh!  That's gotta sting.

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