The 9th annual Banjo special was its excellent self last night. Messrs Taheny (x2), Quinn, Coole and Naiman – aided by a cast quite literally numbering more than three – were on fine form.
Got to meet a few BanjoHangout folks too – including Hugh (the maker of my banjo) and Loren, for whom Hugh had made “The Banjo of Death“. Loren’s got this thing about skulls, and this banjo has them aplenty.
This show was after a screening of the film â€œBound to Loseâ€ which is a GREAT documentary about The Holy Modal Rounders. â€œThe End of the World Banjo Bandâ€ is a current project by Peter Stampfel of The Holy Modal Rounders. It’s an all banjo band featuring Peter Stampfel, John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers), Jeannie Scofield, Walker Shepard and Down Home Radioâ€™s own Eli Smith. Faced with the end of the world, seemingly the only option is actually to create an all-banjo-band. The band has 5-string banjos, banjo-mandolin, and 6-string banjo-guitar.
Got the Harmony back from Bruce Dowd last night – wow! The work he did on it was amazing, and the price very reasonable. The sound is beautiful – plunky and warm – and the Aquila nylon strings are stiff enough to make it easy to play.
I had difficulty keeping Nichol away from it last night. Looks like he’s got the nylon-strung bug too.
No Uncle Dave Macon here, but some minor banjo repairs.
My Gold Tone BC-350 (which I still like, despite all my friends playing Rickards) has a “hot-dog” armrest, a piece of bent steel that always seemed to be in the wrong place. Ken Perlman noted its incorrectness at the past Midwest Banjo Camp, so I took it off shortly afterwards.
But the banjo never quite seemed right without the armrest, so tonight I shifted it down a set of brackets. This isn’t quite trivial; the rest sits on two special shoes, so you have to completely remove the pair of adjacent shoes and swap them. After that you have to get the armrest level and the head tension right. But it sounds good, is comfortable to play now both sitting and standing. So what if it doesn’t quite sit straight in the instrument stand?
I nearly fainted at the guitar store; they had a Vega Folklore long neck banjo on consignmentÂ â€” eep! After playing it a bit, I asked how much they wanted for it. Seems that the seller thinks it’s the Pete Seeger model, and is asking about what I can get a new Vega Woodsongs for. No thank you!
I just got a Jump Lead from Troubadour in the UK. It was designed as a clip-on tuning pickup, but it can work really well as a general acoustic pickup if you put it on the right place on the instrument.
I discovered that if you clip it to a Fielding-Cutler Mute on the bridge, the sound is great: warm, mellow, very little acoustic feedback, but lots of chunky overtones. I like it!