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Your Favorite Banjo Maker

GUEST 12 Dec 13 - 03:11 PM
Old Grey Wolf 03 Sep 13 - 12:11 PM
Mooh 03 Sep 13 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,gillymor 03 Sep 13 - 09:58 AM
Stringsinger 03 Sep 13 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,IainG 03 Sep 13 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,gillymor 02 Sep 13 - 05:40 PM
Mark Ross 02 Sep 13 - 04:26 PM
Guy Wolff 02 Sep 13 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Bruce Baillie 02 Sep 13 - 01:36 PM
Guy Wolff 02 Sep 13 - 10:04 AM
Guy Wolff 25 Jun 12 - 09:53 AM
Desert Dancer 19 Feb 11 - 12:56 PM
Guy Wolff 19 Feb 11 - 09:43 AM
Banjovey 02 Nov 10 - 03:31 AM
Stringsinger 01 Nov 10 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Paul 01 Nov 10 - 05:44 PM
Charley Noble 19 Nov 09 - 08:11 PM
deadfrett 19 Nov 09 - 11:14 AM
The Sandman 18 Nov 09 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Felipa 18 Nov 09 - 02:39 PM
kendall 16 Nov 09 - 08:56 PM
Desert Dancer 16 Nov 09 - 08:45 PM
JedMarum 16 Nov 09 - 08:39 PM
Desert Dancer 16 Nov 09 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Songbob 16 Nov 09 - 04:41 PM
kendall 16 Nov 09 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Songbob 16 Nov 09 - 01:22 PM
kendall 16 Nov 09 - 05:46 AM
Desert Dancer 15 Nov 09 - 08:39 PM
Stringsinger 15 Nov 09 - 08:30 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Nov 09 - 01:23 PM
deadfrett 15 Nov 09 - 11:58 AM
Stringsinger 15 Nov 09 - 10:33 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 09 - 05:44 PM
Guy Wolff 19 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM
Guy Wolff 19 Oct 09 - 09:10 AM
Guy Wolff 07 Sep 09 - 09:14 AM
Fortunato 04 Feb 09 - 08:46 PM
olddude 03 Feb 09 - 08:33 PM
topical tom 03 Feb 09 - 12:00 PM
olddude 02 Feb 09 - 05:46 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 02 Feb 09 - 05:23 PM
Art Thieme 02 Feb 09 - 05:21 PM
topical tom 02 Feb 09 - 04:51 PM
Musket 02 Feb 09 - 01:04 PM
oombanjo 02 Feb 09 - 12:46 PM
Stringsinger 02 Feb 09 - 12:29 PM
oombanjo 02 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,Mason Brown 01 Feb 09 - 10:53 AM
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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 13 - 03:11 PM


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Old Grey Wolf
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 12:11 PM

My favourite banjo maker is my wife - she makes a very good egg banjo.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 11:14 AM

My favourite import brand is Gold Tone, enough to have bought a few. But I have very much enjoyed the Vegas I've tried, and a few Deerings also.

Banjo tone may be an acquired taste, at least if one takes all the jokes about the instrument seriously, but as with other instruments, once one is acclimated to the sound, it's easy to hear the differences from one banjo to another.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:58 AM

S.S.,This thread at Banjo Hangout may answer some of your questions.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:42 AM

I believe that the first banjo Pete Seeger had elongated (or did it himself) was an Orpheum.
Later switched to Vega Tuba-fone. Can anyone confirm or deny this for em?

The old banjo he had that said "People's Songs" on it was stolen.

His early banjo sounded so good that it made me want to play banjo.

The Pete Seeger style Vegas are very good, not the new ones but the old ones.

The best I can come up with so far with my pocketbook is my longneck Gibson 175 with a Kuresh tonering. It's loud but not as sweet as the Vegas.

The Vegas by Gruhn and others are overpriced.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,IainG
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 08:19 AM

I have a very nice 1922 Clifford Essex Imperial, and still have the original case too


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 05:40 PM

All though I've never played or seen one in 3D I hanker for a Jason Romero. Here he is with his wife, Pharis, doing Wild Bill Jones on one of his banjos.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 04:26 PM

I have played a Gibson archtop 1925 Mastertone for years, but just recently acquired a Gold Tone White Lady style Long Neck, which I absolutely love. Would love to have an original Pete Seeger Vega but they are somewhat pricey these days. George Gruhn is selling Erik Darlings Tubaphone, with John D'Angelico converted long neck, but that's 5 grand.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 03:47 PM

You know I love the Goldtone OT6 that I have and I have tried the Bob Carlin 350 and I love the wide neck .. Its a great banjo and none of the gold tones are to be scoffed at ... Waynes & Robyn have done so much to get a mid and lower priced banjo into the hands of so many .


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,Bruce Baillie
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 01:36 PM

Personally I 'd love to own a Jason Romero, a Kevin Enoch and a Bob Flesher! Afraid I can't afford even one of them at the moment. I'll just have to carry on making do with my 5 string Goldtone Cello Banjo and the Andrew Whale 5 string,they're both bloody good!


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 10:04 AM

An update . Thanks to Craig Frailing Evans for his hard work showing these and more makers .
http://www.northamericanbanjobuilders.com/



Chuck Lee
http://chuckleebanjos.com/

Greg Galbreath
http://www.buckeyebanjos.com/

jason Romero
http://www.romerobanjos.com/

Kevin Fore
http://www.roundpeakbanjos.com/

Richard Brown
http://www.roundpeakbanjos.com/

Bill Rickard
http://rickardbanjos.com/site/


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 09:53 AM

My original reason to start this thread was to celebrate the modern luthiers making banjos today . So Craig Evens has driven around North America and met and interviewed many of them . Here is a link to his Youtube page for previews ..

http://www.youtube.com/user/BanjoBuilders

http://www.youtube.com/user/BanjoBuilders

All the best , Guy

I am having Kevin Fore make me a fretless or the type Kyle Creek made years back .. Life has its joys !!


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 12:56 PM

The clicky that I posted above (16 Nov 09 - 08:45 PM) is not good any more, frailin.com operates differently now. To hear sound samples of how different types of banjos sound -- "The Banjo Voice Continuum" -- go to http://www.frailin.com/, select "Banjo Buying Advice" and scroll down. He's got lots about current makers below that, too.

~Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 09:43 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3RwnO1657w


Here is a link to a clip I did on Youtube of two great hand made banjos after the tradition of James Ashborn of Torrington CT circa 1845 made by David Oaks here in Woodbury ct this year . All the best , Guy


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Banjovey
Date: 02 Nov 10 - 03:31 AM

I don't think anyone has mentioned Barry Murphy from Sussex. He makes fine banjos, Martin Simpson is reported to love the one Barry made for him recently.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Nov 10 - 05:51 PM

I like the early Vegas, PS long necks.
I like Orpheums a great deal.
The old trap-door Gibsons that Buell Kazee used for Appalachian style.
Ome for all the jazz banjo styles and even the long necks are good.

I thought I would like the Lee banjos but I find 'em a little on the cold side but
many would not agree with that.

Mastertones are OK but not my favorite because I don't play bluegrass.

I like a banjo that has a ring to it that sounds good under singing.

Some of the plunkier old time banjos kinda' lose me.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 01 Nov 10 - 05:44 PM

Peter Ainsworth of Rugby made my banjo,a finer bluegrass sound would be hard to find,just need to learn to play it!


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 08:11 PM

Then there's the flip-side, the banjos you wish you had never bought:

1. the plastic silvertone from Sears
2. anything made by Gretsch (they took over from Baldwin, a reputable banjo maker)
3. weird banjos from Japan in the 1970's (they may be making better ones now)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: deadfrett
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 11:14 AM

Back in the "80's", I had a open back banjo made by a luthier from Colorado. His name was Paul King. I've looked for him all over the Internet and still no luck. His work was very good and he made excellent banjos. Can anyone out there help me locate him? Thanks.Dave


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 04:07 PM

yes they are good value for money,I have one,now my playing is not very y good,but here is what they sound like
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xssNhhNCvNk


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Subject: RE: Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,Felipa
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 02:39 PM

not my favourite but what I have, English make, Grafton
My first banjo, acquired this year
any opinions re Grafton banjos?


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: kendall
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:56 PM

One banjo is quite enough. What I have is a Fairbanks/ Vega #2 special. It has no tone ring.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:45 PM

In surfing about for answers to Songbob's question, I found this page which has some nice audio clips for comparing different types of banjos: scroll down to The Banjo Voice Continuum.

~ B in LB


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: JedMarum
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:39 PM

Arnie's already mentioned this guy above, but I have to say I am just in love with Chuck Lee banjos.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:38 PM

Songbob, according to the history here, "The Whyte Laydie and Tubaphone lines were Fairbanks/Vega's finest professional quality banjos, each offered in a relatively plain (No. 2 and No. 3, respectively) and very ornate (No. 7 and No. 9, respectively) model."

Currently, Deering is calling their Vega Tubaphone model the Vega #2.

From what I can find (like this, and this, and this), Vega didn't just do Fairbanks's banjos for a while, they bought them out for a token price. They carried the Fairbanks name for a while.

So, does Kendall really have two Whyte Laydies? Or what??

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:41 PM

Thanks. Wasn't that a Tube-a-Phone model? As I recall, and it's been 30 years since I paid attention to this, the #2 was the Tube-a-Phone, and the #9 was the Whyte Laydie, among the fancy models. The "Little Wonder" was the plain Jane of their models.

Then again, if I was smart, I'd go searching on the Internet and l'arn somethin'. That is, if I was smart.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: kendall
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 02:48 PM

Fairbanks made by Vega number 2 special.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:22 PM

"If I had to rate them from my own experience I'd say,
1. Vega whyte layde for clawhammer
2. Vega Fairbanks
3. Stewart."

Number 2 -- Which model Vega Fairbanks? Fairbanks and Vega were a few doors apart in boston around 1900, and when Fairbanks had a fire, they had their banjos made for a few years by Vega, as I understand. Then, Vega having gained some "street cred," they dropped the Fairbanks name altogether. So they made all the models Fairbanks had at the time -- the "Special Electric" was the closest to the Vega Whyte Laydie, for example -- but "Faibanks by Vega" covered the lesser models, too.

That aside, my favorite banjo makers come by era:

Minstrel era -- most any of them, though my main Minstrel banjo is a pretty good reproduction of an 1854 Boucher (as pictured here), although with a fiberskin head and Champion pegs.

Old-time & Clawhammer -- I loved my Vega Tube-a-phone with a neck made by Alberto Vazquez, but eventually sold it because I had a "family" banjo, and couldn't keep both (lack of funds does that, at times). I still play the family banjo, which started life as a B&D Silver Bell tenor I inherited from my uncle Bobby. My friend Bates Littlehales made the lovely maple neck for it, and it's an incredible banjo. It has a resonator that I never install, so I could use it for Scruggs' style playing, but don't.

Older finger-style playing I did on the 1893 S. S. Stewart 'American Princess' banjo I unfortunately just also sold (I seem to run into 'lack of funds' at regular intervals in my life). I still have a wonderful classical-era English fretless, made by Geo. Mathews of Birmingham that will do for both finger-style and down-picking, though I don't play it as often as the Minstrel or modern banjos in my life.

I do not own a bluegrass-ready banjo, other than Bobby's banjo when I attach the resonator (and, with a fiberskin head, it's less bluegrassy than it should be). I may eventually get one, just because I think my clumsiness at the style would be less if the banjo were really responsive; when I play that style now, I have to dig into the strings for the volume, which slows me down far too much, whereas a light touch would be faster if the banjo responded to a light touch.

So there we are. I have tried out a few of the modern makers' instruments in stores and at music gatherings, and they're nice, but the short time I've played them kept me from making a definitive decision as to their quality.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: kendall
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:46 AM

If I had to rate them from my own experience I'd say,
1. Vega whyte layde for clawhammer
2. Vega Fairbanks
3. Stewart.

Bluegrass
1. Cox
2 Gibson
3Ome


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 08:39 PM

Sorry, try that again:

Guest, for Merlin long necks, you might better post your inquiry at banjohangout.org. Otherwise, just keep googling at regular intervals... looks like they're hard to find.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Stringsinger
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 08:30 PM

Most tenor and plectrum players like Ome or B and D's.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:23 PM

Guest, you might better post your inquiry at . Otherwise, just keep googling at regular intervals... looks like they're hard to find.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: deadfrett
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 11:58 AM

I've played Vegas for about 35 years. Tried Gibsons but went back to
the Vega, they seem to have a sweeter tone for Oldtime styles besides bluegrass playing. Since I got the big C., I can't lift a heavy banjo, so I made a Saga open back kit. After a little tweaking it has played and sounds quite well. It's a lot better banjo than some I've tried. I still have my old Paramount Troubador. Dave


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Stringsinger
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 10:33 AM

Dirk Powell mentioned a banjo maker that he likes and plays that banjo.
Anyone know what it is?


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 05:44 PM

can anyone please tell me where i can buy a merlin long neck banjo? money is no object.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM

Here is a youtube clip of Richard's work .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6KOFunt6Xc


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:10 AM

Here is a new one .. I have made friends with a great banjo player on Youtube and he has stared building great banjos out of locally grown materials and milled by the luthier . His name is Richard Brown and he is in Laredo Tx.. All the best Guy

http://bordertownbrown.com/


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 09:14 AM

I just heard a wonderful young clawhammer player on YT named Alison Williams who had a beautiful hand made banjo by a maker in Brattleboro Vt I had not heard of before . He has a new website coming .J.P Harris . All the best , Guy

http://bigbottomspecial.com/


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Fortunato
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 08:46 PM

OOMBanjo,

Greetings (and Hallucinations)

No, more's the pity. Have good festival and pick one for us.
cheers,
chance


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: olddude
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 08:33 PM

I have to tell you, I am really impressed with this high end Tyler Mountain. I don't know how those guys can make that quality at that price. It is a dandy for sure, love it


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: topical tom
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 12:00 PM

Re my earlier post to this thread: obviously I misread "maker" for "player"! (and I wasn't even in my cups at the time! tired, I guess.)Anyhoo, could someone delete my post? I would but I don't know how.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: olddude
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 05:46 PM

How about an old Washington?


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 05:23 PM

There were some wonderful English banjos - Windsor made gorgeous instruments at the top of their range, many of which survive. Clifford Essex produced real quality too. I have a very shabby but wonderful Abbott from the 1890s. Looks totally unremarkable, but I just love the sound for accompanying songs.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 05:21 PM

I never had enough cash to be a collector of instruments. But for years I only needed to have ONE BANJO; it was an old Vega Tubaphone open-backed banjo. That instrument spoiled me. All the others failed to give me what I needed.

Art


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: topical tom
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 04:51 PM

As my favourite banjo player I would have to vote for Eric Weissburg, not merely for "Dueling Banjos", but I have heard him play such tunes as "Back up and Push" and "The Clinch Mountain Backstep" as well or better than others.
I haven't been able to find much of his music on the computer, but here is his well-known "Dueling Banjos". Sorry about the commercialism!


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Musket
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 01:04 PM

My first banjo was a Windsor.

They were a UK manufacturer and all their banjos were pre war or so I am told as the factory was bombed in the war and never reopened under that name.

The action was excellent and had a wonderful fifth string capo that may or may not have been original but worked better than any other I have used before or since.

Wish I still had it. Google Windsor banjos and a history page tells you all about them. It flattered my playing, which is more than can be said for the Sherwood I am playing these days.


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: oombanjo
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 12:46 PM

Hi Chance are you over in the uk this year? cheers oombanjo


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 12:29 PM

I like Ome banjos. Ogsbury makes the best jazz banjos today. They are as good as Bacon and Day or early Paramounts etc. They don't break up at high volumes.

I like Chuck's five-string as well. I don't know if he makes a 6-string, but if he does, it should be good.

I like the old Gibson trap-doors. You don't see them much.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: oombanjo
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM

Although mentioned in Banjo Ray's thread, it is a bit obscure. So check out. Dave Stacey Banjos


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Subject: RE: Your Favorite Banjo Maker
From: GUEST,Mason Brown
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 10:53 AM

I'd like to call your attention to Brooks Masten, who makes wonderful old-time, minstrel, and tenor banjos, and is a great player as well.

http://www.brooksbanjos.com/


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