If you’ve visited my Folk- and Acoustic-focused web page CreekDontRise.com, you probably know that I have a lot of resources for helping people choose the most appropriate banjo for them.
On August 13, I’m scheduled to do a short workshop on that topic at a local Folk, Acoustic, and Indie festival. I hope someone can record the video for me, as it would be appropriate for my Youtube page, which is still pretty thin.
I plan to bring my whole stable of banjos for folks to look over and try out (under supervision, of course), because it is HARD to get your hands on anything but the cheapest import banjos in this part of the country – like many others. I didn’t have any 4-strings, and I wanted to demo that, too (even though I don’t really play), so I’ve picked up one 4-string I plan to tune to ADGC (Jazz tuning) and one to tune to low EADG (Irish tuning).
I’ve also been working up a graphic that shows all the major parts of a banjo (seen and unseen) to explain why some banjos are louder and heavier than others, etc. If you click on the graphic, it will take you to a downloadable PDF version.
Of course “Backless” banjos can be professional without a tone ring and resonator, but if the banjo has a resonator and lacks a tone ring, that’s usually a sign of a student instrument.
I have also been thinking about all the questions folks usually ask about which banjo to buy. And just when I think I’ve covered them all, someone comes up with something I haven’t been asked before. Plus there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Everyone approaches the banjo with different experiences and different expectations.
I started trying to come up with a humorous illustration to demonstrate that, but by the time I was halfway into it, I realized that it could actually be helpful for folks who don’t even know where to start. Again, if you click on the graphic below, you’ll see a downloadable PDF version.
I’m thinking I’ll take these as handouts to the workshop.
If you’re thinking about a banjo and you don’t know what kind to get, you’ll find a lot of help in:
The Creek Don’t Rise article “What Kind of Banjo do I Want?”
The Riverboat Music article “5-String Banjo Buyer’s Guide.”
And if you live in or near west-central Ohio, consider coming out on August 13 to hear lots of area musicians and to get any questions answered.