If you are old enough to remember the comedian Bob Hope, he used to end many of his live performances with a song called “Thanks for the Memories.” I remember it because it was always sung with a poignant sadness and joy combined. As I retire from over 20 years of working for the Deering Banjo Company, I now understand his feelings better.
Understanding how the environment can affect the sound and playability of your banjo is very important. Because your neck, your rim, and your resonator are made largely of wood and wood is quite susceptible to environmental conditions, let’s review some basic points that will help us understand and correct the effects of the changes caused by the change of weather and location of your banjo.
The wonder of banjo heads is how easy they make it for banjo players to change the sound of their banjos if they want to! Banjo owners do not need to buy a whole new instrument to add more bass, more treble, or enrich their mid-range. By adjusting their existing banjo head tension or changing the head out for a different one, they can make some pretty dramatic changes to the sound of their banjo!
Recently I had an email from a customer who was confused by “radius” versus “compensated” bridges. I thought a brief explanation might be of help in finding the right banjo bridge for your instrument.
Deering Banjo Company has a custom option of an oil finish for our banjos. We only used boiled linseed oil when this type of finish is requested.
Linseed oil is not a new finish. It has been used for decades to enhance, preserve and protect wood and other surfaces. Linseed oil deeply nourishes the wood while providing a flexible protection that is waterproof and abrasion resistant. This is not to say we want you leaving your banjo out in the rain or whittling on it with your knife! But the boiled linseed oil finish Deering uses on your banjo will protect the wood. This article is to help give you some insights into the finish and how you can best preserve it over the lifetime of your ownership of your precious banjo.
Have you ever looked up the definition of “inspiration?” Here it is: stimulated to do the process of being mentally or feel something, especially to do something creative. And the source of inspiration may be a lot more basic than we think.
There are many outlets with banjos for sale. Many are for new banjos and frequently the discerning banjo enthusiast can find a used banjo at a very appealing “sale” price. But, just as in anything, “let the buyer beware.” When is a used banjo a “good deal” and when is a used banjo just buying someone else’s problems? Let me see if I can give you some tips on what to look for!
So much is written about the materials and precision needed to craft a beautiful sounding banjo that we often forget to remind ourselves what the most important part is! What’s your guess?
“The banjo ukulele is easily learned and easily played. To play it gives you a standing invitation to join any social circle. Its companionship is irresistible.”
Getting “true” value from your buying dollars is best done by doing a little bit of homework on your purchase, no matter what it is, especially when shopping for banjos for sale. Finding a resource you can trust to give you “real” information can be hard. At Deering we know banjos! After over 19 years working here, I will try to help you know what to look for when buying a new banjo.