I recently picked up a second hand, 1962,  copy of this book by Pete Seeger,  and this reference to nylon strings and Fred Van Eps caught my eye. 

I thought other members might be interested to see it.  Is the American Banjo Fraternity still in existence?  Unfortunately, since this dates from 1962 there is no website address!

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Hi Trevor.. where you been?       Happy New Year to you!

Try cursoring down the MAIN page a bit.. then look right..   ABF is alive and well.

I don't know about Dr. Thornburgh though.

There have been numerous references to the ABF in this forum, most recently from me, in my post about the calendar of historical photos of female classic banjoists. Have a look at the main page of this forum. Look for the photo of Bill Ball on the right. Scroll down. You'll see a vertical rectangular border surrounding contact info for the ABF.

Hi Ian ... I haven't played for a while for health reasons (nothing serious) but I dip in and out from time to time. I saw the link thanks - never noticed it before :-)

Thanks

Trevor

Thanks, Jody. I didn't connect the two in my mind but I have had a look at the website.  I was just interested to see it in Pete Seeger's book published originally, I believe, in the early 1950s.  I had always viewed him as "folk" but his book makes interesting reading for anyone interested in the banjo.  I picked up my copy for £2 in a second-hand bookshop here.  It's good to see the ABF is still going strong as an organisation.


Jody Stecher said:

There have been numerous references to the ABF in this forum, most recently from me, in my post about the calendar of historical photos of female classic banjoists. Have a look at the main page of this forum. Look for the photo of Bill Ball on the right. Scroll down. You'll see a vertical rectangular border surrounding contact info for the ABF.

There has been a lot of effort by various generations to convince the public that the banjo (as we know it) is (was) a folk instrument.

Funny that they are "fans" of FVE.  I had always thought FVE was fond of himself... (he was a founding member).

Perhaps Pete meant "friends?"



thereallyniceman said:

Hi Trevor.. where you been?       Happy New Year to you!

Try cursoring down the MAIN page a bit.. then look right..   ABF is alive and well.

I don't know about Dr. Thornburgh though.

Dr. Thornburgh died a few years ago, probably twenty or so, he owned the FvE collection.

The ABF weren't particular fans of Pete Seeger, they were going through a McCarthy like, anti communist frenzy in the 60s and you had to declare that you had no affiliation with the Russians/Communists etc. when you filled in an application form to join them. I've got some newspaper clippings somewhere, where Seeger's performances get a slating from the anti communists, I'll look them out.

Yes I also read somewhere that Pete Seeger was "blacklisted" on American TV for a while?

<disclaimer>

I'm not expressing any political views here, just discussing the history. ;-)

</disclaimer>

Joel Hooks wrote :

"Funny that they are "fans" of FVE.  I had always thought FVE was fond of himself... (he was a founding member).

Perhaps Pete meant "friends?" "

The Seeger text actually says "fans of FVE .  .  .   and others like him".  However, in the years FVE was an active ABF member there were indeed several other members who admired his playing in particular.  They all owned and played Van Eps banjos.  Those fans are no longer with us and their banjos have disappeared into obscurity.

LOL, hardly obscure. The FVE banjos are some of the more expensive collectibles in the classic-banjo universe. Two sold in 2012 for $10k each. Site member Eric Stephanelli recently added a FVE type banjo to his already amazing lineup of custom banjos he will build.

I know at least one of the FVE fans is still with us and currently honorary President of the ABF. He owns one of the best of the FVE banjos (5-string) and it still has the nylon strings that FVE himself put on it in 1959.
 
Shawn McSweeny said:

Joel Hooks wrote :

"Funny that they are "fans" of FVE.  I had always thought FVE was fond of himself... (he was a founding member).

Perhaps Pete meant "friends?" "

The Seeger text actually says "fans of FVE .  .  .   and others like him".  However, in the years FVE was an active ABF member there were indeed several other members who admired his playing in particular.  They all owned and played Van Eps banjos.  Those fans are no longer with us and their banjos have disappeared into obscurity.

Marc,

 Other members besides our honorary President  are current custodians of Van Eps banjos, but they are either attending rallys less regularly than they used to, or not bringing those instruments when they do, so  Van Eps banjos are now only rarely seen, compared with the ABF's early decades. Hence the reference to obscurity.

Understood, Shawn. However, from my POV, I've been seeing more and more FVE banjos lately...so I was thinking, "Obscure? I've seen more FVE banjos in the past year than ever!"

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