Well the banjo part of the auction is over but it's still going on.  As expected I was outbid on a Bacon Grand Concert I was interested in.  For the amount I bid adding 25% for the auction house wouldn't have hurt too much.  A few banjos went for startlingly high prices for an auction. Close to $10k.  But most went for just a few hundred dollars including some very nice ones. Now the autoharps are being bid on and several of these have gone for over $1K !!!  For a Zimmerman autoharp. Meanwhile banjos by Cole, Bacon, Fairbanks etc are going for less. Very peculiar. But fun to watch. Whoops now they are starting the Mango Lynns.  Gotta go watch this...

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Insects count. Does that include a Paramount Style B (ee) ?

 A well set up vintage Gibson flathead Masetrtone has been sometimes praised for being a "hoss"..   

I had a Bruno banjo. It was a bear.

A friend of mine has a Spratt banjo. Something about it is fishy.

Two Gibson guitar models were Hummingbird and Dove.

Trapdoor2 said:

LOL...and most of the Lion Banjo Co. production went to dealers in California...well, Southern CA. Obviously you don't spend enough time in pawnshops down there. ;-)

My first banjo was a Korean 'bottlecap' ($50) and it had an Eagle decal on the back of the resonator. Didn't look at all like an Eagle as it had very short wings. I called it my "chicken banjo".

Joel has a Giraffe banjorette. I've had some banjos that were dogs...

Oh! I have a Stratton "Monarch", do insects count?

Um.. Thoroughbred (horse)

Congrats Marc!  Looks like it is strung with nylon and that is a good thing.  People are bad about putting wire strings on banjos but old guitars collapse on themselves and lose their bridges, not to mention general excessive wear that wire causes to frets, tuners, fingerboards, nuts, etc..  Now get out the Carcassi method and play some etudes.

FVE made a guitar neck or fingerboard in flush fret but I don’t know any more details than that.  I figured all the guitars would take top dollar but I guess it was just too much all at once.  

re Tree of life.  I have found that post WW2 and the war on communism caused people in the US to retroactively assign Christian inspired names to things.  One that makes me roll my eyes in New England are “bible and cross” doors.  There are even fake stores about why they were made to symbolize these items.

This tendency to infect objects with religion was pretty widespread (you know, to battle communism) and so “vine” becomes “tree of life.”

All period documentation that references these inlay designs by a name uses “vine”.  

Oh, here is my FVE, it was built in 1951 for Ben Robin (who had it gold plated).  As the story goes, when he showed it to FVE he said “you ruined a good banjo”.  Some day I hope to have it put back to nickel.

That is a very pretty banjo!  How would gold ruin it?  It does have an effect on sound but not a bad one, just a little different.

Joel Hooks said:

Um.. Thoroughbred (horse)

Congrats Marc!  Looks like it is strung with nylon and that is a good thing.  People are bad about putting wire strings on banjos but old guitars collapse on themselves and lose their bridges, not to mention general excessive wear that wire causes to frets, tuners, fingerboards, nuts, etc..  Now get out the Carcassi method and play some etudes.

FVE made a guitar neck or fingerboard in flush fret but I don’t know any more details than that.  I figured all the guitars would take top dollar but I guess it was just too much all at once.  

re Tree of life.  I have found that post WW2 and the war on communism caused people in the US to retroactively assign Christian inspired names to things.  One that makes me roll my eyes in New England are “bible and cross” doors.  There are even fake stores about why they were made to symbolize these items.

This tendency to infect objects with religion was pretty widespread (you know, to battle communism) and so “vine” becomes “tree of life.”

All period documentation that references these inlay designs by a name uses “vine”.  

Oh, here is my FVE, it was built in 1951 for Ben Robin (who had it gold plated).  As the story goes, when he showed it to FVE he said “you ruined a good banjo”.  Some day I hope to have it put back to nickel.

I think FVE did not like gold plate.  From the stories I have heard he seems to have been very certain of himself and he was likely mad because someone altered a banjo he built for no good reason.  I forgot to mention that Robin also put on a set of planet tuners in place of the FVE design friction tuners.

The gold plating has not held up and is worn and splotchy.  I am pretty sure it was done with a home plating kit.

I see. Thanks.

Joel Hooks said:

I think FVE did not like gold plate.  From the stories I have heard he seems to have been very certain of himself and he was likely mad because someone altered a banjo he built for no good reason.  I forgot to mention that Robin also put on a set of planet tuners in place of the FVE design friction tuners.

The gold plating has not held up and is worn and splotchy.  I am pretty sure it was done with a home plating kit.

LOL, I did go out and download the Carcassi method (1880's Ditson pub?). Crazy-overwhelming. I'm not sure I'll do anything but mess around with some of the etudes. However, I did find a version in tab (even crazier). I did not download that one, I think I'll try to tough it out with notation...

I really didn't buy this guitar to play. I was looking for an inexpensive Parlor Guitar as an exemplar for when I start building. Since I already have a Lion banjo and with the scalloped frets, etc. I just couldn't pass it up. I first bid on the W.A.Cole as it appeared to be in better condition (before I saw the scalloped fretboard).

Joel Hooks said:

Congrats Marc!  Looks like it is strung with nylon and that is a good thing.  People are bad about putting wire strings on banjos but old guitars collapse on themselves and lose their bridges, not to mention general excessive wear that wire causes to frets, tuners, fingerboards, nuts, etc..  Now get out the Carcassi method and play some etudes.

Well now that we are officially off subject...

For my Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas present I got a Spanish guitar.  As a change from my norm, I went with a "new" (second hand-- I am not a fool that would buy new) guitar based on the Torres/Hauser/Ramirez style popularized by Segovia and currently called a "classical guitar" (a term from Segovia's post war influence on the generation that invented the academic version we know today).

The reason was because I wanted to learn to read music for guitar.  Over covid I had started to exhaust all that I know about to read on the banjo so I started going back and reading all the other parts, mainly about the guitar.  Taking my own advice (I am always saying that if one is going to study something they should learn to read the language) I set to work with the goal of playing/reading first position short pieces for my amusement (something I also love doing for banjo).

As these things go I started doing a deep dive into the guitar in 19th and early 20th century America.  Starting with the book "The Guitar in America", which I discovered is the guitar equivalent of Karen Lynn's banjo history, complete with similar wealthy elite controlled conspiracies and a middle class forced against their will to play music they hated on guitars they had to buy to conform to strict social rules and regulations, and other BS. The book ran as fast as it could to get to Segovia who (like the phoenix Earl Scruggs) took the instrument of folk poverty and revolutionized it or something.

I was not impressed.

So I kept going deeper, eventually reading an expensive college textbook which was better.

Long story longer, I have been going through all the tutors I can get my hands on and it is ALL Carcassi.  Oh, they change the names, "Andante" from Carcassi might be "Sunshine Polka" or some other random name, but it is all just recycled. 

Sure, some of them have more pieces added to them, but still chunks are ripped out of Carcassi. Even Converse's brother rips Carcassi.

I know that in banjo tutors there seem to be the same dozen or so pieces in most of them, "Rattle Snake Jig", "Juba," and the like, but often they are different versions.  For the guitar, it is ripped note for note.

I mean, I guess there was a good reason, and the etudes are good.  But still, it is a little disappointing. 

Then there are the Bickford and Foden books which come off as pretty much just exercises with a few pieces to play.

So, yeah, dive into Carcassi op. 59. 

I figure I'll get through it in a year or two and then start on Op. 60.  That should keep me til I get sick of guitar.
One thing I will say, guitarists were very good about numbering their works and arrangements.  I wish our banjo composer's did the same so we could have an accurate idea of their output. 


Trapdoor2 said:

LOL, I did go out and download the Carcassi method (1880's Ditson pub?). Crazy-overwhelming. I'm not sure I'll do anything but mess around with some of the etudes. However, I did find a version in tab (even crazier). I did not download that one, I think I'll try to tough it out with notation...

I really didn't buy this guitar to play. I was looking for an inexpensive Parlor Guitar as an exemplar for when I start building. Since I already have a Lion banjo and with the scalloped frets, etc. I just couldn't pass it up. I first bid on the W.A.Cole as it appeared to be in better condition (before I saw the scalloped fretboard).

Joel Hooks said:

Congrats Marc!  Looks like it is strung with nylon and that is a good thing.  People are bad about putting wire strings on banjos but old guitars collapse on themselves and lose their bridges, not to mention general excessive wear that wire causes to frets, tuners, fingerboards, nuts, etc..  Now get out the Carcassi method and play some etudes.

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