Friday, June 24, 2005

Saturday/ Banjo Player's best friend

Jezebel works hard for a living. It is not easy being a bassock hound. :) Posted by Hello

Friday's Banjo Is Loving and Giving

Friday's banjo is not a banjo--but a guitar. Here is the guitar I bought for my husband(Bob Cox) for his birthday. He is pictured here with Robin Kessinger who passed through town not long ago. Bob had a really good time in his advanced guitar workshop. Bob is always coming up with great arrangements to back the banjo and dulcimer. :) Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thursday's banjo has far to go!

Well, maybe not as far as you think! Couldn't resist republishing the up and coming generation of pickers. Below is a friend's new dulcimer champ of the future and anyone can see that the lovely Rexanne is going to be a major stage prescence before you know it. Old time music on MTV? All you young folks --watch out--you'll see these two at Winfield! Posted by Hello

Here comes the future ! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wednesday's Banjo

Here is a snapshot given to me by a very nice student at my banjo workshop at the Coffehouse Gallery Backstage last spring in Altadena, California. Jezebel assisted the workshop with encouragement for all. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tuesday's banjo is full of grace

Here's a quick little Quick Time video of "I Wish I Was a Mole In the Ground" played on my Goldtone Elite Classic. It has gut strings. This was recorded live on a little camcorder, sitting on a rock at the head of the Blue Mesa Trail. It is very informal--but hope you enjoy it anyway!
Best wishes,
Mary Z. Cox

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday's Banjo

Ken reminded me that this is not an SS Stewart Thorobred--but an SS Stewart American Princess. And it is for sale! Contact Ken through his website at: Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Sunday's Banjo

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all...Cecile Alexander 1848 Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

Saturday's Banjo Works Hard for a living!

Robert Force/Dulcimer player and Mary Z. Cox with Gibson RB250 at the 2004 Suwannee Dulcimer Retreat
Saturday's Banjo works hard for a living. Posted by Hello

Friday's Banjo Is Loving and Giving

Gordon Cox mixes and masters my lastest CDs. He is almost 24 and works in Threshold Studios in NYC. He is a vocalist and song writer, but he likes a totally different genre than old time music. However, he has a Deering Goodtime banjo and knows what clawhammer banjo sounds like. We gave him the banjo for his 21st birthday. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thursday's banjo has far to go!

Thursday's banjo has far to go! Actually, it's new owner drove far to pick it up! Here is what Kurt has to say about his lovely new Romera banjo. I wish I had a son that made banjos this good. I'd
hope for a significant discount. The curly haired
fellow is Jason Romero. Romero Banjos.

My banjo is his first all wood 12 inch pot. It's a
block rim. The neck and pot are made out of chechen.
I'm not familiar with this wood at all. But it's
highly figured and beautiful as you can see from the
pics at his site. Jason uses some woods I don't
believe very many others are using. The all wood pot
is nothing new. In the 19th century some makers used
this. It really shows off the wood. And those older
makers also used tension hoops like the one Jason put
on this banjo. The hooks go directly into the hoop and
not over the top. You have a nice smooth rim. It looks
very cool and much cleaner IMO. The head is made from
deerskin. The finish is "hard oil".He makes various
tone rings from different woods. I have the bright
sounding ring in this banjo. So Jason is taking some
old design ideas and using them. I like the idea of
him making his pots, his necks, tailpieces and even
his tension hoops. I wanted a modern banjo but still
wanted it to look in it's own way traditional. I think
Jason succeeds in doing so. And it sounds great.

Jason is a "new" maker but he's worked for Wildwood
Banjos for a number of years. I think he's going to be
a well known banjo luthier.

That's his house in the backround. He had a banjo on
the wall that had a head that was autographed by a
bunch of famous banjo players who have crossed his
path. I didn't pay much attention it to it as he had a
bunch of different banjos laying around. He had a
fretless with a radiused fretboard with an 11 inch pot
strung with nylon. And a steel strung 13 inch pot
banjo. A beast. And he had a banjo with a wooden top.
You can see it at his website. And he also had a kinda
hybrid banjo uke. He's started making 10 inch rim
banjo ukes with a neck that's beefy and has a scale
length maybe 15 inches or so. Mando sized I guess.
It's great for playing rythym(sp)in a string band.
Strung with nylgut. I ordered one.

It was a 5 hour drive from my place to his place in
Eureka in Northern CA. I figured it was the least I
could do for the guy making an instrument for me. It
was a real pleasure. I got to see his shop and all his
banjo making stuff/jigs/mystery do dads. Jason is a
friendly ethusiastic fellow. It was great fun
discussing what I'd like in a banjo and what he was
doing. It was a wait to get it but that was fun
looking forward to something. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wednesday's banjo steals the show!

Putting up this post a little early because I have an imovie class to attend tomorrow.
I won't reveal the name of this little banjo beauty--but her Mom and I used to play together in a bluegrass band. Mom's name is Cindi and is a world class vocalist and fiddler. :)

Wednesday's banjo steals the show!

Wenesday's banjo steals the show! Have you ever seen a banjo this pretty before? Posted by Hello

Tuesday's banjo is full of grace

George Gibson's banjos overwhelm me. We stopped at his home in St. Coud to visit on Sunday morning and what was intended as a thirty minute visit stretched to nearly three hours.
I dropped by to let him see and play my new banjo and he was totally unimpressed, which is understandable when you begin to look at George's collection at his home. I can't even remember the names of them, but one of them was the one he is holding in the photo below. He has a wonderful knowledge of banjo history and all kinds of historical photos to document it.
To read some of his articles and see a few photos of an exhibit he has in Kentucky--try his web page at:

George knows quite a few Kentucky tunings and he taught me one while we were there.
I hope I remember this right. It had a dreamy sound that I really liked.
I'm going to have to visit again and focus on one section at a time. Besides his banjos, he had a wonderful collection of very early and historical mountain dulcimers as well and they distracted me . :)
Mary Z. Cox

George Gibson & Mary Z. Cox Mount Airy 2004 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

Natalie and Blue Chicks Dance Team Posted by Hello

Natalie at the basketball game with her boyfriend, Derrick. Posted by Hello

Natalie at dance recital at the dance school. Posted by Hello

Mondays Banjo, Fair of Face

Just got back from out of town.
Highlights--went to see our daughter dance with the Blue Chicks of the Blue Ducks basketball team in their first game of the season. They won. Also we watched a dance recitial of the ten year old hip hop class that Natalie teaches on Wednesday night.
We had an overwhelming visit to George Gibson's home on Sunday morning. More about that later. Lots and lots of banjos. :)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thursday's banjo has far to go!

Or to be more accurate--it's come from a long way in both time and space. Sometimes there is a banjo that is looking for you instead of you looking for it--if you keep playing for many years you will find this to be true occasionally if not often. This banjo had never been played before--ten years in a hard shell case--just waiting! :)

Thursday's Banjo has far to go! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Wednesday's banjo is made by Lo Posted by Hello

Wednesday's banjo is made by Lo

Here's Lo Gordon's web page so that you can see more details on my beautiful A2 model.
The woods on this banjo and the craftsmanship are lovely. Also, I got to see it being built. There were about six other banjos being built at the time and I ran over to the rim that I liked the best and sure enough--my initials in abalone were lying right next to it.
Thanks Lo. :)

Wednesday's banjo is made by Lo Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday's banjo, fair of face

Here is a link to see a photo of the gourd banjo that I purchased a few months back from Jeff Menzies. It is listed as # 16 on his web site, but I've renamed it "Bad Baby" because it has a huge round gourd instead of a canteen gourd and it tries to escape me while I play it.
There is a little photo of me holding it and it may take a few seconds to load, but the page should start streaming my gourd version of St. Anne's Reel.
I gave away two round banjo gourds to some dulcimer friends that wanted to try their hands at making their own gourd banjo. I bought them at a gourd festival in Ocala, Fl last year from a gourd farmer in Arkansas. My 75 year old uncle Bill went with me and after insisting on treating me to an elephant ride, he walked around and carried all my gourd purchases. Uncle Bill is my Mom's oldest brother and he really keeps me laughing. After we got the gourds, we went immediately to a bakery/lunch spot and sat and ate deserts and drank coffee the rest of the afternoon because his girlfriend and my husband are diabetic and we can't usually eat a bunch of deserts in front of them. :)
Anyway--one of the men that is making the gourd banjo has already made one prototype and will be making the gourd I gave him next. It is really pretty exciting to watch folks make these.
I knew I'd never be able to do it. It took me a whole day just to scrub off all the mold from the gourds and they flew all over the bathroom and I kept submerging them in the tub with pillowcases and bricks--but they kept shooting up in the air and escaping. I decided that if I couldn't even control the gourds to give them a bath, there wasn't much chance of me being able to carve a neck or put on a goatskin head. :)
The other man is talking about taking David Hyatts course to put his together. Probably a very smart choice. :)

PHOTO FLASH--You may remember seeing a photo of my daughter, Natalie, playing my gourd banjo--that was last year--If you'd like to see what Natalie is up to this year--go to the Blue Ducks Basketball team web page in Melbourne, Florida. She is captain of their dance team this year.
More later,
Mary Z. Cox

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Had a really nice time at White Springs. Tunes we played the most were: Step Around Johnny, Chickens Crowin' At Midnight, John Lovers Gone, Spanish Fandango, John Stinson's #2, Soldiers Joy, Angeline, Tam Lin, Rain and Snow, Rock the Cradle Joe. Lots of nice folks came from Orlando, Jacksonville, Atlanta. It is near 1-75 and 10, so seems to be a conveniet location.
The Suwanee River was very low again and the current lazy. It had been high most of last year, so was sorry to see it shrunk down again. By the way, the water is black with a red undertone. There is some kind of tannic acid in the area that keeps it that color?

Home again and think I may have bought a new banjo. :)
More later.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


It's 7:30 AM and we are packing the Roadtrek to go to the Stephen Foster State Park at White Springs. I'm teaching a mountain dulcimer workshop today and we will play a couple tunes at the Cracker Coffeehouse tonight. There may be some jamming in the campground afterwards. (late)
By the way, I'll be teaching Joe LaRose's "Winder Slide" to mountain dulcimer players as a little bonus. It is one that I'll be working up soon on the clawhammer banjo. It is really pretty and Joe says he is controlling everyone's fingers through telepathy to play his tune throughout the land. :)
He evidently is controlling me, because I keep defaulting to his tune whenever I'm not playing something else. :)
When I get back, I'll begin describing each of my banjos and try to put up some photos.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The beginning of banjo blog

Experimental. This is my first blog and I'm experimenting with how to use this. I've played banjo all my life and have stories.

More to come. :)