Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bee My Honey/ banjos

Here is a link to a small quicktime movie of me putting in my first beehive. Two banjos (my new Deering White Shell Laydie and my gourd banjo) play a duet of "Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss" (track from "Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights) for the soundtrack. :)
This one has the best resolution, but is about 10MB--be patient with the download. :)

If you have dial up, or just can't stand the wait--here is a tiny one at about 3.87 MB--but the resolution is pretty poor.

It was pretty exciting putting in the bees. My husband videoed from a distance. :)
Best wishes,
Mary Z. Cox

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tim Smith's new A scale banjo

Tim sent a photo of his new A scale that he built.
Here is what he says about it:

"Here are some pics of a banjo that I built for myself recently. It is an "A Scale" meaning the neck is about 2 inches shorter than normal (like a regular banjo capoed at 2). The home-made 10.5" rim is block-built of walnut with a fat cocobolo tone ring, heavy home-made brass tension hoop, store-bought hooks & brackets. The neck is a walnut/oak/walnut laminate with ebony fingerboard and peghead overlay. The pearl inlay is about as complex as I can handle. I've decided to use the Keystone shape on stuff I build. The neck was originally started by a guy who died before he finished it. It was then a Seeger long neck. It has a Renaissance head and Sosobee bridge. The tailpiece is a heavy brass home-made job I bought on eBay. I really enjoy playing it and it sounds great (to me). I'm still fooling with the set-up as it has some buzzing issues.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Claw hammer banjo tab books

Many folks write to ask which of my Cds have tab books.
There are three, Vintage Banjo, Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights, and A Secret Life Of Banjo.
Each has simple tab to the tunes (not note for note) that are on the CD. They also have some historical and playing notes and some nice musical and Florida antique pictures and photos. They are wonderful for lazy afternoons of picking out a favorite tune or two and learning a little about the history of some wonderful tunes.
They may be ordered from my web page:
or from the folks at Elderly Instruments

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Amazing cello video

This is the most amazing music I have ever heard--well worth a listen--no matter what instrument you play. :)
I found this link on J-walk's blog.
What do you think, John? Do you think a banjo version would be pretty fun?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Florida Old Time Championships

Here's the link to the 2006 winners of the Florida Old Time Championships. Bob and I were judges, and there was an incredible amount of talent displayed this year.
Congratulations to all !

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Old Time banjo hound

Here's a photo of Jezebel, our adopted basset hound. Bassets make good picking buddies. This one will wiggle under my feet and nap while I play. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Banjo neck and heel

Here is a close up of the neck on David Hyatt's (of gourd banjo fame) new banjo.

Here is a close up of the heel. Hope he puts up a sound sample on his web site. :)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pretty banjo season

Springtime must be the season of pretty new banjos, because here is another!

Gail Gillespie (editor at Old Time Herald) sent me this photo of a new banjo at her home and here is a blurb from her email telling all the details about it.

"As long as we're a-braggin' on banjos, here's a current favorite > around our house.This is my husband Dwight Rogers with a little > clawhammer banjo that our daughter Nora surprised him with last > Christmas. (she learned her trade from Mike Ramsey & Kevin Enoch)> The banjo is cherry with an ebony board, an 11 l/2 inch rim, deep rim > profile, no tone ring (except a top layer of ebony) & a short scale. > Her boyfriend Patrick, a metalworker, made the rim & brackets from > scratch and the dots are inlaid bronze markers. They steamed their own > rim and stained the outside black. Note the interesting peghead. We > just love its elegant postmodern/ 19th century appearance and its > beefy bass and bright treble.> Banjo-vially yours!> Gail"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More Cigar box banjo and early Florida

This is Mae Newman of Palatka, playing her cigar box banjo.

Ernie Williams sent it to me and it is from the Florida Photo Archives. (not sure of the date)

Seems like cigar box banjos were a real tradition in early Florida.

I'm not suprised--there were cigar factories in the Tampa area very early on and folks traveled back and forth from Cuba freely before the sixties. I remember that my Dad (born in Florida in 1915) liked to go dancing when he was young and would travel to the larger cities in Florida to go dancing and also ride the ferry to Havana to dance the night away. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pretty new banjos

Mark Johnson with his new custom Deering.
Mary Z. Cox with her new Deering custom, White Shell Laydie
George Gibson with a beautiful vintage banjo.
Maybe a collector could help identify it. :)