New Banjo & Local Event Fun

It’s an 11″ pot Oak and Pistachio Short Scale Five String Banjo from Beansprout / Aaron Keim & family up in Hood River, Oregon.

I drove up to Hood River to pick it up and see Aaron, his shop, and his family. It was so cool to see the woodworking shop of a real luthier.

I also brought him my old walnut Beansprout banjo (he seemed to suggest it might have been the 3rd or so he ever made) which needs some repairs. I left it up there with him and will likely go back and get it later this fall.

There were chickens roaming around, side projects strewn about, interesting raw wood stored away (wine barrels slats stained purple from the wine!), and instruments in all sorts of different states of completion.

There were little cards that accompanied the instruments as they moved from stage to stage of construction.

I went with a “short scale” as I already have a few full-scale banjos and I thought having one more travel-compatible would be fun. It does tune into G just fine — a number of people asked me assuming it wouldn’t somehow. I picked up a case that’s the perfect size, which is apparently hard to come by, as production on them is sporadic. Plus: nylon strings! I friggin love the sound of nylon strings! I can hammer on them pretty good and instead of it being intense/obnoxious, it sounds cool.

My trip to Hood River was a pitstop on my way to Centralia Campout for the week. I figured this would be a fun novelty instrument to have along. But no, I love this banjo so much I played it the entire week there and took it to the next event with my as my primary as well. It’s such a sweet sound.

Josie-O, loosely.
Big Sciota, loosely.

Here’s another audio clip with other players from Centralia:

Here’s a fun snap of my Centralia buds, right before I plopped my own chair in there and joined them.

It was so hot.

After Centralia, I popped over to Crane Prairie Reservoir where my buds Becky & Verda host a yearly bluegrass-themed camping gathering. There is a big jam (and little ones spotted around). Unbeknownst to me, there was a wonderful photographer there, Dan Schafer, who took some wonderful snaps.

It’s me!

The local news showed up!

Local news loves a good folk event. I bet I’ve been in the paper 3-4 times just for holding a banjo in public, and I don’t even do it that often. Like that one time at Merlefest.

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