My mama always said…
…for a fresh start, a fresh banjo head.
Okay, I’m lying. My mama never said that. My mama was a music hater in a family full of loud, enthusiastic bad musicians; she flippin’ hated the banjo. (It didn’t help that my dad practiced in the bathroom “for the acoustics”).
You’ll note my banjo has an arched top; it gives the instrument a treblier, screechier sound. Great idea, no? That curious design feature is probably the reason I was able to afford this one. When I was in my twenties, I burned up Nashville looking for a decent banjo within my budget — a good one, even then, was upwards of a thousand bucks (which was, like, a thousand bucks to me in those days). And no more great deals to be had in pawn shops, nossir.
On my way out of town, I stopped at one more music shop…and found this Epiphone deluxe marked down to $300. Seventy-something percent off. Flamed maple, arched top, fake abalone inlay.
It’s gaudy as shit.
But it is a pretty decent banjo. And trebly. And LOUD. Needs a new head, though. The old one’s go-bust, so I’m not *really* getting the volume out of it.
While I was unscrewing the brackets tonight, I said to Uncle B that I’d like a good banjo mute for my birthday.
And he goes, “what’s a banjo mute?”
And I’m like, “if you value your happiness, I suggest you find out. Soon”