Banjos have been a passion of mine for many years. In the 70's I used to follow The Gatsby Five Jazz Band led by clarinetist Dick "the stick" Jones with John Bastable on the tenor banjo. David Price would often be there too and play his plectrum banjo.
I just had to buy a banjo!
Well one banjo led to another - different makers, models, woods, engravings, and carvings - before long I had a collection!
40 years ago with street markets such as Portobello Road, the reality of finding a banjo case on a stall or in a corner of a junk shop was high. The excitement of opening it - the aroma wafting out even before setting eyes on the instrument. Each make has a distinctive smell, be it a Ludwig, Vega, or whatever!
There were second hand banjos in the music shops in Charing Cross Road. Barry Dew had a sales and repair shop in London as did Doug Parry of John Alvey Turner.
Those were the days my friend - there was even a chocolate bar called a 'Banjo'
Times and needs change and in the 90's I sold all but one of my banjos and quite a few ended up in the Tsumura collection in Japan.
Now retired, I have started to collect again, and aware that vintage banjos are out of the question, I am concentrating my efforts on contempory banjos and preferably with a known history.
We have the internet now. It is far easier and quicker to keep in touch, and search for information, and for some while I have thought about sharing photographs of my banjos so that people may appreciate the beauty and admire the craftmanship and art of the luthiers work.