I just decided.
Because October is the month of Halloween and pumpkins and squash and old hollow/hallow things, even the O in October is round like a gourd...so...
I declare October to be Gourd Banjer Month !
Let's use this thread to share our enthusiasm for our gourd banjos...
Post your gourdelicious videos, pictures, your love/hate gourd relationship stories, and random factoids about your gourd banjo here!
Anything goes...bring it on! :D
So....I must have read your mind??
Maybe so Tim. And I was also asking you about your gourd banjo recently. :D
"Hear Hear!" I'm going to the Hallmark store to demand greeting cards!
Here's my small gourd banjo, after Brian and I drilled a sound hole into it
It's definitely not a 'period' banjer, since it has a full grey formica overlay on the fretboard and peghead.
I bought it from the wife of our late friend Ray Alden, after he passed away. He had gotten it directly from Jeff Menzies, who made it a few years before.
The gourd is only 8" across at its widest, and the freely-vibrating part of the head is 5" wide. Because it's such a small gourd, it's not very loud. That improved noticeably after we drilled a soundhole (it had none). I sought advice from Jeff before we attempted doing this (it's a bit scary!), and received his encouragement. It still lacks the deep resonance of my larger gourd banjo, however. Hmm, duh...you just can't make a small gourd sound like a large gourd. I think of it as a good travel gourd, and to play when not wanting to disturb others. I guess I mostly like that Ray owned it. :)
Here is it's official Menzies gallery page, from 2005, which makes it 9 yrs old now:
Amazing how he still produced something of aesthetic appeal even with the formica. I wonder what Jeff was thinking not putting a sound hole of some sort in it?
Mark, I had asked him that, and he said he didn't always put sound holes in his earliest banjos, but began to add them as standard later on. This banjo was #67 from 2005.
Wes did you make that? Can you actually play it?
Here's my contribution to gourd appreciation month: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=254867087970262
I tried to make a new video today with my gourd banjer, but after screwing up the 12th take in a row, I gave up for the day.
Of course as soon as I put the camera away i could play the tune just fine again. lolol...
Greg, I can't seem to see the video- maybe because I'm not a member of FB..? It just shows black for me. :(
Here's a great page on various gourds, their photos and uses, and their seeds you can buy:
I think if I were to pursue a gourd banjo again, I'd chose a four-string like Mark often plays. After all, isn't that closer to what they were like prior to the introduction of the rim banjos? That's not a statement, that's a question. Was there an era when 5-string gourd banjos were made and used or is that a current inclination of ours to mix two traditions together the result of which never really existed? Can someone offer their insights?