The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #169531   Message #4097201
Posted By: Joe Offer
11-Mar-21 - 05:06 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Fretless Old-Time Banjo
Subject: RE: Tech: Fretless Old-Time Banjo
I emailed DADGBE (Ray Frank) and asked him to drop by this thread. He's the most knowledgeable banjo guy I know. The legendary Sandy Paton gave Ray a broken Frank Proffitt fretless banjo, on the condition that Ray rebuilt the banjo and use it. He played it for years, and it was an absolute pleasure to listen to.
But then he rebuilt the banjo again a couple years ago, using high-tech fishing line for strings. The banjo has a totally different sound now, much brighter than nylon or gut strings but not quite as harsh as metal strings. It's amazing to hear his second rebuilding of this banjo. Frank Proffitt and Sandy Paton would be proud.
My neighbor and former kitchen boss Debby McClatchy plays a fretless banjo, too. She used to bring it over and play it for my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law was 95 and close to death, but she sure loved "that young woman with the banjo" (Debby was 65 at the time), but she never could remember Debby's name.