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Travel Banjos?

Charley Noble 15 Jul 12 - 03:28 PM
John MacKenzie 15 Jul 12 - 03:36 PM
Charley Noble 15 Jul 12 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 15 Jul 12 - 04:34 PM
Charley Noble 15 Jul 12 - 04:44 PM
Geoff the Duck 16 Jul 12 - 04:56 AM
Charley Noble 16 Jul 12 - 08:13 AM
fretless 16 Jul 12 - 12:37 PM
dick greenhaus 16 Jul 12 - 03:24 PM
Charley Noble 16 Jul 12 - 10:28 PM
fretless 17 Jul 12 - 05:30 PM
Charley Noble 17 Jul 12 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,MahoganyFolk 17 Jul 12 - 09:12 PM
framus 17 Jul 12 - 11:30 PM
Charley Noble 18 Jul 12 - 08:46 AM
fretless 18 Jul 12 - 10:57 AM
fretless 18 Jul 12 - 10:59 AM
Charley Noble 18 Jul 12 - 03:00 PM
fretless 18 Jul 12 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Roger Frost 15 Jan 13 - 11:11 PM
Roger the Skiffler 16 Jan 13 - 08:21 AM
GUEST 16 Jan 13 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Peter Sloan 19 Apr 15 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Peter Sloan 19 Apr 15 - 09:42 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 15 - 12:40 PM
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Subject: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 03:28 PM

I'm thinking of purchasing a travel banjo. It's now even more uncertain whether my full-size vintage banjo can be carried into the cabin for domestic air travel and if I'm flying overseas there are new regulations with regard to rain forest woods which raise questions about even vintage banjos. Anyway my current favorite is a fold-up banjo made by Sloan Banjos, model Jo2Go: click here for info and PIX

It's pricey but seems to meet my criteria for a concert quality banjo. And unlike the Tranjo Express it actually looks like a banjo. I have been leading a discussion of travel banjos at Banjo Hangout.

Anyone here had any experience with Sloan Banjos?

Anyone here have alternative travel banjo suggestions?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 03:36 PM

Don't travel!


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 04:31 PM

Thanks, John.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 04:34 PM

Tried a few, no joy. Let me know how you get on!


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 04:44 PM

My other alternative is to buy a classic S. S. Stewart Banjeaurine (with a shorter neck than my Orchestra model) like this one currently on e-Bay: click her for PIX

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 04:56 AM

Dick Greenhaus travels with a Banjeaurine. It might be worth getting in touch with him.

Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 08:13 AM

Thanks, Geoff!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: fretless
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 12:37 PM

I've had an early-version Sloan "fold-a-jo' since the 1970s; used it for domestic and international travel. Mine was made by pappa Sloan, who I recall has since passed.
Deb Lamberton, who does programming for NPR, uses one, too. She introduced me to the f-a-j at one of the Brandywine Mountain Music Conventions and I did an article on them for The Folk Life, back when it was still in publication.
I really like mine for travel--it fits into a back pack for carry-on when flying, and you get the extra bonus of watching the airport screeners freak out when they see the metal pot and twisting assortment of strings on their screens.
Sound is good; play is easy. It takes nylon strings, so a richer tone than metal. I use mine for personal play and keeping up with practice; never tried it as a ensemble or performance instrument.
The new ones are more finished than mine and they strike me as a bit expensive; but they are uniquely useful for their particular task and worth it if you can afford one, I think.
Feel free to PM me for more details and for photos.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 03:24 PM

Saga's copy of a Stewart Banjeaurine is a pretty good banjo---except for the tuners, which are crap.With new tuners, it works well for traveling---fits neatly in an overhead, and it's a helluva lot cheaper than an actual Stewart.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 10:28 PM

Fretless-

Just the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I already freak out the airport screeners with my concertina; it really looks dangerous when x-rayed! The Sloan is expensive, either a $1000 or $1500 depending on the construction. But what I normally play is in that same range. If it really is a well made banjo I have no quarrel with that price.

Dick-

I did try out a Saga-10 and was not very impressed with it. I would do better with a vintage compact Stewart banjo, as linked above.

My other concern with carrying my vintage Stewart overseas are the new rules about having to prove that the ebony or other rain forest woods were harvested legally; well, you can't do that with a banjo that is over 100 years old. Maybe this really isn't a real issue but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: fretless
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 05:30 PM

Back in the day, Sloan's cost a lot less. But "affordable" is a realtive term. And 35 or so years accounts for a lot of inflation.

I've exchanged messages with the younger Sloans who make the banjos currently. My sense is that they'd be open to letting you try one out (i.e. purchase it with a return option) if you were interested but not willing to take the plunge without a trial.   

By the way, here's an added benefit from owning a Fold-a-Jo: when I first got mine, I brought it to a party. Showed it off to the host and to a very attractive woman who was one of his guests. She and I will celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary this coming October.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 08:47 PM

Thanks, Fretless, for the positive feedback on Sloan banjos, and for your story.

However, now my wife has something to be concerned about, other than one more banjo in my collection.

I have been communicating with Philip Allison at Sloan's via e-mail and I think I'm about to plunk big time.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST,MahoganyFolk
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 09:12 PM

Travel Banjo? I'd like to get a hold of one of those! I've been trying to get a travel banjo for a while, just can't find one that I like at a decent price!


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: framus
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 11:30 PM

Can you get these in tenor? How the hell do they keep in tune? (Obviously need retuned every time, but aren't they awfully hard on strings?


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 08:46 AM

If you'd like to review some detailed discussion of travel banjos, do a "search entire website" on the Banjo Hangout website: click for link

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: fretless
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 10:57 AM

Framus, Here's how Sloan solved the tuning problem: he attached the nut (the point where the strings attach on ten far side of the banjo head) to a screw mechanism. To fold the banjo, you loosen the screw thereby taking tension off the strings. When you unfold, you retighten the screw and the banjo is, with only minor adjustment, back in tune. The Fold-a-Jo uses nylon strings. I don't think the mechanism would work with metal ones.
Elderly had one on sale recently with photos
showing the mechanism (see the last photo in the series).
I've never seen a Sloan folding tenor banjo, but I don't see why they couldn't make one up on a special order if it isn't a stock item. The nylon strings might be an issue: they work OK for clawhammer/old-timey; I'm not sure how they'd play or sound for the kind of play that is conventional on a tenor. I guess you could take the metal strings off to fold and reattach after folding on a tenor version (the Sloans I've seen are substantial encough to bear metal strings), but that would negate the advantage of the screw mechanism. You'd still be abel to fit the banjo into a backpack or computer bag, though.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: fretless
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 10:59 AM

after "unfolding," that is.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 03:00 PM

fretless-

That one that was for sale at Elderly looks a lot more industrial than the maple one I ordered. But the photos do a great job of showing how the neck folds twice.

I was assuming steel strings but I'll see what it comes with and how it sounds. I did order some railroad spikes installed as well for the 5th string.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: fretless
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 03:31 PM

Interesting. Keep us posted, please. Especialy if you end up using the spikes with nylon strings. I never thought that was a combination that would work--too much friction on the nylon.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST,Roger Frost
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 11:11 PM

Charley, did you end up with a jo2go? I'm trying to find what people think of playing them, as they seem a brilliant solution to international travel concerns.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 08:21 AM

Some would say that taking a banjo out of its case is to travel too far...
I couldn't possibly comment!

RtS


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 09:55 AM

Try an inflatable banjo - they sound better!


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST,Peter Sloan
Date: 19 Apr 15 - 09:27 AM

How about a word from the inventor(s)!!! Hey, Dad has NOT at all passed, God willing, he'll turn 92 on August 15th of this year and in fact I just got done serving him his morning coffee! He's a tough old guy and in good shape. And by the way, nearly every Jo2Go I made was equipped with steel strings! Dad loves to hear from banjo (and accordion) players and ragtime buffs. Anybody wishing to say hi to him can send a snail mail letter to him at: John A. Sloan, 3300 Flamingo Court, Titusville FL 32780. Maybe some of you will send him a birthday card! Take care, All.


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST,Peter Sloan
Date: 19 Apr 15 - 09:42 AM

p.s., of course Phil can make a Jo2Go tenor... less wood and fewer pegs and strings, banjo makers LOVE tenors! And forget the inflatable banjo idea, you'll have to prove to customs that the vinyl and air were legally harvested. ;)


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Subject: RE: Travel Banjos?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 15 - 12:40 PM

Travel Banjos?

The bloody things never travel far away enough !


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