Do I need a banjo?

I posted that question on a forum at Banjo Hangout and the answer came back as a resounding YES!

No surprise there.

I had a 5 string banjo once. It was an Aria. I bought it for $99 circa 1980. It today's dollars that would be about $225. I never learned to play it very well, but I had fun with it. Alas, I lost it in a  rental truck fire when we moved back to California in 1984. Every now and then I wish I still had it. Maybe if I did, I might have become reasonably proficient by now.

Fast forward to last March 1. We were on Amtrak's Coast Starlight returning home. There were some bluegrass musicians playing in the Pacific Parlour Car. The banjo player asked if we played any instruments. Mrs Toy plays the piano. I hesitated to say anything, but he could see I wanted to say something. Finally I told him I had a banjo 20 years ago.

Immediately he put his into my lap, as if I could remember anything. I sorta plucked at the strings then gave it back to him.

Now I want one.

I don't need anything fancy. But it seems a good banjo costs a lot of money. Even a decent "student" banjo costs a lot of money. More than $225 anyway. And the real banjo players insist that I'll eventually want something louder and better sounding than any student banjo. I'll need that for jammin' they say.

Bah! Just let me learn the thing first.

I don't even know if I have the manual dexterity to make one go. But at age 44 I think I now have the patience to practice until I get it right. It seems that a lot of people take up the banjo at my age, or even later.

I think the model that is best for me is the Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R from It is good looking, but simple. The manufacturer is highly respected among banjo players, and those who own them like them. Plus, the price is right.

Unfortunately, my desire comes at tax time, and Mrs. Toy just found out she needs major dental work. There's no money in the budget for a banjer. Sigh.


Anonymous said…
I played Tuba in Junior High. Took it back up 3 years ago at age 49. Go buy a banjo! Cool Journal!
Anonymous said…
Hello, I just found your journal off of the Journals News and Tips board, and it was such a coincidence becuase I grew up in Monterey, well Pacific Grove to be exact, bu anyway I sure do miss the place. Family and friends still live there, I have only been away for a year and a half...Can't wait to get back! Nice journal by the way ;)

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