Born in 1955, I started to get interested in banjos when I was 18. That was the Folk period in France. I was very impressed by the New Lost City Ramblers, Pete Seeger and any thing that sounded like that. There were also some musicians here to whom I am very grateful :
-Steve Waring, a very good banjo player who made a famous record here in France: "Special Instrumental Banjo" with tablatures. One of the tunes of the record is played in duet with Steve Potts on saxo and it is turning into jazz improvisation which was very unusual and courageous by this time in this kind of music...
-Dominique Mayoud. We were student in the same class. He was the first who showed me how to play clawhammer banjo. He played real Old-Time music with his twin brother fiddler, Jacques.
-Youra Marcus, Michel Hindenoch, Derroll Adams and some other musicians we could see at the Folk Club "La Chanterelle" in Lyon used banjo in their music.
By this time I made my first banjo in the workshop of my father from a saucepan opened at the back...
Then, work, other musics and other interests took me far away from banjos.
I came back to it in 1993 when I decided to make a pretty and nice sounding banjo, that was the "Nature Banjo" . It never stopped since...
It is only a hobby: fortunately I don't have to live on it. So I can afford to make banjos just for the pleasure. Not many, no hurry! only two or three a year. To try new sounds, new tonerings, different rims and new decorations. Banjo after banjo, other's or mine, my tastes slowly get more and more precise on what I like and what I don't.
About decoration I like to make something coherent, sometimes around a theme that fits the whole banjo. It can be in different styles, classical or more modern, very elaborate or more simple. It depends of so many things... But it always had to be thrilling for me in one sense or another.
I like to make a neck or a whole banjo for somebody I met and talked with. That's more interesting and friendly... If you bring a rim you like, we can discuss together what kind of neck to make for it.
From july 2010, after "Haeckel's Nightmare" banjo which took me 2 years to finish, things have changed a little: today I just would like to enjoy making banjos on my own ideas without any time pressure related to an order for a customer (or not). So I am not particularly looking for orders, but you still can try and ask...
You can also look to my site regularly and see if there is one which becomes (available)...
What are my favorite banjo musicians ? So many ... But top of the list would show Dan Gellert and Richie Stearns !!!
About this site:
I wrote in English, not in French, because most of the people who might be interested do not speak French, pardon pour ceux qui ne parlent pas Anglais. Sorry also for the many English mistakes you will certainly find, let's say it's my French accent !
On this site you will see almost all the banjos I have done. Some of them have been sold to friends, they are marked (Gone). Some could be for sale, they are marked (Available). And others are not. If you are interested, just ask.
This site is also to meet people, to talk, play or whatever...
Remark : The photo on the upper right is from 20 years ago. Today nothing has changed, I still have the same shirt.
Abour ordering, cost, shipping, etc:
- For people who want to start clawhammer banjo, I always try to have 1 or 2 simple banjo around 600 to 800€, look to "My homemade banjos" or "Some other banjos". I would also very much recommand the Kevin Enoch's "Tradesman" banjo, or the "BC350" from Bob Carlin made by Gold Tone. They are both simple but very good instruments for a cheap price.
- For French and European customers it is quite easy. Just contact me and we will see together what I can do for you, and at what price. It could start at 600€ for a very simple neck (plus the rim cost), and reach 3000€ for a very elaborate banjo. The shipping would not be too expensive, or even free if you can pick the banjo directly from me in Lyon or Paris.
- For American customers, I understand that you would hesitate to order from someone from overseas that you don't even know: I have already sold 7 banjos to US musicians, just ask me and I'll give you their Email so you can ask them about me, if I am trustworthy, vegetarian or anything else you like...
The shipping risks and cost could also be drawbacks for you: Now retired I am no more able to come easily to USA, you will have to come here, in France (for your holidays for example...) or send a trustworthy friend.
- I accept Paypal (but I would charge a little more according to the Paypal fees they would charge me)
- Above all, I want that banjo making remains a pleasure and a hobby, no delay to comply with, no stress. It is NOT a business for me. Each instrument must be a thrilling and pleasant adventure for both of us!
To Email me, just replace (at) by @
(this is to avoid Spams...)
12 rue Pierre Blanc
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