Friday, April 1, 2016


AKA "True Banjo Stories" ~ Uncle Dave Macon's Banjer ~

I thought I might change things up and start writing The Unique Banjo Blog. So I present you with installment Number 1.

I ran across a very interesting information from Phillip Steinmetz, who has befriended the likes of me on Facebook. I have to tell you that Phillip is an exceptional performer, banjo player and knows all these great old timey songs. I was directed to Phillip's story by from my other Facebook friend, Eddie Pennington. who is an extraordinary thumb-picking guitarist from Princeton Kentucky.

This story regards Phillip's Grandpa. (actually his great uncle, but Phillip and just about everyone called him Grandpa). If you think Phillip's grandpa looks familiar, it is because he was known to all of us Country Music aficionados as Grandpa Jones.

Phillip goes on to tell this story: "I think this (picture) is probably the first time that I had ever held a banjo and as you can see Grandpa didn't look too happy about it! Well, the next few pictures tell why he wasn't so enthused about a little whipper-Snapper holding that particular banjo.

Here's the reason why......that banjo once belonged to Uncle Dave Macon and was one of two banjos that Gibson custom made for "The Dixie Dewdrop".

The story behind us acquiring it began when my Dad wanted to learn how to play the banjo and had asked Grandpa to find him a good banjo for him, somehow the subject of what ever happened to Uncle Dave's banjos came up and Dad said to Grandpa, "wouldn't it be nice to have one of Uncle Dave's ".

Well, Grandpa called Dad some months later and said that Uncle Dave's son Doris, was at the Opry one night and was wanting to sell one if his Paps banjos, so Grandpa bought it and brought it to Dad on his next visit.

Doris and Uncle Dave Macon
Shortly afterwords, Doris told Grandpa that he should get the banjo back for him, as I think he realized the mistake that he made in selling it in the first place. Sad to say, but Doris had a problem with liquor and that lead to poor decisions I'm sure. Anyway, getting back to the history of this "little banjer", as Uncle Dave called it, this was one of two that were made special for him by Gibson and the only way to tell them apart is by looking at the last set if pearl dots on the fretboard.

On ours, the three dots are spaced close together, on the other banjo, they are spaced further apart.

Also instead of metal truss rods, both banjos were made with dowel sticks, so that Uncle Dave could twirl them around for his trick banjo playing.

Young Phillip Steinmetz and Grandpa

The other picture of me and Grandpa was taken at the same time, but probably before I grabbed up Uncle Dave's banjo!! Hah, see the difference in Paw's expression!!

Again, my Dad's love for the Old-Time Music and especially Grandpa's, is the reason we have so many treasures like this banjo. My Dad will never get enuf credit for what he has done for me! Love You Paw!"

By the way, I don’t think I mentioned this is April Fools Day!

Betcha' never thought you would see Robert Johnson  playing  Eddie Van Halen's guitar.

We will resume the Unique Guitar Blog tomorrow. 

Enjoy the videos!

Uncle Dave Macon and His Son Doris
Phillip Steinmetz and the Sunny Tennesseans

1 comment:

Blogger said...

Are you looking for free Facebook Followers?
Did you know that you can get them AUTOMATICALLY AND TOTALLY FOR FREE by registering on Like 4 Like?