Here's "Marvelous" Marvin Walker hard at work shaping the neck on his last build. Why is it that when I do this sort of thing that I end up covered in sawdust. Marvin's spotless.... he's got the magic touch for sure! :-)
The observant amongst you will have already spotted a key detail in the picture above that demands explanation. See the neck. It looks sort of concert ukulele scale, but hold on a second... what's that odd lump half way up?
YES! This is a banjo neck! But it isn't a neck for any old ordinary banjo... this is for a mini banjo!
Back to banjos!
I mentioned earlier that Marvin has used a Dixie pot as the basis of some of his earlier builds. Check this out. This is Marvin's first ever mini banjo build. Do you recognise the unmistakable chrome pot? Yep, that's from a Dixie! I love the understated elegance of the design. The choice of wood and colours are exquisite, and to my mind the inlays are perfect. Marvin has an eye for form and design that I really admire.
I've joked in the past when writing about some of my builds that sometimes I've done things simply because I've liked the look of a design or I've been captivated by a concept. I really am an advocate of instruments that are as beautiful to hold and admire as they are to play. If only I could make an instrument as compelling as this little banjo I would be a very happy man.
Before I forget, I'm going to share some links where you can find out more about Marvin Walker and see more of his builds. You can find him on Facebook. He's also on Banjo Hangout, can be found on YouTube as well as a website. What a web presence!
Marvin is a player as well as a builder. I know that you'll be as intrigued as me to hear what a mini banjo sounds like so I've included a video of Marvin playing Fire Ball Mail on his Mickey Zacharias mini banjo.
You know that I'm a novice when it comes to banjos so I'm keen to pick up whatever hints and tips I can whenever I get to talk to anyone who shows an interest. Marvin informs me that he's playing what is known as "three finger Scruggs (Earl) style". Something to investigate further!
Here's an interesting idea that scares the pants off me. I'm not sure what Marvin is doing here. I can't see me trying this, no matter how much you pay me to try.
Right, that's your lot. I want to say a huge thank-you to Marvin for taking the time to talk with me and to let me share a little of what he does with you. I could have gone on and on, but I think it is time to close this off. I never got to mention the wonderful inlays or that Marvin makes most of his metal parts. Perhaps another time? I think you've probably picked up by now that he's quickly become one of my heroes. Check out the links I've shared in the post for all sorts of wonderful insights. Until next time...