I am so thrilled with my Banjola, the sound is amazing. When I am playing, my eyes fill up. When I am feeling a bit weary (l care for my elderly disabled mother and also have a part time job to fund my music habit), I pick up my instrument and everything else disappears. I call my banjola “my bridge over troubled waters”. Thank you for introducing me to my instrument. I wake up every morning thinking about the time I will spend playing my beautiful banjola.
Linda Bedford, Isle of Wight, U.K.
The banjola arrived yesterday afternoon in good condition. It is all I had hoped it would be. As I expected, the workmanship is excellent but it is the tone that is totally outstanding. I know I will enjoy playing this instrument for many years. If you ever have any inquiries from this region I would be happy to show off this instrument to anyone contemplating a purchase. In fact, you are welcome to pass on my contact information to anyone who may be interested in your instruments. Thank you very much for creating these wonderful banjolas and for your excellent customer service.
Perhaps a bit of background may interest you. I'm 65 yrs old and have been trying various instruments most of my life with very limited success-not a professioanl musician by any means. 20 years or ago I got interested in banjo- tried bluegrass, clawhammer ( took a Ken Perlman workshop) etc. Pretty much lost interest after a while and moved on to bagpipes for the last ten years or ( better success). Last year one of the pipers I practice with every week announced that his wife wanted him to learn banjo so I loaned him one of mine and we would work on that a bit each week. To get him started I found an instruction book by Tim Jumper in which the author starts with basic chords etc and them moves into a single finger up-picking old time style that I found fit my needs. I made what I think was very good progress,(for me). Sometime last year I ( independently) got the idea that this style would fit very nicely on an instrument with a standard five string type neck but a guitar body . Nobody I talked to ( including a young luthier) had ever heard of such a thing. One day I was in a local music store that specializes in "folk" instruments and low and behold there was a Gold Tone Banjola. I tried it out and it was exactly the sound I was looking for to complement my banjo. I bought the instrument and found myself playing it most of the time and really enjoying the sound. One day I happened to do an internet search and found your website. After a bit of angonizing over the cost I decide to take the plunge and buy the one listed as slightly used. Now at this time I was very satisfied with my Gold Tone ( remember, I'm no professional) and sort of expected a fancier banjola that would give me just as good a sound as my Gold Tone. I was very surprised at the vast difference between what I thought was pretty good( the Gold Tone) and what quality in workmanship and sound was possible ( my new Victor banjola). ( I'm not totally ignorant about instrument quality- I have a cheap guitar and a Maritn D-28, and cheap banjos and a Deering, so I do have some experience in comparing quality). So now I'll keep working on the bagpipes and my banjo technique but 99% of the banjo time will be on the new Victor banjola. Anyway, thats my story and I'm sticking to it.
James Burke, Green Valley, AZ
Arrived in great shape, still in tune. Beautiful instrument, my complements, a joy to play.
Our group got together last night for a little picking (mostly old folk, old time and bluegrass). Everyone loved the sound. It tends to encourage songs we hadn’t played in years, and seems to shine with more melodic picking styles. I just love playing it. I have always been torn between the hard driving sound of the banjo, and the more accurate, full sound of the guitar. Now I have the best of both.
Thanks for you efforts.
Brian Blain, Visalia, CA
I've had some time to play the banjola, and I must say that I'm very happy. 1) It's a beautiful instrument- I love the fact that it's clearly handmade, yet is built impeccably well. 2) Tone- I love the tone- very bell like, and that lower bass string gives some added low end. I enjoy playing it both with and without picks. 3) I find myself playing stuff I've never tried before- the combination of the lower bass string with the high g string allows me to play very guitar- like passages on the 5 long strings, and then throw in a banjoesque lick using the high g. Blues, folk, old timey, bluegrasssy and celtic sounds seem to all work well.
John Anderson, Congers N.Y.
- Wow, what a great instrument did arrive this afternoon here in best shape!!! It is just amazing what great sound this Banjola has, despite a comparably small body. It's quite a difference to hear a Banjola on CD or internet compared with having it in your own hands, hear and feel the great sound and expression. Absolutely super! Knowing that the wood of the top comes from mountain trees under which I in that region have so often played guitar and sung in my young years adds additional excitement. You are completely right: the additional G-string adds enormously to the sound of the instrument, also and especially when the upper strings are sounded, such a great, full sound with a solid foundation! It's well worth to do the additional steps in order to get used to a 6-string instrument. The Banjola is also an awesome master piece in terms of how it looks and how well and carefully it is elaborated. My sincere compliments – it's simply a master piece in any respect!
Doelf Weder, St.Gallen, Switzerland
- I cannot really put into words what the sound of the banjola is to me. I may seem to be exaggerating but I'm not. I have played the guitar for 45 years and the banjo off and on since 1974. I have owned a couple of absolutely beautiful mandolins and have a beautiful black walnut dulcimer. But only once or twice before in my life has an instrument ever done to me what the banjola does. Once I had been searching for months and months for just the right guitar. When I picked up a particular Martin HD 28 it took my breath away. When I picked up my current banjola it was like that. This instrument brings me closer to "home," to that place deep within that resonates with joy at being alive.
Marilyn Berger, Lakewood, Colorado
- The classical 6-string banjola is a joy. The extra bass string is sonorous, the midrange honks, and it still has lots of volume high up the board in the trebles. We've both been playing it. Bob's playing it much the same as one would a classical guitar , albeit one with unique chordal possibilities. I am still experimenting with the possibilities of the tuning, sometimes going classical, sometimes trying drop-thumb clawhammer, but mostly just exploring the fingerboard and the beautiful sounds that flow forth. I love it.
- I love the sound of the nylon-string banjola. It has a unique and compelling timbre--a delicate elegance, an exotic-magical-woody chirp. It's a bit like a lute, or a flamenco guitar, but with subtle qualities all its' own. I'm waiting anxiously for mine to be built.
Steve Mullins, University of Colorado Music Faculty, Mandolin Magazine columnist
- I was fortunate to get one of EVD's original banjolas, based on the Pollmann banjo of the 1890's. I played it for several years and decided to have Edward replace the standard neck with a "long neck" as in the 1958 Vega Pete Seeger banjo. Now I play the world's first "long neck banjola", and it sounds spectacular, due to the string tension being less than that of a standard length instrument. My banjola has a mellow, warm and woody sound, with plenty of sustain, it is simply a musical work of art!!!
Larry Shirkey, Denver, CO
- Received the banjola yesterday. I had been away. Everything is fine. It is an amazing instrument. Wonderful sound. Lots of admiring comments - including from a friend who is a professional luthier. I see it opening up a whole new realm of music-making for me. Haven't had a chance to try it with the pick-up yet. Thanks so much for developing this concept so succesfully. I see this becoming my principle instrument. Take care.
- Although I did not have a chance to feel a 5-string neck profile, I did not find anything objectionable about the 6-string profile. By the way, one of them had the traditional 5th (6th?) string tuner at the fifth fret and the other had a tunnelled 5th/6th. As far as construction goes, Edward's banjolas are clearly fine instruments, something you might expect a luthier to produce as opposed to a factory in China. Also, he offers the opportunity for variation and customization and would be more likely to make me a satisfied customer. At this point in my life, I can afford finer instruments and, after seeing Edward's banjolas, I cannot see myself settling for anything less.
- I was impressed with the tone of Edward's banjolas. Of course, the banjolas that Edward had on hand were both 6-strings, so that provided the lower note. I found that having that note available was seductive, although I wasn't able to use it without thought as you would if you were familiar with the instrument.
- Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy playing the EVD banjola you built for me in 1998. I believe that my instrument was the 9th banjola you built and the first one with the scroll peghead and guitar-style tuners. I play some folk, Irish, and classical music using bare fingers but also use it for Bluegrass & folk while wearing picks. You'll find mention of the instrument on our AOL home page at the link at the bottom. Thanks again for a wonderful instrument.
- Just wanted you to know that I love the banjola... I used it in a recording the day it arrived... It has already made it on to two albums...great work... and thank you for delivering it so promptly... I really want to write some songs for it... maybe in the Spring I'll make some time to write... If I record any compositions I think you'd like, I'll send you a CD... Mike
Mike West & Katie Euliss, from the band, Truckstop Honeymoon
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All articles used with permission.