Martin Newman

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  • in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #5215
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Your build looks great! I especially like the look of the head skin. Did you dye/stain it? Also, no wrinkles where the skin is tacked onto the gourd. What is the scale of this one? Mine is just under 25 inches.

    in reply to: What gauge strings? #5134
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    I’m so glad that the d’darrio pro arte strings work for you as well as tuning to E. Now that inspires me to get a set for myself. I’m curious if your gourd banjo is fretted or fretless. Mine is fretless and great fun to play. Keep on pickin’ n grinnin’

    in reply to: What gauge strings? #5133
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    I’m so glad that the d’darrio pro arte strings work for you as well as tuning to E. Now that inspires me to get a set for myself. I’m curious if your gourd banjo is fretted or fretless. Mine is fretless and great fun to play. Keep on pickin’ n grinnin’

    in reply to: What gauge strings? #5105
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    I have found classical guitar strings which can be bought individually as well as by set via this website: stringsbymail.com. While I haven’t yet needed to order new strings the site offers nylon La Bella strings with guages .028, .032, .040, .029 wound, and you could buy another single .028 string for the 5th to match the 1st string. Seems pretty close to what Brian includes in his kits. BTW, I agree that tuning down to E tuning sounds just right on my gourd banjo.

    in reply to: What gauge strings? #5090
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Hey Justin,
    I also built a gourd banjo a few months back and am enjoying playing it immensely. Early on I managed to break my 5th string and did some research to try to match the string gauge. I remember that Brian noted in his documentation with the kit that yes, he used classical guitar strings for strings 1 – 4 with a wound 4th string. Also that he used 50 lb. test fishing line to match the guage of the 1st string. I finally found a chart that referenced guage of fishing line and that 50 lb. line guage is .028in. That means the 1st string should also be .028. I can’t remember guages of the other strings but I bet you can find a classical nylon string set where the 1st string is .028 and the other 3 should be pretty close to those included in the kit. BTW, my son being a fisherman, I asked him for a length of 50 lb. test which he didn’t have. But he did have 40 lb. so I used that to replace my broken 5th string and it seems to work just fine. It is .024 guage which is pretty close. Hope that helps. Good luck.

    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4868
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    I promise not to bombard you with constant banjo trivia but I did want to share this short YouTube link which really caught my attention when I 1st saw it. I’m guessing you may not be familiar with flatfooting. Check it out and I’m curious your reaction. Hope you can open this.

    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4851
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Hey Jack, Glad to know that you are interested in taking 1 of Cathy Fink’s courses. You can probably find some YouTube videos of course samples and her playing. And if you want to listen to some of her music in more depth check out her album from about 30 years ago called Banjo Haiku. It really showcases her mastery. Should be available on any streaming service. Your choice of a mountain banjo kit is a good one and will transport you musically right into Appalachia.

    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4844
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Hey, now that I’m sort of officially your mate maybe you would share your name with me. IMO clawhammer is definitely the way to go and a Carver kit is well suited and good quality for playing that style. May I suggest considering taking an online course to jumpstart your banjo journey. I highly recommend checking out a clawhammer banjo course from Cathy Fink through Truefire.com. She offers 4 courses, 2 beginner and 2 intermediate. I’ve taken all 4. You have to pay but it’s not expensive, 1 time fee only rather than monthly commitment, and you can sign up for just the 1st 1 as a start. She’s a great instructor not to mention an amazing musician. You won’t be disappointed.

    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4826
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Hey man, glad that you appreciate the mushroom connection and especially to know that you’re a Paul Stamets fan. We here on the left coast of the Pacific in California think of him as a visionary. Are you new to banjo? If so I hope you’ll get into clawhammer style which seems particularly well suited for these kits. Maybe at some point you will order a gourd kit as well. I love the tonal quality and resonance unique to the gourd. Happy building and picking.

    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4814
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    I was quite satisfied with the results of dyeing with tea. I brewed a strong batch of loose black tea (use plenty) in boiling water, let it cool, put skin in a large bowl and let it soak for 20-30 minutes. I believe I read that the tannins in tea help retain the color and may be preferable to coffee. I decided not to mess with alcohol or oil based substances. The resulting color seemed to complement the natural gourd color nicely. As for the inlay, I confess this was my first attempt and my 1st cut into the neck was done with some trepidation, but it all worked out using only exacto blades and a 1/2 inch chisel. We are mushroom hunters and my wife donated 2 of her decorative pins for the inlay. May I suggest that you consider some woodburning design for your gourd if possible. I think it would look awesome. Cheers.

    in reply to: Carver Banjos DIY Kits #4810
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Thanks much for doing this. Please check out my recent posts, now with full uploaded attachments.

    in reply to: Other hobbies #4809
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Pyrography,eh? — that’s a new term for me but appropriately descriptive. Your work is very cool.
    Did you do any woodburning on your gourd?

    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4804
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    A few more build details:
    • dyeing the goatskin
    • skin tacked onto gourd
    • dyeing tuning pegs taking care not to dyeing the shaft
    that goes through the peghead holes
    • the completed banjo with a nontipped maple bridge in
    place of the plastic bridge

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    in reply to: Gourd banjo kit #4799
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Thanks for the kind words. I see that Brian has expanded allowable upload file size so I’m attaching the photos from my July 8 post which were too large to be seen. Maybe you’ll want to check these out.

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    in reply to: Carver Banjos DIY Kits #4703
    Martin Newman
    Participant

    Hey Brian,
    If you look at my most recent gourd kit postings you can see that I couldn’t figure out how to attach photos which were small enough to fit within upload limit. Is there an easy, non-technical work around so I can resize and post more photos?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)