I come from a musical family. My father, the late Dr. Willard A. Palmer, was a renowned musical scholar, instrumentalist and teacher. He was the author of 790 musical items that were published by Alfred Publications, among them Alfred's Basic Piano Library, The Palmer-Hughes Accordion Method, and much of Alfred's Masterwork Series.
He inspired me to excel in as many things as I possibly could.
For many years, I played banjo, mandolin, guitar, electric bass, accordion and other keyboards in nightclubs, pizza parlors, and other venues, mainly in the Houston area.
My main interests were bluegrass music, blues and jazz, although I have an affinity for many other idioms, also. For personal reasons, partially because of artistic burnout--partially because of the challenge, I decided in 1974 to become a full time magician.
However, recent events have caused me to rekindle my interest in music.
I have written several books for piano, which are published by Alfred Publishing Co. I also wrote a book of sacred songs for electronic keyboard, called The Easiest Way to Play Your Favorite Sacred Songs.
During my previous career as a musician, I taught banjo and guitar for Charlie Cash Studios of H & H Music Co. and Westview Music Studios. While working for them, I wrote How to Play Folk and Bluegrass Banjo.This book was published by Alfred Publishing Company, but was discontinued before the recent bluegrass boom. I now have the rights to it, and should be issuing a revised version of it, concentrating on bluegrass music, in the near future. If you have any interest in this at all, please drop me an e-mail and let me know.
For more information concerning my sordid past and bluegrass adventures, click here.
For a detailed discussion of the basic myths of copyright, click here.
For further information, please send e-mail to: Bill@billpalmer.com
If you are a bluegrass music fan, you should visit the following sites:
The king daddy of all the bluegrass music sites in the world is without a doubt, Blue Grass Roots. This site is in Estonia. You probably never thought of Estonia as the hotbed or Bluegrass activity that it actually is, but I can tell you that almost every site worth knowing about is located on their links list--including mine!
For more proof that bluegrass music is truly international, here is an interesting web site -- The São Paulo Bluegrass Music Association. If you know anything at all about Brazilian music, it is no wonder that Brazilians like bluegrass. It's not just sambas and bossa novas anymore, friends! Erio Meili sent me this link. When I was in college, I studied Portuguese, so I find this site very interesting; however, you don't need to know Portuguese to appreciate this site -- it's also in English.
5680 Valmont Road
Boulder, CO 80301
Very nice, high quality banjos made in the mountains of Colorado.
Web Site http://www.omebanjos.com
One excellent source of banjo parts and information is First Quality Musical Supplies. Bill Sullivan is a real expert, and has given me lots of help. I had the pleasure of visiting his shop recently. Incredible! His new facility has much more space than his old shop, and he has a full time staff of experts to keep parts, supplies and instruments going out to all of us who build, repair and play the banjo and other bluegrass instruments. He has a full staff of luthiers who can make just about anything you need for the banjo, including finished necks and resonators. During my most recent trip to SPBGMA, I went up to Louisville to pick up a Granada DeLuxe that he converted to a 5-string banjo for me. To view it, click here.
Randy Broyles of Mid-America Instrument Repair is a really fine luthier. He worked for several years at First Quality Musical Supplies as their lead luthier. He has now set up shop in New Albany, Indiana, right across the Ohio River from Louisville. He built the neck for my 1925 Granada conversion banjo mentioned in the above paragraph.
If you want to visit a site that has lots of banjos -- probably more than anyone else, check out Turtle Hill Banjo Company. Dave Schenkman, the owner of Turtle Hill Banjo Company keeps well over 100 banjos, new and used, in stock at all times. He is a nice guy and knows a lot about banjos.
LeeBanjos are built by Chuck Lee. These are really nice banjos.
One of my favorite places in Houston is Fuller's Vintage Guitars. Mike always has lots of nice guitars and banjos in all price ranges. www.fullersguitar.com.
Mugwumps. Michael Holmes has put his incredible publication on the internet. Here you will find a remarkable collection of banjo information, including dates of issue of Vega banjos by serial number, pictures of esoteric banjo tailpieces, old banjo advertising and much, much more. There is also a wealth of information about other instruments, especially vintage items. It's a nice place to visit.
The Musical Instrument Directory has a multiple category list of almost every type of musical instrument you can think of, and just about every reference to these instruments on the world wide web. If you need to find something, look it up there.
Chris B's music has a section of banjos, as well as parts and accessories. There are also some good links there.
Vincent Mondello's 4 string banjo web pages are a tribute to those beautiful old banjos of days gone by, especially the Stromberg Marimbaphone instruments. His father and grandfather worked for Stromberg. Click here to visit this interesting web site.
Paul Hawthorne's Web Site is a great place to visit to learn about the banjo. Paul has his own theories about how banjo should be learned, which are based on much experience. He has written a book called "Gestalt Banjo Volume 1," which has been well received. Visit his pages. You will learn many things. I did.
Banjo-L. This is a comprehensive site with much good general information on the banjo. There is a listing of banjo players and teachers all over the country, plus many good files on tuning, etc. This is also the home of the Banjo-L listserver.
Janet Davis Music Company. Janet is well known for her contributions to bluegrass music as a teacher, a writer and a columnist for Banjo Newsletter. She is also a highly reputable dealer in instruments and accessories.
Jack Hatfield is another well known teacher, writer and Banjo Newsletter columnist. He is also a highy reputable dealer in instruments and accessories. In addition to this, he conducts the banjo seminars at SPBGMA annually.
Wayne Erbsen is a well-known banjoist and singer who has published several instruction books on bluegrass and clawhammer banjo and also has several CD's, not only of instruction, but of Civil War and Western songs. Check him out.
Banjer® Productions is the home page of a fellow Houstonian who has dedicated his life to teaching and playing the 5-string banjo--Anton Ullrich. Drop by his web site and learn about his alternative system of banjo, or should I say, banjer, notation.
The Banjo Loft is the source of those fantastic Vega reproduction necks and conversion necks made by Wyatt Fawley. I have two banjos with Fawley necks on them. One is an RB-5 repro that I have put on a 1925 ball bearing Mastertone rim with a First Quality conversion tone ring in it. The other is a Style M Vega conversion instrument. The work on both banjo necks is immaculate. The engraving on the Vega neck is particularly impressive. I recommend his work and expertise without reservation. He has given me many good tips on banjo setup. If Wyatt has a fault of any kind, it is that it has taken him too long to figure out how much his work is worth.
Gary Price, Ph.D. is the manufacturer of one of the best banjo tailpieces I know of. He also makes excellent banjos, mandolins and mandolin tailpieces. He plays well, too. Give him a visit!
Cork Wirick -- Woodsong Banjos
Mr. Wirick makes an excellent banjo for a reasonable price -- these are individually made, high quality instruments, built in the same fashion as a Mastertone. He only makes a few banjos each year.
No e-mail, but you can call him at 814-623-5440
Web site http://www.woodsongbanjos.com.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Stewart Mac-Donald Guitar Shop Supply. For years, they have supplied parts and tools to banjo and guitar builders the world over.
Sometimes you need special inlays, purfling and other fancy stuff to build your own banjos or other musical instruments. Anita Marquetry, located in the UK, makes "bespoke" or custom inlays for all sorts of projects. Matt Sanders of Anita Marquetry is a banjo player, so he understands our unique needs. Check them out. You will be glad you did. There are other nifty things there, too.
Crafters of Tennessee make some fine instruments -- banjos, guitars and reso-phonic instruments, too. They manufacture the Tennessee 20 tone ring, which is an excellent product,
LouZee Instrument Works, is the home of the LouZee banjo. These banjos will be making their debut at the IBMA convention in October of 2003. They were designed by Mike Longworth, Paul Hopkins and the LouZee development team.
Nechville Musical Products is the home page of the famous Nechville Heli-mount™ Banjo, which Tom Nechville invented several years ago. These are very unusual banjos. They are well made and they sound good. Some rather well known players such as Alison Brown use them. Every one of them I have ever heard has had a strong, clear tone.
Banjo Tablatures and Bluegrass Information This is Philip Mann's Tab Collection and bluegrass information site--lots more links here, too!
Here's an interesting site -- Johnny Adams is a member of Moonlite Express, a Bluegrass band from Central Florida. His web site, called Bluegrass Music Club is located at Houston Bluegrass Gazette What's going on in bluegrass in Houston.
Houston Bluegrass has current information on what is happening in Houston. This includes listings of clubs, venues, organizations, vendors and service personnel. There are also several national links on their pages.
North West Bluegrass News What's going on in bluegrass in North West England, and some other banjo links.
For good information on what is happening in bluegrass, plus some excellent pictures and sound files, go to Bluegrass and Swing Music Magazine.
For Everything Banjo visit Chris B's. Music. There is a wealth of good links on this site.
Curtis McPeake. Curtis is a very reputable vintage instrument dealer and a real expert on the banjo. I have visited his place, and he has some really nice instruments.
Sam Alfano -- Master Engraver. Beautiful engraving by an artist who loves the banjo.
Gold Tone Banjos manufactures reasonably priced instruments. Click here to visit them.
Here's a new site, with listings of classified ads and lots of information on bluegrass festivals, I Bluegrass--the Internet Bluegrass Magazine!
If you like the banjo and are also interested in lots of other things that make you think, click here.
Once in a while a really worthwhile site for the confirmed 5-string banjo addict appears on the internet. This is not Banjos Anonymous--in fact, it isn't even a 12-step program. This is a site by an experienced banjo builder, Richie Dotson, who is sharing his knowledge with the rest of us. Richie has been a regular contributor to Banjo-L and AcuTab for a long time. He even shows you how to do inlay work and how to build banjo bridges. This will make you appreciate what you have, by virtue of the amount of work that actually goes into building a banjo--or even a bridge! Click here for this interesting and informative web site.
House of Musical Traditions Lots of good information on accordions, banjos and unusual instruments--also books, etc. Great emphasis on clawhammer banjo.
For information on an unusual method of setting up a 5-string banjo, and several ways of improving the volume and tone, click here.
For information on banjo setup, click here.
For more links on these and other subjects, click here. There is some duplication of these links.
Front Porch Hall of Fame
©2006 Bill Palmer. All rights reserved. For permission to republish contact Bill Palmer. The opinions expressed on this page are strictly Bill Palmer's. Mastertone, Stelling and the other brand and model names are the property of the manufacturers and other people who own them.