Who is the banjo wizard?
That's a fair question. The answer depends on who you ask. If you are asking me, the answer is as follows:
My name is Bill Palmer. I played the banjo -- 5 string, tenor and plectrum -- professionally, along with other musical instruments, for 16 years, from 1959 to 1975. In 1974, I decided to become a full time professional magician. In 1975, I began to play the part of Merlin the Magician at the Texas Renaissance Festival, a career that lasted for 26 years. During the time that I played the banjo professionally, I worked for several music stores in the Houston area, and was a Gibson technician. Back then, it was easier to become a Gibson technician than it is now. I set up hundreds of banjos for customers and for the music stores, themselves.
I continued to set up instruments after I became a professional magician. I still set banjos up for a couple of music stores and for my own private clients.
I built many of the first instruments I had from parts, because I couldn't afford a "real" banjo. I'm not a luthier, though. I don't make necks, and there are some luthiery jobs that I avoid like the plague.
For many reasons, I don't claim to be an expert, whatever that is, but everything on my web site is based on sound scientific principles and years of experience -- some of it mine and some of it that I have learned from other people.
If you ask some of my detractors, and there are some, I am a retired magician who has nothing but time on his hands who sits around the house and tinkers with banjos. That's pretty funny! I'm not retired. I still do plenty of shows. I'm just very selective about the ones that I do. And since I also run a publishing company, I don't have a lot of time on my hands. But I do like to tinker with banjos. I can't claim that I ever worked with any Nashville bands that nobody remembers anymore, though.
The only thing I can say is this: people who follow the principles on my pages have set up their own banjos and made them sound better. I get at least a dozen e-mails per week from people who say just that. And I also am able to bring banjos that make people sit up and take notice to any jam that I decide to attend. And I have been invited to teach banjo setup at workshops in Europe and Canada.
So, if you don't mind reading the ideas of a "retired magician who has nothing but time on his hands," (don't I wish!!!) then visit the site!
In order to satisfy an ever-diminishing number of requests to see what I look like -- here I am!
Bill Palmer -- The Banjo Wizard
The banjo is LouZeeŽ#3 -- a DeLuxe Plus.
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©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.