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Sessions Overview:


  1. Session 1: Keynote Address, 2:00 - 2:20 pm: Welcome to BANJO EXPO

  2. Session 2, 2:30 - 3:30 pm: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    Update on Wood & Material Restrictions - Use of Endangered Species Explained
  3. BANJO EXPO kicks off with a presentation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A representative will address the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The most up-to-date information, amendments and restrictions on the international use, trade and transport of products, in whole or part, comprised of endangered species such as wood, Mother of Pearl, ivory, tortoiseshell and other materials will be explained.

  4. Session 3, 3:45 - 4:45 pm: Balsam Banjoworks, Companion Banjos, TBA
    Sourcing Banjo Building Materials
  5. This session will explore options for sourcing materials commonly used and available to builders that manufacture musical instruments, including banjos. Locating woods, metals, inlays and parts will be discussed as well as vendors who may offer alternative components and raw materials.

    • 5:00 pm: Maria Fairchild Perfomance
    • 6:00 pm: Dinner
    • 7:00 pm: Perfomance TBA

  6. Session 4, 8:00 - 8:50 pm: Robert Anderson, TBA
    Meeting the Challenge of Building Boutique & Custom Banjos
  7. What is a "boutique banjo?" How does making and marketing boutique banjos differ from what larger banjo companies experience? What solutions exist for challenges faced by boutique and custom banjo builders? Sit in on this session and learn about the boutique and custom segment of banjo building.

  8. Session 5, 9:00 pm: Banjo Showcase (Builder's must sign up for this session to participate.)
    Builders Demonstrate their Instruments
  9. Running on a predetermined schedule, builders will highlight one of their banjos. Each builder will have a fixed amount of time to show, describe and play, or have one of their banjos played, while they explain why their selected instrument is unique or special. (Banjo builders must sign up beforehand to be scheduled for this session.)


  10. Session 6, 9:30 am: Craig Evans
    North American Banjo Builders - an Integral Part of Our Traditional Music Community
  11. This Film and Presentation of one hour begins by asking, "So you want to build banjos?" Congratulations! You’re now one more member in a long line of incredible artists that find themselves fascinated with this odd combination of musical instrument and art! But what do you know of the banjo’s history? And have you yet immersed yourself in the music this thing makes...or in the Traditional Music Community in which you now find yourself? This delightfully mysterious instrument that intrigues and baffles us has many stories to tell. As a previous pilgrim on this amazing journey, I can tell you, buckle up. This is the adventure of a lifetime.

  12. Session 7, 10:30 am: Craig Evans, Tim Gardner, Bob Thornburg, Chuck Ogsbury
    "Why Build?
  13. Back to the first question; “Do you really want to build banjos?” we ask, if you’ve not yet tried, there are basics you’ll need to learn to save time and money. Let's focus on time. Can you fit building into your schedule? And where is this building going to take place? And what about money? It’ll take some to get you set up. Do you have a blueprint in you to build a desirable banjo? If so, what if demand and money aren’t there even though you make an incredible instrument? How will you deal with that? do you define “success?” Tough questions! Come hear successful banjo builders share their journeys.

  14. Session 8, 11:45 - 1:15 pm: Banjo Facility Tour # 1 with Robert Anderson!
    RM Anderson Banjo Shop
  15. Join Robert Anderson on a guided tour of the RM Anderson Banjo Shop in Weaverville. This session will take place during Saturday's lunch time. The RM Anderson facility is a short driving distance from BANJO EXPO. Meet Robert in the lobby at 11:45 am to coordinate. Private vehicles will be used.

    • 12:00 pm: Lunch

  16. Session 9, 1:00 - 2:00 pm: TBA
    Marketing Banjos in Today's Economic Environment
  17. TBA

  18. Session 10, 2:15 - 3:15 pm: Randy & Will Hughes
    Luthier Workshop
  19. Randy Hughes is known for making great guitars. His reputation for setting up, diagnosing and improving stringed instruments is legendary. In part of his session, Randy and his son Will, will present slides showing how they have transformed their equipment...and their shop...into a dynamic, automated and efficient workplace. He will also explain techniques for improving your instruments playability while offering tips that will reveal what astute players consider when shopping for their next instrument.

  20. Session 11, 3:30 - 4:45 pm: Myron Koenig, Harry Sparks, Chris Sorenson
    Altering Sound Variables
  21. The panelists in this session will explore techniques required for improving your banjo's pre-sales playability and tone. They will discuss setup, action, head mechanics, coordinator rod adjustments, string choice and termination, bridges, intonation, methods of diagnosis and other variables that affect sound and an instrument's ultimate desirability.

    • 5:00 pm: Ken Perlman Perfomance
    • 6:00 pm: Dinner
    • 7:00 pm: Akira Satake Perfomance

  22. Session 12, 8:00 - 9:20 pm: Chuck Ogsbury, Myron Koenig, Doug Hutchens, Barry Palmer
    Ode-Baldwin-Ome Gathering
  23. Meet Chuck Ogsbury, creator of Legendary Ode banjos and experience the first Ode-Baldwin-Ome gathering in history. Other luminaries including Myron Koenig, the Baldwin executive in charge when Baldwin bought Ode and experts Doug Hutchins and Barry Palmer (one of Banjothon's managers) will be on hand to discuss and answer questions. Enjoy the lore...the stories and the way things really unfolded as the Ode brand was absorbed by Baldwin before Chuck launched Ome banjos. Learn why Baldwins and Odes are still considered some of the finest banjos ever made! A number of landmark Ode & Baldwin banjos will be on hand as well as experts well acquainted with these wonderful banjos.

  24. Session 13, 9:30 pm: North Carolina Banjo Clinic Instructors
    What Do Players Want in Today's Banjos?
  25. Is it tone, weight, looks or price? Or - is it loyalty to a brand or era. Maybe it's all of the above! North Carolina Banjo Clinic bluegrass and clawhammer instructors will discuss what they look for in a banjo. Come listen and enjoy as a group of professional banjo players discuss their "Holy Grail." Their responses may surprise you.


  26. Session 14, 9:30 - 10:15 am: TBA
    Establish & Maintain Quality Control
  27. Mechanisms that support excellence lead to sustainable growth and ultimately, profitability. Quality control is one of those mechanisms. QC is the act of ensuring that a company's goods and services are built and delivered to spec, on time and at or below the expected cost. Another way to describe this would be attaining consistent cost-driven quality in spite of personnel changes, shifting economic climates and/or supply-chain disruptions. It's a developed culture nurtured with care, professionalism and expectations rooted in higher standards. Nobody and nothing is perfect. However, as banjo builders, what can we do to better to control quality, reduce the number of defects while establishing a reputation for offering the finest musical instruments available?

  28. Session 15, 10:30 - 11:30 am: Patrick Heavner
    Building Open Back Banjos Out Of Sustainable Materials
  29. So - where are banjos going in the 21st century? One direction is that they will be built in whole, or in part out of sustainable materials; products derived from natural, recycled or sustainable sources. In some cases material density may be altered, or delignified, in order to achieve better tone and improved working or acoustical properties. In other cases, thermal and pressure treatment can produce materials well suited for banjo construction. Many synthetic materials such as ebonite and plastics and parts resulting from injection molding are available and shop-ready right now. Come and enjoy Patrick's presentation on building sustainable banjos. It just might change your perspective on what's possible in building your next banjo.

  30. Session 16, 11:45 - 1:15 pm: Banjo Facility Tour # 2 with Patrick Heavner!
    Pisgah Banjo Manufacturing Facility
  31. Join Patrick Heavner on a guided tour of the Pisgah Banjo Manufacturing Facility in Fletcher. This session will take place during Sunday's lunch time. The Pisgah facility is a short driving distance from BANJO EXPO. Meet Patrick in the lobby at 11:45 am to coordinate. Private vehicles will be used.

    • 12:00 pm: Lunch

  32. Session 17, 1:00 - 2:00 pm: Barry Palmer, Mike Johnson, Frank Schoepf, Greg Earnest
    Explaining the Pre-War Bluegrass Banjo Mystique
  33. Mastertone and pre-war Gibson are magical words to many bluegrass banjoists. Have you wondered about these banjos? The panelists will discuss why Gibson-produced banjos such as Recording King, Studio King, Kel Kroydon and others are sought after. Learn about rare & factory-original flathead and arch top 5-string banjos including non-Mastertone Gibsons. In building banjos, are you trying to attain a pre-war sound? What’s the secret to getting there? Sure, it’s in the player’s hands but what about the base materials and components? Is there more to it than aging? Find out what Barry, Mike, Frank and Greg think.

  34. Session 18, 2:10 - 3:00 pm: Barry Sholder, Bob Thornburg, Teilhard Frost, Brian Carver
    Gourd Construction Techniques
  35. What do fixtures, raw gourds, waxed cords, sinews and flat glass beads have in common? If you're thinking gourd banjos, can you explain what a gourd banjo is? More curiously...what's a gourd? And more importantly yet, why do gourd banjos sound so good, so earthly and neat? The participants in this session will explore various techniques for configuring gourd banjos. Learn about different materials, everyday - household components and ways of constructing gourd banjos that will result in an instrument most players find hard to put down.

  36. Session 19, 3:10 - 4:00 pm: Chris Sorenson, TBA
    Ring/Rim Combinations
  37. The rim and tone ring comprise the heart of a banjo. Combined they carry an essence of mystery and allure that keeps players and builders searching of the ultimate combination. Join of panel of builders as they discuss concepts surrounding tone ring and rim design. Items such as metallurgy, tone rings, metal versus total wood design, rim to ring fit, achieving optimal tonal characteristics and production concerns will be discussed. Additional concepts such as rim style, wood choice and dimensional attributes are sure to be on the docket.

Other On-going Exhibit/ Show Room Demonstrations & Activities:

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