I have always wanted to play the banjo. I’m not sure why, but the sound of banjo music thrills me. I played a bit of guitar when I was a kid, but had wandered away from it by the time I hit college. As much as I love music, I never tried to play anything as an adult. My education and work took nearly all of my time.
Middle age has a way of reworking priorities, and it occurred to me one day that I might actually be able to learn to play the banjo. I quickly acquired my mom’s banjo (which had never been used) and started taking lessons. In short order, I knew I would persist and I wanted my own special banjo.
I scoured the internet for information on banjos, listening to sound files and reading reviews. I was convinced that the banjo of my dreams was a Chuck Lee banjo. A musical instrument like Chuck’s, however, should belong to a fine musician, and I am most definitely not that. Through an odd series of circumstances (Chuck is a friend of a friend of a friend), I spent some time on the phone with Chuck one Saturday afternoon. He is an amazingly approachable, down to earth guy, and he patiently answered my questions and educated me on the workings of a banjo. By the time we hung up, I decided that I wanted a Chuck Lee banjo soon, and that I could justify it to celebrate my 50th birthday.
Much quicker than I could imagine, I was the owner of a beautiful Chuck Lee Ovilla. Chuck was great about sending pictures and talking with me multiple times to pick out the parts of this instrument. I initially felt a bit awkward about owning such a magnificent banjo. It sounds and looks amazing. I really felt like I didn’t deserve it! For sure, the quality of my playing does not do justice to this banjo, but I benefit from the quality of it every time I pick it up to play. And, I pick it up nearly every day. Slowly but surely, I am learning to play clawhammer banjo. The beautiful sound of this banjo and the ease with which it plays constantly inspires me to keep on playing.