Hilarie Burhans 

clawhammer banjo

old-time banjo player and teacher based in athens, ohio 

 I seem to have accumulated a number of great banjos; to my frustration and sorrow, it appears that it's pretty much impossible to play more than one at a time.  (Actually one of the banjos in the pic is not mine; it must have wandered over from a neighboring camp at Clifftop.)  And my fretless doesn't appear in this shot either.  But anyway, I play the following:

  • a Fielding Banjos Rooster.  What a honey!  I fell in love with the sound of the thing in Will's booth at Clifftop a couple of years ago; the fact that it was unbelievably gorgeous was just a plus. When I got this I had no business getting another banjo as I was pretty well set in that department.  But I couldn't resist.  I bet Will has tons of great pics on his website, but here's a shot of just the peghead of mine.
  • A banjo composed of the pot from a Vega Little Wonder banjo guitar, with a five-string neck made by Bob White.  A real workhorse, as this one gets dragged around everywhere I go with Hotpoint.  Non-banjo geek types should just ignore the following:  I mic this with an Audio-Technica Pro 7-a miniature cardioid mic attached to the dowel near the heel but pointing toward the tailpiece. In case you're interested. (It's surprising how often I get asked that, so that's why the info is here!)
  • An old Lyon & Healey George Washburn banjo that's been on long-long-term loan to me from my dear friend Mark Hanesworth for like 20 years or more.  It used to be my main banjo but it's in semi-retirement now, wearing Aquila Nyl-Gut strings and a skin head.  I find myself picking it up a lot just lately, and have recorded a bunch of stuff with it recently too.
  • A fretless gourd banjo made by Ohio maker Bill Van Horn.  You can't get more old-timey-sounding than a gut-strung fretless gourd banjo, and this one's no exception.  I get lost in the thing just fooling around with it.  Seems like it's always the low notes that get me hooked on a particular instrument, and this one's no exception.


my banjos and technical stuff 


pics and video links