A young man by the name of Earl Scruggs was recommended to him.
Well, I'm sure given some of the beautiful old Mastertones he's played over the years, he thought so, but the real point is that bluegrass IS what Monroe did, and banjo IS what Scruggs did for Monroe (before starting up with Lester Flatt), and Mastertone IS the banjo that he's always played.
In fact, most banjo players today play almost exactly like Earl Scruggs, from the type of picks he uses to the style of playing to the particular type of Mastertone banjo he plays (flathead tone ring, one piece flange).
Had it been an original 5 string, it would be worth about 30-40 thousand dollars today. They return the energy put into them so easily and so cleanly, good pickers will describe them as almost "playing themselves".
I have owned many banjos, including my current arch top Granada which is an awfully good banjo, but none of them have had the quality, power, clarity, crispness, sustain, "snap crackle and pop" of that banjo. The instrument does not fight your efforts to make music come out of it at all. There are so many theories it's almost pointless to list any of them.
Gibson continues to manufacture great banjos in their Mastertone line, many of them copies, or re-issues of some of those glorious banjos from the 20s and 30s.
Perhaps the centerpiece of the bluegrass banjo universe, the "holy grail" of banjos is the Gibson Granada circa 1934 that Scruggs played for years.
I can travel anywhere and I pay good prices promptly! Please call or e-mail today for an appointment to see, play or discuss the larg est selection of guaranteed original, 1930’s Prewar Gibson Conversion Banjos as well as fully original Prewar Flathead Mastertones.
I strive to keep the largest selection on hand at all times.
I've heard folk-myths that claimed that the tone rings were made from everything from used shell casings from WWI artillery pieces to old bells from churches that had been melted and poured into rings. Someday, perhaps, some of the tone rings made today will have the same lore and mystique around them that the old PWs do.
This Gibson is formal enough you could wear it around your neck for a banquet--or at least the bowtie inlays across the fretboard.
Those early designs and patents became what is today still the international standard for mandolin construction.