Béla on the Cover of Downbeat

Have you noticed that Béla Fleck is on the cover of the June 2009 issue of Downbeat magazine? He’s also on the cover of Banjo Newsletter for the same month. Amazing – I heard that this is the first time a lone banjo player has been featured on the cover of Downbeat. Perhaps that should read a 5-string banjo player? Surely a tenor player or two has been on the cover before – I don’t know.

Notice that banjo slung over his shoulder on the Downbeat cover? Do the frets number more like a tenor, despite the fifth string? It’s a bit of a large drum head as well. He’s holding his Goldtone Cello banjo. One of my students has this same cello banjo model and it’s very nice. It makes you want to start arranging three part harmonies for piccolo, standard and cello banjos!

About Phill Gibson

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Software Engineer and part-time banjo instructor. My wife Miiko and I worship at Rivertree Downtown. I've been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin and dulcimer at about age 17 and banjo at 20. I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play and teach Scruggs, melodic, clawhammer, and 2-finger styles. I'm also very keen on theology, being a Trail Care Partner with the Land Trust of North Alabama, photography, urban planning, architecture, astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, martial arts, and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.
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