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!

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About Phill Gibson

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Systems Engineer and part-time banjo and mandolin instructor. I've been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin at about age 17 and banjo at 20. I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play Scruggs and melodic and am working on becoming more advanced with single string. I'm also working on 4-finger banjo, which is way off the beaten path. I would like to see more jazz techniques integrated into bluegrass situations; counterpoint, especially. So long-term, that's what I'm doing. I'm also very keen on astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, christian homeschooling, martial arts, organic gardening and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.
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