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Welcome Banjo Players - ALL OTHERS PLEASE BEWARE!

CAUTION! If you are not a banjo player do not read past this line under DANGER of becoming one !!!!

Although I have been guitar player for 49 years (WOW- time flies when you don't know what you're doin), if you ask me what I play I will answer "the banjo".

I don't know why this is, maybe you do. Perhaps it is because there are fewer of us then others and I want to stand out, maybe it is because the banjo looks so strange with it's extra little string and those funny pegs sticking out of the peghead and the lovely shape of the pot with all of the intricate bracket hooks. Maybe it is the flange and the resonator that keeps the eye wandering around the rim of the banjo looking for that extra little detail that makes each model unique.

Who knows why I answer "the banjo". Like they say in the movie Shakespere in Love, when asked how does a play ever succeed the answer was "It's a mystery".

Have you noticed that we are all a little different than most folks. It seems to manifest itself in various ways. Some of us are shy retiring folks, almost closet like in our ability to admit our addiction, I mean skill. Some of us are sorta chubby (like me) and get a vacant lost in space look when we play, where we go I couldn't say but in that wonderful space between the front end of the song and last tag, there is place where our fingers do their thing on their own and our mind is free to wander around trying different little notes, either with some finger or maybe the thumb that might work with that phase. And in the end, the song finishes and then it's a break and on to the next set.

So you think you have it bad, let me tell you I have it even worse. It was not enough for me love banjos and have one or two. I love them all. From the quirkey old barely playable Larks to the stellar Stellings and the Gibson Granadas. And what about the Deerings. I have saved some of the best for last. How about a Deering Tenbrooks Saratoga Star with a Jens Kruger Bronze tone ring. So what did I do, I opened a music store to surround myself with wonderful instruments and people who feel the same. So what does this mean to you. It means that I love to talk banjo and more importantly to learn. I hope you will call me with questions so we can talk banjo. I even hope I can't answer some questions so I will have to call my buddy Barry at Deering or whoever to get the answer for both of us.

Let me share some thoughts with you I had about the nature of my business. I know it is a flight of fancy, and I promise you I do not use drugs, but I like to think of Crocodile Music in a special way.

Each banjo has certain physical characteristics that help define it's personality. For example my old Lark. I got it sort of beat up, a few rusty strings on it and unplayable. It sat in my closet for 5 or 10 years then after some work it is now my loaner for students just starting, as it was for me. For the Lark, I am like a permanent assisted living rehab house. Other banjos come in brand new like my Goldtone Whyte Lady Plus. She is a princess in need of a castle to wait for someone like Rebekah Weiler to take her to her new home on stage

Then there are the everyday guys, "The Deering Goodtimes". They're tough and relatively cheap and they just want to as they say "have a good time". They par_tay and drink a lot . They're loud and sometimes obnoxious when in the wrong hands. For them, I am "The Crocodile Bar and Grill" Where our prices don't bite but all of our tunes are snappy. Then there is my Cox Crown banjo. Here is the story of my Cox banjo.

I used to have a bed and breakfast called The Brewster Inn of Dexter, Maine which was where I learned to play banjo. I was the rhythm guitar player for a band called Big Daddy O' and the Acellerators, but wanted to do more lead stuff. After some time on my Lark banjo I decided I needed a better banjo. Of course in Dexter, Maine the nearest dealer that had any upper level instruments was in New Hampshire, a 3 hour ride away. However near Camden, Maine there is a luthier named Ron Pinkham who has a shop that always has fine new and used instruments. I called Ron and drove an hour and half to the shop and bought my Cox CROWN banjo. It is not the fanciest of Jimmie Cox's banjo and it is not the loudest. But I dare say it is one of the sweetest banjos I have ever played. I play it 20 hours a week and I will never sell it. (Never say never)! I must admit though, when I first got it I was such a novice that I didn't appreciate it. I almost returned it the first week. Ron will verify that fact if he remembers. Although it plays like a dream it was just so different from my cheap banjo that it wasn't the loud tinny sound that I had gotten used to. As I got better I started to appreciate it for what it is. So the lesson for you would be players, if you got this far without falling asleep, is that you have to play a good banjo to really appreciate one, and you have to attain a certain proficiency to make the step to the next level of banjo ownership, whatever it is.

And for my Cox banjo, Crocodile Music is home. And I hope you come to visit me and all of my banjos here at home.

Mike

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