Peghead Nation Clawhammer Banjo instructor found her dream instrument by chance.
by Teja Gerken
July 27, 2017
Peghead Nation Clawhammer Banjo instructor Evie Ladin had no idea that she was getting an instrument for life when she bought an open-back banjo with no visible name on it from her brother-in-law, musician Sam Bartlett, in the early ’90s for $150. “When I got this banjo from Sam, I thought, ‘When I get better, I’ll get a better banjo. But the better I got, the better it sounded,’ she says.
Evie referred to the banjo as a “no-name” instrument until a repair revealed a stamp inside that said “MC De Fosche.” “An internet search didn’t yield anything, so I put something on my website,” Evie recalls. “Mike De Fosche’s sister got in touch with me, and she said, ‘I think that might be my brother.’ Asking around, I found that Mike De Fosche is a luthier and guitar player, and that he played with Clyde Davenport, but that he doesn’t use the Internet.” Evie wrote Mike a letter, and he remembered the banjo, explaining that he only built the neck, which he attached to a pot that he’d gotten from someone, though he didn’t know who the maker was.
“My sound and playing and this banjo are intertwined,” Evie says. “Every now and then, I try other banjos, and I like the sound of other banjos, but somehow, we keep gravitating toward each other.”
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