Bill Evans demos the contemporary banjo master’s signature model.
by Teja Gerken
September 13, 2018
A few years ago, contemporary banjo master Tony Trischka began a conversation with the folks at Deering Banjos about creating his ideal banjo, and the result is a pair of recently released signature models. The Tony Trischka Golden Clipper, with its pãua shell binding and inlay, gold hardware, and other deluxe appointments, is the complete realization of Tony’s vision, but, given the Golden Clipper’s list price of $15,999, many banjo players will appreciate that Deering has also built a less elaborate version, the Tony Trischka Silver Clipper, with a list of $5,469. We recently got a Silver Clipper to check out and enlisted Peghead Nation banjo instructor Bill Evans to demonstrate the instrument in this video.
The Silver Clipper’s nickel-plated hardware, acrylic inlays, ivoroid binding, and other variations on its appointments make it less expensive than its pricier sibling, but it is still a fully professional-grade instrument, and its basic construction is largely the same as the Golden Clipper. Deering says that it has the “exact same tone and playability as the Golden Clipper.” Both models feature a radiused fingerboard with two extra frets that extend past the neck joint, a beautiful honey-stained quilted maple resonator, and a mahogany neck, as well as a resonator with tapered sides, which Deering says leads to an increase in projection, Deering’s 06 bell bronze tone ring, one-piece cast zinc flange, True Tone tailpiece, and Smile bridge.
While not quite as elaborate as the shell-inlaid fingerboard on the Golden Clipper, the Silver Clipper’s fingerboard and headstock inlay have the same distinctive design, inspired by the work of Czech art nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha.
Of course, Tony’s dream instrument is not just about appearance. Given his wide-ranging music, tonal versatility was clearly part of his vision. Bill says, “I’ve searched for an instrument that can really handle hard-driving bluegrass as well as pretty melodic stuff or single-string playing, and this instrument really seems to do it all, right out of the box.”
Deering’s Tony Trischka Silver Clipper is a great addition to the company’s line of instruments, and whether you’re a Tony Trischka fan or are simply looking for a banjo that excels at traditional as well as contemporary styles, do yourself a favor and check it out at a Deering dealer.
SPECS: Five-string resonator banjo. Tenbrooks-style three-ply violin-grade maple rim. Quilted maple resonator. 06 bell-bronze tone ring. Notched tension hoop. One-piece cast zinc flange. 24 round hooks with with hex nuts. 11-inch frosted top head. Mahogany neck. Radiused extended ebony fretboard with 24 frets. 26¼-inch scale. 1¼-Inch nut width. Spikes installed at seventh and ninth frets. Acrylic inlays. Deering planetary tuners. Deering geared fifth-string tuner. Nickel plated hardware. Made in USA. List price $5,469. deeringbanjos.com
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