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The Banjo-ification of Pop: Why the Instrument Is Everywhere

November 11, 2013

Entertainment

In 1963, when the folk-music trend made a young Greg Deering want to learn to play the banjo, his mother said no. But he was obsessed, desperate to create the sounds he had heard on a Kingston Trio record. When he was 13, he saved his paper-route money for a month and splurged on a $20 instrument advertised in a local San Diego newspaper—over the objections of his mother, who was convinced he was wasting his hard-earned cash on a passing fad.

“Every time I turned around, I had somebody discourage me,” he recalls, “That just increased my resolve.”

That resolve turned an obsession into a vocation: in 1975, he and his wife Janet went into business as the Deering Banjo Company and, nearly 40 years—and more than 76,000 banjos—later their company is the leading banjo manufacturer in the U.S.  And these days, interest in the instrument is about to…

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