THE ULTIMATE TOURING BANJO
“For those stay-at-home banjo players or studio-heads, all the pick-up options mean it’s also an exceptionally dynamic recording instrument, with ever greater possibilities of making sounds not heard before. Not to mention, its warm and bright acoustic tone for that classic sound.”
The Winston Marshall Signature Model is, in his own words, the ultimate touring banjo. Every detail of this banjo has a purpose and is the result of more than a year of close collaboration between Deering and Winston. Some are by necessity – features that he has adopted over the last eight years of playing Deering Eagle II banjos on some of the biggest stages on the planet. Others are personal aesthetics, revealing a glimpse into the mind of the man who has arguably bought banjo to the forefront of modern popular culture more than anyone before him.
On the surface, one could argue that this banjo is quite understated. However, underneath this smooth simplicity lies a beating heart of banjo innovation.
The electronics are a key feature of the Winston Marshall Model. The Kavanjo/piezo blended pickups were inspired by a similar system from Deering’s Phoenix banjo, only taken up a notch specifically for Winston’s Signature Model and his touring needs.
This new set-up is the Kavanjo Blender System DVS (Dual Volume Switch) model which features two knobs which allow the player to control the volume of the Kavanjo and Piezo separately to get the perfect honed-in mix between the two. The volume knobs on this model have also moved location from the traditional “below strings” of an electric guitar, up to the top shoulder of the rim of the banjo, more akin to the EQ dials of an acoustic guitar, for ease of access.
Nestled in between the knobs is a 3-way toggle switch, giving the player the ability to quickly select the Kavanjo at the neck position, the piezo at the bridge position, or simply blend the two at the flick of a switch.
With a standard guitar cable players can plug directly into an amp, DI, or pedal board and be ready to roll. However, look closely, and you will notice something different about Winston’s banjo. Snugged in next to the jack, is an XLR jack. This is an added tool that compliments (or works alongside) the pickups. You can install your favorite mic, by simply plugging it into the XLR jack and strapping it to the coordinator rods. This is a feature Winston has used from time to time on tour and, together with the pickups, gives the broadest range of amplification control and options possible on a banjo.
The Grenadillo wood Tone Ring has two benefits. It gives the banjo a significantly lighter weight which is heaven sent for players like Winston who like the freedom to move on stage. While at the same time giving a warm depth of tone while not losing on the bright side of the tonal range. This has become the tone ring of choice for many professional mainstream players.
The banjo itself is a maple banjo, stained in a rich dark amber and finished in a sleek, understated satin finish. The fingerboard inlays are all Winston. All the inlay work is mother of pearl, with the majority of fret markers depicting the shield motif from Gentlemen of the Road [GOTR]. Winston’s name features at the 19th fret, while the symbol of his home the Union Flag waves across the seventh fret. The peghead is adorned by the original “Willis”, Mumford & Son’s long-standing, top hat wearing mascot who has become synonymous with the band since day one.
List price: $4599.00