I first came across Nechville Banjos back in 2000. I saw Alison Brown playing a banjo with a cascade inlay that was just out of this world and it sounded so great it made me very curious.
I was playing my first good banjo at the time, a Gibson Earl Scruggs that I purchased from the Olde Town Pickin Parlor in Arvada a couple of years before.
During the intermission of Alison’s concert I asked her about this banjo she was playing and she said it was Nechville Nextar, so I asked if I could try it and she said yes.
The next day I was on the phone with Tom Nechville and ordered my first Nechville banjo, indeed a Nextar with Cascade inlays.
When I finally got it I couldn’t believe the ease of playing a radius fingerboard and the warm tone that came from it. It was exactly the tone I was looking for, mellow, warm and yet punchy when it needed to be.
It fit my musical style as I was going from a traditional bluegrass style to a more progressive style that required that kind of tone.
I had that banjo (and still have it) for many years and recorded two albums with it.
On another end, I had the chance to talk to many other banjo players and realized that the same reasons why I loved this banjo were the reasons why many other more traditional banjo players didn’t like it as much as I did.
Some more traditional banjo players said it was too quiet and they prefer the louder and plunkier sound of Gibson or even Stelling Banjos.
I personally like the sound of my Nechville better than any other banjo I have or had but one thing has to be said about the radius fingerboard: it fits my hand better than a flat fingerboard and now, because I got used to it, I really have a hard time playing a banjo with a flat fingerboard.
I now had Tom build me my own signature banjo, basically a Phantom but with black finish and my own set of inlays ass well as a bridge that spells my last name.
I love the look and feel of the tunneled fifth string and the sound of the Cyclotronic Ball Bearing tone ring.
So, my point, if you’re looking for a warm a sweet sound and ease of playing from a banjo, then Nechville is the way to go.
If you are looking for punch and bright and be able to stand out in a jam with 20 really loud guitar players, then maybe a Deering or a Stelling or even a Gibson (if you can find one) might be a better choice for you.
If in doubt, come to Penny Lane and try one of our Nechville Banjos in stock and compare it with our selection of other more traditional banjos.