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Showing posts from March, 2013

The Biologist's Eye: A Look at the Artistry of Buckeye Banjos

Biology doesn’t sound like a standard resume item for a banjo builder, but don’t tell that to Greg Galbreath of Buckeye Banjos. Ever since starting his company in 2005, he has built a sturdy reputation and now boasts a waiting list of three and a half years for one of his custom-built banjos.

With a background in conservation biology, Galbreath holds a master’s degree in ecology from Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y. Buckeye Banjos is based in Eggleston, Va., at the base of the company’s namesake, Buckeye Mountain, about 16 miles outside of Blacksburg, where Galbreath studied biology at Virginia Tech.

Although Blacksburg lies an hour north of Galax, home of the famous fiddler’s convention, Galbreath got hooked on banjo and old-time music while living in Ithaca. After he finished his studies, he moved back to Southwest Virginia in 1996 to be closer to the source of the music. Upon returning to the region, he went searching for someone to teach him clawhammer banjo and found a new ca…