I had recently purchase the ‘COTILLION”
model old time banjo from Bob Flesher. To be frank, it is perfect.
The Cotillion is amazingly clear and deep sounding with no meshing
of the notes. It has an ebony tone ring which gives it an amazingly
“bright” tone with none of the Steely Metal sound that usually
accompanies the typical banjos due to them having a metal tone ring.
Thirdly it has a deeper rim that ANY banjo
around. This gives it a nice “Low” base tone with no meshing of the
notes. It has the volume; bass and clear sweet mellow tone that I
have been searching for years.
My Flesher “COTILLION” banjo is the best banjo
I have owned. The inlays are beautiful and very detailed. I have
since sold my other banjos. My musician friends and acquaintances
Bob...it arrived this afternoon. We tracked it
through UPS and my family was at home to get it. Well, I have seen a
fair number of banjos over the years and played a few, but for sure
this is as perfect and beautiful as they come. Most of the more
ornate banjos I've seen fall into the Vega style No. 7 inlay
patterns. They are nice, but this work is amazing.
I too like the shaded touch on the heel
carving. It is just enough for it to show and but enough to
As for sound, it is amazingly loud but the
quality is clear with no metal over tones. Guess the ebony tone ring
makes a difference. I can see that if you tightened the head down,
it would really ring on a bluegrass banjo. Makes me feel all the
lore over Gibson tone rings is more cosmic than real.
I could go on. I've spent most of my time
showing it off to folks that listened to me over the past year or
so. You should see their jaw drop. Makes the wait worth while.
Bob - it is a masterpiece. I cannot thank you
enough and can say this will be a keeper. There is no place to go
but down. By the way, I am particularly glad to have gone with the
nickel plate work. With the color in all that pearl - gold tone
would have taken away from it, for me. I wondered before opening it
if not getting gold would be a mistake. It wasn't.
Thanks Bob. I cannot imagine a more perfect
instrument. – David Emery
I played this banjo all day yesterday, and I am
convinced it is the most responsive of any banjo I have ever owned.
I am able to do things on it that I have not been able to do before
-- and I have been playing for almost 30 years. Left hand
techniques such as pull-offs are louder, easier, require less
effort, and just sound more balanced. I was somewhat skeptical of
the ebony tone ring. I just couldn't see how it could have the
volume, sustain, and penetrate like metal. But when I examine the
craftsmanship of the instrument (and the rim in particular) it
becomes evident that a true professional assembled it. And the
response of this instrument is a combination of quality materials,
and top rate manufacture. You just can't buy an instrument like
this in stores. This is the banjo I will be using all the time for
I just want you to know how pleased I am with
my new banjo. I have been showing it to all my friends and getting
people to play it for me so I can hear it from the other side of the
Everyone who sees it admires the elegant beauty
and the extremely high quality of the craftsmanship. All who hear
it or play it are struck by the rich, clear, sweet tone.
Of the people I play music with, 3 in
particular are craftsmen… one in metal work and two in wood, they
all had very high praise for your craftsmanship. Anyway, I love
it!!!!. I am far beyond being a “SATISFIED CUSTOMER”…
I feel like a pampered client. I will send you
a picture of me and my Quadrille.
E. Hardwick, Vermont
Received the Tarantella today. I suppose you've
heard every superlative in the book. So I'll keep my opinion to one
word, PERFECT .
Thank you for having the patience to build
me such a fine instrument. I am impressed with every aspect of this
banjo. It is better than I imagined! I can't wait to show it around.
Again, thanks for putting so much of yourself into this banjo.
The tone is great... the volume is fantastic...
and the workmanship is incredible. Thank you so much.
Written to a friend…
"The Flesher has become part of my physical
self. Can't hardly put it down. I tweak the hide a little more snug
every day and am about where it should be. Great volume. I can't
imagine what one of his bluegrass banjos sounds like."
The banjo came while I was out at the market. It arrived in perfect
condition. It is absolutely GORGEOUS. Forget your Tubaphones, Whyte
Laydies, Reiters, Ramseys, Bacon Professionals, etc. - this is the
absolute best sounding banjo I have ever heard or played. What more
can I say? Except,
Thanks for Everything,
The quality, sound and workmanship, is
everything I hoped it would be. Keep up the good work. I am proud
to own one of your banjos
Robert Wilson (Buckdancer)
My banjo finally arrived Friday, and I used my spare time over the
weekend getting familiar with it. It really has a very sweet voice:
you seem to be on to something with the ebony tone ring. The
resonance and volume are remarkable--a bit of a revelation. I find
that I have gotten into the habit of striking the strings extra hard
for volume. I'll have to practice lightening up. The lamination and
inlay details also show a high level of craftmanship, as I knew they
would. A very nice job, Regards,
My banjo finally arrived. It is magnificent. I love it!! It has a
decidedly different sound and feel than my two Gordons and, because
of that, I feel it is equally as special.
Your craftsmanship is superb...
I just wanted to share this experience with
you. Yesterday I traveled into St. Louis, about 80 miles away. While
there I went to Music Folk. This store is THE place in St. Louis for
anything related to acoustic music. They carry the largest selection
of banjos in the area. They deal with some of the finest brands
available (Gibson, Deering, Nechville, Ramsey,etc.) I brought my
Grand Promenade with me because I wanted to try out an 11/16 bridge.
When I opened the case the salesman was astounded. He said, "That's
a gorgeous banjo! What kind is it? Where did you get it? Can I try
it? Look at that engraving! Look, it' even engraved on the inside!""
He then had to show it to all the other people who worked there. He
even had to take it back to the repair room to show the owner and
repairman. Everyone was extremely impressed. These people are
exposed to a large number of high quality new and vintage
instruments so they know quality when they see it. This speaks very
highly of your craftsmanship. You are truly a great artist in your
Just thought you might like to hear this.
I just wanted to drop you a note and let you
know how much I have been enjoying my banjo. It is definitely as
advertised and more. It sounds as good as it looks and looks as good
as it sounds. It almost plays itself. My other banjos are collecting
a lot of dust these days.
Just a quick note to say that the banjo
arrived safe and sound today. Truly one of the most beautiful banjos
I've seen... Lovely to look at and to listen to.... and well worth
the wait.... Thanks again and God bless, Barry Mapow
Started playing the instrument I bought from
you a few years ago after a hiatus to have my shoulder operated on.
Damn, I love that banjo. Happy New Year.
MITCHELL A. WEINSTEIN, M.D.