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2Chainz interviews Tony Ullrich

You might not have heard of either of those names (I sure didn’t know who 2Chainz was) but Tony was the banjo teacher of my first banjo teacher, and I even took a few lessons from him before finding Ben.

The interview is all about the Texas Special Deering banjo. Tony still has all of his templates he made to create this masterpiece back in ‘85/86. I actually got to see it in person when taking lessons from him. Wasn’t interested in holding a $22k banjo, though. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I wish they would have gotten more up close shots, and especially of the resonator. It really is a beautiful banjo.


Hi @Mark_Rocka great post. I took some online lessons from Tony Ullrich several years back. He has his own unique style of teaching which I found really difficult to follow, mostly because of his accent but also because it was just a series of licks, nothing was tabbed out so I found it painfully difficult to memorise any of his licks and quickly gave up trying. I wish I could have met him in person so that I could have at least taken down some notes.

Beautiful Banjo and he is a great banjo player. Since he is a Texan maybe @BanjoBen might invite him to the Cabin as a guest and we can all get a close look at that Sess Sequa Sequasen Sesquicentennial Banjo


Yeah, I stopped for a similar reason. On my first lesson, I thought I made it clear that my goal was improvisation. He commenced teaching me a simple version of 9 Pound Hammer… over the next 4 weeks. It literally could have been a single lesson, but I kept rolling with it because I thought this was like a Karate Kid moment. You know “I don’t get what you’re doing, but I’ll trust the process.”

On the 5th lesson he put on a recorded song and commenced improving with it. I said “THAT RIGHT THERE! THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO LEARN!”

He said “I’m not sure what I just did. I was just making it up.”

I said “RIGHT! Teach me how to do that.”

So the next few lessons were on some other simple song with none of the fancy licks he’d just played.

I might have stuck with it, but about that time my wife’s pregnancy got REALLY complicated and she required 24 hour bed rest, so I quit. Soon after that I found Ben.

I like the idea of having him in the cabin. If Ben could corral him and actually get him to teach improv, that would be amazing.

@BanjoBen, if you’re reading this, I’ll do all the legwork if you’re interested in getting Tony in the cabin. Tony is a super nice guy with a lifetime of knowledge of so many things. He really is a walking encyclopedia.


7 posts were merged into an existing topic: Banjo Improvisation

The problem I had was someone else was managing his website. I couldn’t chat to Tony direct. His licks sound great but my head just busted trying to listen to him talk.


That’s funny. Being born and raised in Texas, I never really thought about his accent. Half of the old folks around here sound just like him. :laughing:

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The Scots are the same, especially those with no teeth or intoxicated.

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7 posts were split to a new topic: Banjo Improvisation

Oh, and also maybe we should start a new thread devoted to this topic?

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Good idea. Do you know how to split topics?

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