Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Deering Factory Tour

I’m on vacation this week and the wife wanted to meet some friends in San Diego. So we flew down, watched some baseball games at Petco (nice park!), and while we were there, traveled out of the Gaslamp Quarter to the Deering factory. We took public transit and the wife wasn’t crazy about that, but it was worth the trip.

The tour groups are limited so you have to reserve a spot. We assembled in the display room where many, but not all, of the Deering banjos are on display. It was redneck heaven to be able to pick a banjo off the wall and sit down and play it for a while. We then gathered up and headed into the factory. It isn’t real big, but there is a lot of machinery there. The tour includes explanation of how they make the instruments and we got a close up view of the employees at work. I can tell you, they are not laying around. Everyone I saw on the tour was very focused on their work and diligently performing their tasks. It was a lot of fun (for me, the high point of the trip) and didn’t take too long. In fact, after the tour, the guests all reassembled in the display room where we all repeated the process of trying out banjos. The wife and I missed three buses (90 minutes) in the post tour pick-fest. I barely got out of there without buying another banjo.

We did talk about how to learn to play the banjo. Everyone there was familiar with Banjo Ben but I was the only active member. I told them that I liked BBC’s approach and recommended they at least try the silver pick membership.

I’ve provided a link to a few photos from the tour. If you are in the San Diego area, it is worth the trip.






Fond memories of San Diego visited there back in the 1980’s. Coronado Beach, Balboa Park, La Jolla, The Old Town, Gas Light District and the Shopping Mall. Watching hot air balloons drifting north as the sunset over the Pacific from high on the hill near the Scripps Institute like it was yesterday. I wasn’t into banjos back then.

I didn’t know that was an option. I’ll definitely have to remember that for future vacations. Looks awesome!

@Mark_Rocka if you get the timing right three’s a chance that you might meet the Kruger Bros .

1 Like

Wow what a great tour! Wish there were places like this in the UK. Plus having the opportunity to play any banjo is a banjo nerd heaven!

1 Like

Eagle Music Huddersfield, Not a factory but a dealership has a bunch of Deering Banjo’s on display


Oh that’s great! I got so lucky a few years back while in Spring Valley, Ca. I went by for a tour except I didn’t realize there was no tours on Monday’s. I was with my Grandson and I guess he won over the owner’s heartstrings as well as her banjo strings. Malachi and I got the "John Ratzenberger" private tour from her. What an amazing experience that day was…

And how bout that guy at the end tunes every banjo string without a tuner in a matter of seconds!! Oh My…Banjo%20Malichi

Butch B.

Cool! Thanks for the kind words, @The_Mole!

Yes I get my strings from there. I’ve never been to their shop as yet though as it’s quite a way from me.

1 Like

Me 2 Jon, Where are you?

Bluegrass seems to be fairly popular in the Midlands and in the Devon, Dorset, Cornwall area. A few festivals and workshops in those regions. I used to drive down to Blandford each year for an army reunion but never get down that way these day’s. Don’t feel comfortable driving long distances anymore, age and health mostly.

Well I’m in Devon and have been hoping to go to a festival, but now little one has come along things have been pretty busy :rofl:

Your in the right place for some of the major events. If you ask around I am sure you’ll find a luthier fairly close to you.