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.