W.P. West from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma


#1

WP%20West

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
Maybe Saturday evening music shows during the 60’s are what first intrigued me. I think I have just always wanted to play banjo. Life circumstances just never allowed this to happen. I was allowed to be in my school band from the 6th grade until 9th as long as it was during regular school times. During this time I played the trombone and learned to read and understand music, but all I really wanted was to play strings. I have picked around on the guitar over the years, but very minimally.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
My life took a drastic turn in 2008. I was involved in a work accident and it nearly cost me my life. I was unable to work and spent the next 4 plus years with constant doctor appointments and 3 times per week in extensive physical therapy sessions. Through God’s grace, by the beginning of 2013 I had improved enough that I could get around on my own. Through all this I had become extremely restless, you can only watch so much TV and I don’t do well with idle hands.

I decided that I wanted to seriously start learning to play banjo. I think a lot before I act, and the store banjos that I had picked around on just didn’t give me what I wanted in sound, playability, etc. With this I searched for good used higher end banjos but just couldn’t find what I was needing.

While researching I found Bishline Banjos in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I planed and designed my own instrument to have Rob Bishline build for me. He got it built and I started serious picking and learning in February 2014.

I know this will sound biased, but it’s the best instrument I could have ever found. Just having this custom banjo by itself has helped me be a better player, faster. I can’t say enough about her. Oh, by the way her name is “Jaclyn” and my wife calls her my Hussy. I guess because I spend so much time with her. LOL

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
My favorite lesson of Ben’s has been O Holy Night. It was probably to advanced for me at the time, but Ben’s arrangement is just so beautiful. I just had to learn it. It really pushed my limits but has been amazing how much that one song has taught me, with finger placement being my best advancement. I practiced it for nearly 5 months and played it for our church Christmas special in 2016. It went very well and I found out it was my pastor favorite, after service.

What’s your goal when playing?
I have gone at learning with gusto. My goal has been to try to cram 30 years of lost time into 5, and I have done a pretty good job of it. I want to be able to improvise with ease better while jamming. Especially when playing with people whom I have not played before, and not knowing the songs.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I like all kinds of music, but I would have to say that bluegrass gospel is my favorite. I try to play songs at church that have different arrangements, that don’t sound like hymns. Ben’s arrangements have just been wonderful. Thanks Ben!!

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep I know that I’d utilize that time very wisely. Time just gets away from us all and I don’t want to waste a second of it.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I don’t know how long I have been a Gold Pick Member, you would have to check that for me. I did use it for over a year before I joined. I used my friends when I visited him but that ended up not being enough. So I signed up for myself. Great Decision.

What do you do for a living?
I own my own business. I have a dump truck and haul building materials for construction sites, I love it.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
My best adventures are packing in the mountains with my mules and my best friend Rickey. Brisk nights picking music around a campfire can’t be beat. It’s heaven on earth.

WP%20West%202


#2

Welcome, West!


#3

Congrats, W.P. on the GPMOTW. That’s a beautiful banjo by Rob, he does some awesome “custom” work, which model did you get “customed”?. At least your close to Tulsa, that makes it a bit easier to see what he had on hand. I’m sorry to hear about your work accident, glad you were able to pull through. Welcome to the best online instructions around, bar none.


#4

Congrats, W. P. ! Anyone from OK with Texas on their headstock clearly knows what’s up. Glad to meet you.


#5

Thank you very much Tye, I never went to Rob’s store until he had my banjo finished. The entire design was mine down to the last detail with the walnut armrest being the only combined decision. He kept me up to date with email and photos. I think he is a artistic magician, and he has found his calling building the highest quality banjos. Rob has since become a close friend and I have learn a lot from him.


#6

@weeblewest963 ya i look at Robs customs all the time and drool. I have ideas on what i want on my next one. I did email him about one sometime back, he was very willing to help out with what i might want. I also might just buy a stock one and do some “upgrades”, not sure yet, have to get back to work and save some $.


#7

Nice looking mules. Looks like there might be some trout in that stream too.


#8

@weeblewest963 My dad had a couple trucks and I spent several summers building drilling pads. Most of my driving was in a '96 Mack CH. The first time my girlfriend (now wife) came home with me to meet my folks, my dad needed me to drive for the day. Poor Hannah spent the whole day off road in that passenger seat that has no air suspension. She was sore for 2 weeks. haha


#9

Nice to get to know you a bit, WP. Reading your interview, the only thing I can think is here is someone “Living the Dream”!!


#10

Congrats WP on being selected as this weeks GPMOTW


#11

Congrats. W.P. You are a very talented person. You put everything you have into your commitments. When you decided to play the banjo you took off and did not look back!


#12

Congrats. I really enjoyed reading your profile!


#13

Thank very much Rickey, you are and always have been an inspiration to me. I am really giving it my all. Can’t wait till out next trip. SHINE ON my brother. Love ya Big.


#14

100 percent, Native Born TEXAN


#15

I can promise that you can’t go wrong with any of Rob’s instruments. He is also one heck of a musician. I have since played several of his banjos and they are all wonderful. If you speak to him tell him , “Weeble speaks highly of all his work”.


#16

I have over 2 million miles driven and most of them were either in a R model and the later the CH’s so I know exactly what you mean. It’s rough enough in the drivers seat, I feel sorry for anyone that had to ride on the off side. She stuck with you, so that says a lot. LOL