Banjo builder Bob Rock

Banjo builder Bob Rock
Picture from BU magazine, August 1993

From Steve Millard...and thanks!

My wife and I knew Bob Rock back in 1975 when we ran a general store in Chenysville, just east of Clearville, south of Everett, PA. I bought his VERY FIRST handmade banjo for $40 from 2 beautiful elderly twin sisters, whom I also learned how to play clawhammer. They played this banjo, and sang old mountain songs in lovely harmony. I have no idea why they sold it to me, except to encourge me to play. To this day I kick myself for not being mature enough to have recorded their music (I was just a kid).
I still own his banjo, that has 'star' and 'moon' pearl inlays that he carved out of large pearl buttons from his mothers coat of the '20s era. It's an open back banjo that plays fantastic to this day...strong and vibrant! We were invited to a 'Banjo Orchestra Convention' in Willamsport, PA (I was along time ago) by Bob and his wife and were very welcomed as some of the youngest folks to show an interest. Imagine, 25 banjos of various sizes on one stage playing band and minstrel tunes all at once! At that time, however, I was mostly interested in 'Old Time' music. I was inspired to learn how to build banjos from Bob (who also had a blacksmith barn where he made his rims and head ring from scratch!)... but Eliza and I moved on soon after we were relieved of the store chore. I have several pics of Bob holding his 'Gibson' copy at his house from 1974. Thought ya'll'd like to know.
Steve MillardMILLARD DESIGN - Yancey County

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