If you've never seen Béla Fleck in concert, we highly suggest you do. Béla is on the perennial roster at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, so we have the great fortune to see him play every June. Béla pushes the banjo to a higher level of musicality, and witnessing Béla's banjo acrobatics is about as inspiring as it gets.
After years of collaboration and conversations with Bela, the Gold Tone Mastertone Bluegrass Heart banjo was designed to be close enough in sound and feel to serve as a performance-grade backup for Bela's “Number 1.” Initially this was to be a one-off instrument, but as the design progressed and the prototypes produced results that got closer and closer to a banjo that could serve as a worthy stand-in for his main banjo, the possibility of a Signature Model was raised and discussed. The Gold Tone “Bluegrass Heart” Béla Fleck Signature Banjo is now a reality.
Béla's "Number 1" is a 1937 Style 75 Mastertone pot with a neck built to Béla’s specifications by the great luthier John Monteleone. This neck is slightly heftier than a traditional banjo neck—a bit wider and thicker with a radiused fretboard. Béla thought the radius and the extra room on the fretboard would facilitate the single-string techniques he was developing, and he was quite right.
The Gold Tone “Bluegrass Heart” Béla Fleck Signature Banjo is a professional-grade banjo that provides the feel and the tone of Béla’s prewar masterpiece. Every detail of this instrument is a result of personal, hands-on development with Béla. It is constructed with the finest components available to optimize the sound and the playing experience. The Prucha Presto tailpiece, Rickard Cyclone 10:1 tuning machines (with custom, red-anodized brass buttons for added peghead mass), custom bridge, and Little Mountain armrest all do their part to enhance tuning ease and stability, full-bodied tone and playing comfort.
- Scale Length: 26-1/4
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Rim: 11″ 3-Ply Canadian Maple
- Resonator: Mahogany with Concentric Rings
- Head:Black Suede
- Tension Hoop: 11″ Notched
- Flange: One-Piece Die cast
- Tone Ring: 11″ Bell Bronze Flat Top (No Hole)
- Tailpiece: Prucha Presto
- Bridge: Maple with Padauk Cap (7/8″- 10″ Radius)
- Nut: Bone Glide Installed, 1-3/8″
- Tuners: Rickard Cyclone (10:1 Ratio) w/ Amber Buttons
- Inlays: Flying Eagle with Red Hearts
- Armrest: Little Mountain Style
- Coordinator Rods: Dual 11″
- Finish: Satin
- Weight: 11.5 lbs
- Case: White Fiberglass Hardshell Case