Benji Flaming

How is your banjo set up? What are your favorite string gauges, bridge, head, tension, etc. (we gear-heads have to know). Also, you hold your instrument like an upright bass. Is there some benefit?

Benji Flaming responded on 11/12/2010

I think I've addressed most setup details in the questions I answered just moments before answering yours, so I'll avoid repeating that information. The head on my instrument is whatever generic Remo head Tom Nechville uses on his instruments. I tried a different kind of head once, but at this point I'm happy with the way the instrument is responding, and any substantial changes might adversely alter the way certain notes blend together in my existing arrangements.

As for the way I hold the instrument, it allows the left hand to make bigger stretches, which is especially useful for solo material (since you may, for example, want to hold a bass note, while simultaneously reaching for a distant melody note). When performing with a band, around a single mic, it also makes it easier to move around, since it minimizes the required square footage. Finally, sometimes I deliberately exaggerate it onstage, in order to create what I hope will be an interesting and unusual visual aesthetic.

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