Past Exhibits

The Banjo World of Steve Martin

February 2016-January 2017

Best known for films such as The Jerk, The Pink Panther and, most recently, the animated feature Home, as well as numerous written works, Martin has become an American entertainment institution. However, few people are truly familiar with his musical prowess. The Banjo World of Steve Martin features Martin’s skill as a banjo player as part of his “Wild and Crazy Guy” persona. From the early years at Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm to later years when his career returned to its musical roots, resulting in award winning and critically acclaimed recordings, concerts and theatrical presentations.

The exhibit featured three of Martin’s banjos which were on personal loan for an exclusive exhibit at the American Banjo Museum. Martin’s 1959 Gibson RB-170 was his first banjo and the one he learned to play the three-finger picking style of Earl Scruggs by slowing down Scruggs' recordings to half their original speed. The 1927 Gibson Florentine was Martin’s second banjo and the one most associated with his career, as well as his personal favorite. The 1926 Gibson Granada which features Gibson’s unique “ball bearing” tone system is only used for one song Rare Bird Alert, which Martin penned. In addition to memorabilia and rare photos, The Banjo World of Steve Martin features an exclusive interview where Martin discusses his love for America’s instrument, the banjo.

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