Banjo For Sale

Collectible and Rare
1920's Truett

1920's Truett -George
Gibson FON# 9373-15

Harry George and Velma Truett were the power behind a West Coast movement to tune the 4-string plectrum banjo like the top four strings of a guitar.
Based in San Francisco, Velma was the beauty and most of the musical talent, while Harry George was both the mechanical and business brains.
The name "Trujo" is the combination of their last names, Truett & George.
Harry George, a machinist who also played guitar and steel guitar, first experimented with modifying Gibson banjos, but by 1927 Trujo banjos were entirely made by Gibson.
The very deep shell and heavy cast metal internal "megaphone" were designed to give Trujo's a deep, resonant tone more suited to the low tuning Velma promoted.
1927 was also the year Harry and Velma had their first, and biggest, hits as recording artists.
"Ghost Dance", featuring banjo and steel guitar, was released on Columbia.
You can hear it on YouTube, and most listeners agree that it lives up to its name.
They had another hit in '27 with "Wabash Blues," and thanks to these recordings and lots of advertising Harry and Velma's banjo instruction business was booming.
But the rise of the tenor guitar essentially put an end to trying to make the banjo sound like something it wasn't, and by 1929 Harry George split for Oregon (the duo had never married)
Velma sold Trujo to two employees of their Oakland teaching studio and went back to the family ranch in Nevada.
By late 1934/'35, Trujo was essentially out of business, and would soon be just another footnote in the history of the jazz-age banjo.

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