Deering Tenbrooks Banjos
The Tenbrooks is a new breed of banjo named after the famed Kentucky derby winner who beat, by an overwhelming margin, the ever-popular Mollie McCarthy in the most stirring and memorable race in the history of the Kentucky derby.
Like the banjo’s namesake who outdistanced all rivals, the Tenbrooks banjos have a purity of tone, a deep, low bass that supports all the other harmonics of the banjo --- a combination that makes a golden, warm, sparkling sound with a foundational solidity that allows the player the ultimate freedom of expression. Whether hard-driving bluegrass or more delicate modern styles, the Tenbrooks gives the player an unprecedented command of the music.
Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, immortalized the compelling, memorable race between Tenbrooks and Mollie McCarthy in a song which has now become a traditional favourite among bluegrass enthusiasts. Like its namesake, the Deering Tenbrooks is the most memorable banjo you will ever own.
The Jens Krüger, the Saratoga Star & the Legacy banjos.
Deering’s new Tenbrooks technology elevates the banjo to a classical purity of tone that historically has only been heard in the great concert halls of the world! This quantum leap in the evolution of the banjo is the culmination of a collaborative effort between Deering Banjo Company, the internationally renowned banjoist Jens Krüger, and the oldest bell foundry of Europe. By evaluating all the tonal components of the banjo itself, improving and redesigning the key elements and enhancing the way it all goes together, Deering has created a banjo whose voice can blend with any combination of bluegrass or classical instruments or stand alone beautifully. Total versatility for the professional player is Greg Deering's goal in creating the Tenbrooks banjo so that the player is not limited by the banjo, but the banjo rises to meet the player at the peak of their expertise and is as responsive as a race horse. The lively bell tone with great sustain, the even tone from string to string and all the way up the neck, and the active response of the banjo to the players style come together to make this an awe inspiring new evolution in banjo design.
Greg Deering and Jens Krüger combined forces with the goal of raising the banjo as an instrument to a higher level of performance musically so that banjoists are not limited in their scope of achievement. This was the concept that motivated the design of the Tenbrooks banjos. To accomplish this required a considerable amount of research and a better understanding of tone-ring design. Banjo Virtuoso Jens Krüger realized the need for a new tone-ring that would enhance the extreme low frequencies that support and compliment banjo tone. This required a fresh approach to tone-ring manufacture.
Jens Krüger guided it along in working with the Swiss Rüetschi Bell Foundry, having 600+ years of experience in metallurgy, and drawing on that knowledge while also incorporating innovative techniques they developed a tone-ring with the evenly crystallized molecular structure which is necessary to create this very exceptional tone. This type of molecular structure is usually only able to be accomplished in huge bell castings. But the breakthrough came when they discovered how to accomplish this in a smaller casting for Deering's Tenbrooks banjos with the Jens Krüger tone-ring.
Bells cast in the 15th Century by the Rüetschi Bell Foundry are still in use today. The foundry’s skill and knowledge enables them to repair ancient bells with precision and mastery, without loss of their original tonal integrity. Only a supreme mastery of bronze casting can produce such success. Only this kind of mastery bronze casting can produce the extraordinary Tenbrooks tone-ring. The unprecedented extreme precision of both the casting and machining process demands an un-plated finish to prevent stifling the far-reaching tonal spectrum that is completely unique to the Tenbrooks banjo. The Tenbrooks tone-ring is finished to a shimmering, lustrous high polish and then treated with linseed oil. Like most thoroughbreds, this does require special care.
Inspired by the expertise of his collaborators, Greg Deering designed the elegant inlay patterns seen on these inaugural members of the Tenbrooks line. Reminiscent of the art nouveau styles popular during the 1920’s and 30’s these designs are classic and elegant, giving the Tenbrooks banjo line a visual beauty, clarity, and purity to match the extraordinary tonal character of each of these banjos.
Greg Deering created a new tailpiece for the Tenbrooks by blending the features of one of the most popular tailpieces in bluegrass with his own original design to make a tailpiece that is fully adjustable, and utilizes a tone specific alloy that decreases weight and is free of added tonal interference. Jens Kruger has hailed it as, “The best tailpiece ever made.”
The Tenbrooks project also inspired Deering to improve its already high quality tuning machines. The newly redesigned tuning pegs have a marked improvement in smoothness, which will make difficult tuning a thing of the past.
Greg Deering & Jens Krüger re-evaluated all of the components of the Tenbrooks pot assembly. They redesigned the flange to a lighter configuration. Even the armrest has been streamlined and re-sculpted to create a profile that is both comfortable and elegant. The Tenbrooks neck profile is more of a traditional neck shape enjoyed by many of today’s top banjo performers. The subtle V-shape gives the player an indexing surface that helps instantly locate the centre of the neck for playing efficiency and comfort. Incorporating the traditional Paramount peghead profile, an ebony peghead overlay and fingerboard, and bearing the Deering name in a mother of pearl inlay, the neck has both traditional appeal and a fresh new look.
When you play one of the new Tenbrooks banjos you'll find a whole new world of music opening up to you with expanding possibilities. Many professionals and great masters of the banjo including Bella Fleck and Tony Trischka are now on-board playing Tenbrooks banjos.