Kristin Scott Benson latest Deering Banjos endorser

Kristin Scott Benson, award-winning banjo picker with bluegrass touring group The Grascals, has been announced as the newest endorser of Deering Banjos.

Given the distance between the Deering facility in California and Kristin’s home in South Carolina, the two used long time endorser Jens Kruger as an intermediary in North Carolina.

Deering COO Jamie Latting explains…

“Kristin had not really played too many Deering models, so to start we arranged to send some to Jens Kruger, and we set up a date that Kristin could go out and spend the day with Jens, trying all kinds of banjos in different set ups.”

Benson especially liked the Deering Golden Era series models, which are designed to match the look, feel, and sound of the classic Mastertones made prior to WWII. Unsurprising that, given that her main axe of the past two decades has been a prewar Gibson, which she wants to protect from the rigors of the road.

In the end Kristin had Deering build her a custom banjo that incorporated the maple neck and inlay from the Rustic Wreath model, with a flame maple resonator and a speed neck with no finish along the back side.

She reports being delighted with her new Deering, especially coming over from her treasured prewar.

“It’s like a canon and it does exactly what I need it to do – it punctuates and cuts through a bluegrass band. It isn’t mushy and it doesn’t get lost. That’s my main issue with new banjos. It’s like the sound just gets absorbed. They sound great by themselves, but if you need to function within a full-band context, you’ve got to have clarity and this one has it!

As I’m saying this, I can’t even believe it…But to have just been put together a month or so ago, it might be the best new banjo I’ve ever played. And I ended up with it! How blessed am I?”

Latty says that she found working with Kristin to be a wonderful experience, as we have also found without fail.

“Kristin is just one of those delightful humans that we just knew that we wanted to work with more. Her passion for the instrument, and how meticulous she is with not only her playing and technique, but the setup of the banjo, we knew it would be a really great fit.”

Benson will be featured in tomorrow’s (7/20) Deering Live video program with her new banjo, talking about and playing for the online audience at 6:00 p.m. (EDT).

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.