Mac Traynham of Floyd County became interested in handmade instruments in 1975 when he commissioned a friend build him a Gibson RB-100 copy on which to play a three finger style of Bluegrass and other experimental music. He became even more interested after commissioning Wayne Henderson to build him a Martin D-28 style guitar in 1976.
Being attracted to beautiful woods and a serious player of Southwest Virginia style clawhammer banjo music, Mac built his first banjo in 1978 using recycled birdseye maple flooring that had been previously made into a door. During the late 70’s and early 80’s, he continued to make banjos and was part of an instrument makers seminar at the 1981 National Folk Festival.
Being interested in all aspects of instrument making and playing, he visited the shops of and got tips from many of the area’s renown instrument makers including Olen Gardner, Kyle Creed, Arthur Conner, Albert Hash, and Wayne Henderson. Over the years, he has experimented with classic tone designs and today is known for making beautiful banjos that have a superior tone.
This fretless banjo is made of Applewood with a Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and trim. It is adorned with raw brass and green veneer accents, and the calfskin head gives it a rather distinctive sound.
“It is a beautiful instrument. But then, all four of the banjos Mac has built for me over the years (first one in 1984) is a beautiful instrument. Mac put the Galax Leaf in the scoop in honor of my home town, and the Dogwood Blossom on the headstock for my home state. Mac, with some first-rate artistic support from his daughter Hanna, did a fantastic job on the inlay.”Jeff BrownOwner of banjo #'s 141, ???, ?? and ??
Ol’ Time Mountain Music
Since the 1980s, Mac has been active with his music in both a professional and a non-professional way. He has been on the staff of several renown Old-time music camps over the years and has conducted workshops in guitar, banjo, fiddle and duet singing (with wife, Jenny) at several weekend festivals.
In the late 2000s, Mac teamed up with his daughter, Hanna, in various music events, including the recording of two albums.