Tuesday through Thursday at 1pm Deering Banjo has free factory tours. It is much smaller than Taylor, even though Deering owns 80-90% of the US banjo market and they have millions of dollars in sales each year. Steve Martin, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban are all Deering fans.
Bob Taylor (of Taylor Guitar) and Greg Deering started an instrument making co-op in 1969 before they ventured out on their own.
Their factories are located just 8 miles from each other.
David Vega started our tour in the show room, talking about the differences in models, and why upper-end Deering banjos are so dang heavy (the components made of brass and the wood used is more dense).
During the tour I noticed that my banjo teacher, Dan Sankey, had some of his CDs for sale.
This is my second time on the tour, but it was just as informative as the time before.
Greg Deering made his first banjo in his garage while attending San Diego State as an industrial arts major. Since then Deering has made more than 100,000 instruments.
We got to see all of the pieces throughout the process.
There are a few machines that guests cannot take pictures of as they were invented by Greg Deering himself, and are a big reason that the banjos have the quality that they have.
All the employees have their speciality and rarely work at a different station.
It seems mundane to me, but everyone was too into their job to ask...
This is my newly made Parlor banjo.
Deering hooked me up with a deal after I explained the predicament I was in after some jerk stole my banjo from my classroom. My co-workers raised $344 dollars, surprising me with the news at our last staff meeting of the school year, and my students raised $200, surprising me with that money just two days later.
Here is the response they sent after I asked if they could give me a deal on a Parlor banjo and gig bag.
First thank you for choosing Deering banjos as your beginning banjos! Second, I am so sorry that your Goodtime Parlor was stolen from your classroom. That's amazing that your coworkers and students rose money for you to get a replacement, it speaks volumes to what you mean to them as a teacher and a colleague.
The Goodtime Parlor and a gig bag to go with it would normally be $644.00, which is a bit more than what you have from the fundraising. Since this is a replacement for a stolen banjo, I would like to offer to you both bag and banjo for the $544 including taxes. Also you are a local and you serve the community.
You would be in luck. I just had a Goodtime Parlor banjo that came in fresh off the factory floor on Friday. Would you be interested in picking this one up this week.
I look forward to your reply.
All the best,
Deering Banjo Company
International Sales ♦ Customer Service
+1.800.845.7791 ♦ +1.619.337.6316
I wrote them a nice thank you...
How cool is it that Deering is located in San Diego?
After the tour we ate at Coops BBQ (which has a well deserved high rating on Yelp), and then had some samples of beers at Alesmith Brewing Co.
Alesmith is another brewery that is often on tap in our local taprooms.
In contrast to Alpine, this place is huge. It even has a Tony Gwynn museum located inside.
All of our selections were tasty.
💚 San Diego.