About this banjo
Béla Fleck, surely today’s best-known banjoist, has his own heroes. One of these, John Hartford, made extensive use of a low-tuned five-string banjo (a twelve-inch Farland from the 1920s) in his music. While Béla had already been playing a Gold Tone CEB-5 Cello Banjo, he felt that there should be a banjo to fill the gap between the cello banjo (tuned to G, an octave below the standard banjo) and the standard five-string. Béla collaborated with Gold Tone president Wayne Rogers over many months and after overcoming many challenges and the building of several prototypes, the ML-1 “Missing Link” came into being. Tuned to open C (in a G configuration, i.e. an octave below the fifth fret of a standard five-string) the ML-1 features a twelve-inch, three-ply maple rim supporting a bronze tone ring. A specially-made Remo Black Suede head carries a custom 7/8″ bridge and an all-wound custom string set hooks up to a Gold Tone Terminator tailpiece. The hard rock Canadian maple neck is topped by a rich black ebony fretboard, honed to a compound radius (5″ to 9″) and fitted with jumbo frets. The gorgeous art nouveau inlay pattern (of Béla’s own design) travels the length of the neck all the way to the peghead, interrupted only by a Zero Glide nut (for super-accurate intonation and low-friction tuning). Black bindings and black buttons on the Master Planetary tuners complete the elegant look.
Neck: Hard Rock Maple
Finish: Vintage Brown
Fingerboard: Ebony 5-10″ Compound Radiused
Bridge: 10″ Radiused Maple with Ebony Cap (7/8″)
Inlay: Nouveau Custom
Truss Rod: Two-Way Adjustable
Tone Ring: Bronze Sand Cast
Rim: 3-Ply Canadian Maple
Tension Hoop: Notched 24-Bracket
Binding: Black ABS
Hardware: Chrome Plated
Tailpiece: 5-String Terminator
Resonator: 14″ Maple (Convertible)
Armrest: Gold Tone Engraved
Head: 12″ MC Black Remo
Number of Frets: 22
Nut Width: 1-3/8″ Zero Glide Nut
Scale Length: 26-1/4″
Weight: 9.2 lbs.
Strings: .018w, .040w, .030w, .022w, .018w
Option 1: SMP+ P
Option 2: Fishman Rare Earth Pickup
Hard Case: Included
Left-Handed Available: No
Zero Glide Installed: Yes
Bonuses When You Order From Banjo.com
- 5th String Railroad Spike Capos – FREE
We can add these as a free service when you purchase a banjo from us. When you add this banjo to your cart just select that you want the capos. What is this? When you use a standard capo on your banjo fretboard, fretting strings 1 through 4, you’ll need to capo the 5th string separately. The 5th string starts at the 5th fret. If your standard capo is on the 2nd fret, you also need to capo the 5th string two frets higher, at the 7th fret. We recommend installing railroad spike capos on frets 7 and 9 (A and B). We install them on the fretboard just under the 5th string, an idea that was developed and used by Earl Scruggs himself. We use them, and so do most of the professional players we know. When you’re playing, you don’t really notice the spikes because they’re out of the way, but they’re always there when you need them. Simply slide the 5th string under the spike. When you’re done, slide it out.
- Bluegrass or Clawhammer Starter Pack – FREE
We can send along with your banjo a Bluegrass or Clawhammer Starter Pack for free. This includes a strap, DVD, and tuner and picks.
- Every Banjo Tested by a Banjo Expert Before Shipping