Today I made some minor tweaks to the Asian banjo pages after a visitor reported confusion about navigation. Previously, Paul's overview of the pages and the listings for brands with names starting with A to F were on the same page. Now the overview stands alone and the A-F brands are listed on a new page.
In the same vein, a visitor asked why Gold Stars were the only thing listed on the G page. That was not the case but the other G entries were at the bottom of a very long page. I moved the other G entries to the top of the H-K page, making it a G-K page, and left Gold Star on its own new page.
These are improvements and I thank the visitors for their observations.
Ten years ago I put a note on the page listing Bill Monroe's banjo players saying that I would not be making any additions or changes. My reason was that I am not connected as Paul was and felt that I would not be able to properly verify information given to me.
I changed my mind. One of Bill Emerson's sons got in touch to ask me to include Bill in the list and pointed me to an article in Banjo Newsletter. Bill Emerson is too important a player to ignore, so I did add him to the list.
My new policy is to make a best attempt to verify information I receive. If I can, I'll add it. I will indicate what I have added by making the name of the player green.
Thanks to a suggestion from a site visitor, I was able to locate the Asian banjo catalog pages previously available on Tetsuzo Shiga's Web site. All these images are now available on the Asian Banjo Catalogs page.
That same visitor alerted me to problems with the Contact page, which are now corrected.
Updating the site took about as long as I thought but I got it done sooner than I expected. I didn't do much else yesterday.
The big change is my use of the server-side programming language PHP. The effect for me is simpler maintenance and the ability to add features more easily. The visible effect is that all page names now end in .PHP rather than .HTM. This does mean that some page names changed; see Link Conversion table for details in case you have bookmarks. To the extent possible, references to an HTM page will automatically redirect to its new PHP counterpart.
I have begun a process of tuning up the design and improving the technology of this site.
As mentioned previously, the key design modification is improving readability on modern systems by enlarging the textual elements and making other minor changes. The general appearance of the site will remain the same. Changes in technology are for my benefit, to make it even easier for me to maintain the site.
There will be some disruption because I can't convert everything at once. The old and new layouts will co-exist for a time, with some pages showing the new look and some the old. If you get confused, clicking Home on one of the menus will get you back to the site's home page and its new layout.
Many thanks for your patience and please let me know if you find anything amiss.
Ten years ago when I created the Asian Banjos catalog page, I cobbled together some code to pop up the images of the catalog pages. I'm now using a commercial product that allows zooming to see the full extent and size of each image and works extremely well on mobile devices. It's a big improvement in the presentation.
While working on the catalog page, I discovered that the t-shiga.com site, which contained images of Japanese catalogs, has vanished. The links to those pages are still in place while I research the availability of those pages elsewhere. If you have any information that might help, please contact me.
Ten years ago, it seemed that RSS would be a common feature of Web sites. The sophistication and aggressiveness of search engines has made that unnecessary. Therefore, the RSS feed has been removed from the site. This page has replaced it as the location for news about the site.
After an unexpectedly long delay, I have begun making design updates to the site. So far, the top bar and menu have been tuned up a bit (more to come), the font size has increased, and the site has been widened. Stay tuned.
Paul built his site a long time ago, starting in 1999. In those days the typical display was just 800 pixels wide and thus Paul designed his site to fit by making it narrower than that width, just 763px, so that some of the background would show on either side. His other design decisions were informed by that width. For example, the font for the top menu was sized so all the items would fit. This was all perfectly rational.
Today, however, the result is that the site looks too small on most devices. It's "shrinking." I aim to fix that, to make the site more readable going into the future. As with the technical updates, I'll make these changes as time permits. If I do it well, pages will look the same, just presented using more of the available screen space. As always, holler if you see anything bad. Your comments are always appreciated.
Because I changed hosting companies, the site was offline for almost two days. The fault was mine, not the host. The site is visited every day, rain or shine, so I apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced.
William F. "Bill" Gokey, banjo player extraordinaire, passed away on June 1, 2013. The note on the first page of "Teaching the Kid" was updated.
In an oversight when I originally took over Paul's site, I neglected to add my standard email address protection code. This is designed to prevent bots from harvesting email addresses from this site. This evening I corrected this oversight.
If you are the owner of one of these addresses, I apologize for taking so long to get this right and for any additional spam you might have experienced in the meantime.
All reference to Paul's site will henceforth be at http://hawthorne.fastie.com. Previously they were at fastie.net.
If you maintain a link to Paul's site, please make the adjustment as soon as possible. If you know anyone else who does, please let them know.
The domain fastie.net will no longer exist after December, 2010.
My relationship with Paul was too brief yet more complex than I imagined. That, and my deep sense of the loss of my friend, kept me from writing my own remembrance until now. I have published it this morning.
David Boots' sister Cindy was kind enough to report David's passing from complications of Parkinson's disease. I have updated the Out of the Mould page to remove David's email address and add an anecdote provided by his sister.
Our condolences go out to Cindy and the rest of David's family.
For several years, Paul hosted noted luthier Scott Zimmerman's Banjo FAQs on his site. Paul also helped Scott build his original Web site and at some point that material migrated to Scott's site. This recently came into focus when I received an inquiry regarding the article on winter care. I have updated the Links Conversion page accordingly.
The Links page continues to have a link to the FAQs.
A witness to Paul's street playing in Seal Beach comes forward with yet another new remembrance.
ΦΣΚ brother Marty Konrad has contributed a new remembrance of Paul from their days together at RPI.
Many thanks to Jeff Chumley for writing and giving me the long lost link to his Banjo Glossary. The Links page on the site has been updated accordingly.
Despite my best efforts when rebuilding Paul's site, I made an unforgivable error of ommission. Paul's description of the Gold Star model 11 was deleted from the Gold Star page. It has now been restored (thank goodness I keep backups). My apologies for this grievous oversight.
The "Special Florentine" has been seen in a December 2007 eBay auction. I had never seen this model before and I'm sure Paul never did either. I've added some information on the Asian Banjo page in the Saga section to reflect this find.
Since I have been maintaining Paul's site, I have gotten a surprising number of requests to value or appraise Asian (particularly Japanese) banjos. Like Paul, I don't appraise because I'm not an expert. I have tracked Japanese banjos on eBay and those limited results can be seen at my site.
It is all I have to offer.
The number of visitors to Paul's site using dialup has plunged more than 50% in just six months. That was significant enough to make me update statistics in an editor's note to reflect it.
Paul would have been very happy to know that visitors using Linux are significantly up.
Bill Gokey unearthed episode 8 of Teaching the Kid.
Bill Gokey found yet another episode of Teaching the Kid. He writes "I found the TTK #6 in an old briefcase enclosed in a brown envelope out in my barn." Our good luck!
Bill Gokey recently wrote to let me know that he had found another episode of his great serial story, Teaching the Kid. He has graciously allowed its inclusion on Paul's site along with the other five episodes.
Bill has promised to be on the lookout for more episodes. He recalls writing 8 or 9. The first five were published in Banjo Newsletter but the others have never been published.
A wake will be held for Paul Hawthorne on June 30, 2007. A flyer (PDF) with details is now available.
The entire contents of Paul's site are the copyrighted property of C. Robyn Mattil. Material may not be copied and used elsewhere. Fair use applies but any such use requires an appropriate citation. This includes those wishing to use Asian banjo information in eBay listings. As always, links to Paul's site are encouraged. Please see the About This Site page for more information.
Images of a 1979 Gold Star flathead banjo catalog have been added to the Asian banjos catalog page. Also included is a page from the May, 1980 price list for all Saga and Gold Star banjos, including kits.
A new page has been created for those who wish to submit brief remembrances of Paul. Please use the contact form on the site for submission. In order for a remembrance to be published, you must agree to allow your name, geographical location, and email address to be used. Email addresses are protected; ask Will for details.
David Boots' "Out of the Mould" contribution to Paul's Banjo Conservatory has been enhanced. Paul had linked to content elsewhere on the Web that is no longer maintained, so David was kind enough to allow his example tunes to be hosted here. Also, MIDI files and Adobe PDF files were created for all the lessons.
A remembrance of Paul has been added to the site. This one comes from another of Paul's friends from his days in aerospace, Rick Burrows.
The first of several remembrances of Paul has been added to the site. Written by Rick Hughes, Paul's close, long-time friend, it is a lovingly written, anecdotal look at 27 years of Paul's life. It's a great read.
The sample pages for Paul's book Gestalt Banjo have been converted from plain Web pages to Adobe PDF files. These will be more attractive when printed. A link to the PDF is on each sample section.
Paul's catalog page has been reformatted to be a bit more user-friendly. Images of each catalog page now pop up in a separate window. A description has been provided for all pages.
Will has completed the technical redesign of the site. All pages are now in their new locations with their permanent names. Those with bookmarks or links to the site are encouraged to update them.
Will has begun the technical redesign of Paul's site, a project Paul was planning to take on before he took ill. The new design will be standards-compliant but remain completely faithful to Paul's original 1999 design, which has stood the test of time.
Paul Hawthorne's Web site is now hosted by Will Fastie at a new address, hawthorne.fastie.com.