After making basic flattop mandolins for area musicians for the past seven years, Danny Ebers has begun making a new instrument called a bandolin.

After making basic flattop mandolins for area musicians for the past seven years, Danny Ebers has begun making a new instrument called a bandolin.
This is the combination of a banjo and mandolin, made with “a banjo body with a mandolin neck,” Ebers said.
When Ebers saw a bandolin owned by L.A. Suess on display at the Mark Twain Museum, he said, “I was fascinated by it and just now started one.”
While growing up in the musical Ebers family of New London, Danny Ebers played guitar and sang, and it was years later when he began playing a mandolin. About seven years ago, when he was in his early 50s, he told his wife, Belinda, he would like to have one. Belinda gave him one for Christmas, and now he is not only playing it, he is making mandolins for other musicians.
“I started out trying to make them on my own and was not having real good luck,” Ebers said. “They didn’t sound that great, and I bought a book, ‘The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual.’ That is what got me going on the really nice ones.”

Now making strum sticks
and gooseneck mandolins

Last year Ebers began making a small four-string mandolin he calls a “gooseneck,” because “if you turn it and look at it from the back, it looks like a goose flying.” He sold 10 last year. At Hannibal’s Autumn Historic Folklife Festival, he was surprised to sell one before the festival opened.
This year he began making and selling a strum stick, explaining “it’s a good instrument for somebody just learning to play. It is probably the easiest string instrument you can play.
“It has three strings. It is really good for kids, because it done’s through your fingers, and you don’t have so much to remember. ... I ran onto them on YouTube, and I was really fascinated by them.
“I really like selling to kids,” Ebers said. “The strum sticks, most of them were sold to kids. Maybe they can stay away from video games and learn something they can do the rest of their life. When I sell a kid an instrument, it really makes my day.”
Ebers makes instruments by order, in addition to selling them at festivals. “I make custom ones for people and put their names on the peghead.”
Business has been good, he said on Oct. 21 at the Autumn Historic Folklife Festival. “I have just about sold out. This was an extremely good year. A lot of people want a genuine hand-made anything, mandolin, or a pot from Steve Ayers. People like something that has been hand-made by somebody.”
Ebers was happy to report he now owns the first mandolin he ever heard. It was being played by Paul Quilling of Center, Mo., who died in 1989. ... “He and my dad were pickin’ buddies,” Ebers said. “His daughter called me up about year ago and said ‘Would you like to have Dad’s mandolin?’”

Music runs in family

Ebers, his sister and his brother were “all exposed to music by our dad (the late Lee Ebers,)” he said. “He had a group. They would play for dances and have jams at each other’s houses. He’s the one that got all us kids started.
“I played guitar since I was a kid. We played music together quite a bit.” His brother, Allen Ebers, still lives in Ralls County and his sister, Mary Meyer, now lives in Ohio.
Now his son, Brent Ebers, also is a musician. “It kinda runs in the family,” Ebers said. “He’s into Christian music.
“The Ebers family has quite a few musicians in it, cousins and uncles and in-laws. So when we get together for Christmas, we always bring our guitars and mandolins and have a little jam after dinner.”
Ebers also has written nearly 30 songs, explaining “some are love songs and some are fun songs - mostly bluegrass and country and some off-the-wall stuff. My most famous song is called ‘Put Her In the Mood.’
“We have an open jam in Palmyra every Friday night at the old Ben Franklin building,” he said. “The singin’ and pickin’ starts as soon as you get a couple guys there.” He cannot always be there, because he works a swing shift for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals at the BASF plant.
Ebers also sings and plays mandolin and bass in the Silver Wings country band. His brother, Allen, plays lead guitar and sings, and his nephew, Tony Ebers, is the drummer. Phillip Talbott does rhythm guitar and vocals, and Kathy Beasley sings and plays mandolin. Beasley may be contacted on Facebook for more details.
Danny Ebers added that “my dad would think it’s funny, because the music I play now is the stuff I used to make fun of him for playing. I was a child of the ‘60s and played rock ‘n roll. Now I do a lot of bluegrass and lot of country. ... I get together with friends and meet some of the nicest people in the world, playing music.”