Sunday, December 13, 2009

Md. bluegrass teacher trades neck, $800 for music

By: TIFFANY ARNOLD Associated Press, 12/13/09 12:08 AM EST

HAGERSTOWN, MD. — Doubts about Ernie Bradley's musical passion died when he told the story about how he traded $800 and his neck for better bluegrass.
By neck, he was talking about the fretboard of his gold-plated banjo. Bradley, a local bluegrass teacher, swapped parts with famous bluegrass man Walter Hensley.
"He wanted the neck off my banjo so he could put his name in here, so he could inlay it," Bradley said, caressing the neck of his current banjo. "So I traded my neck and $800 for this neck."
Bradley, 55, of Hagerstown, has many stories to share thanks to his passion for the bluegrass. But the latest chapter in the Ernie Bradley story begins at Hagerstown Community College, where Bradley has been teaching others the art of bluegrass jamming.
Bradley's been teaching at HCC since April. Classes have been held at the main campus off Robinwood Drive east of Hagerstown since the summer. Classes are currently being held at the community center at Fort Ritchie. And in November, HCC hosted a one-day bluegrass workshop at its main campus.
"The need for beginner bluegrass classes in this area was there," said one of his students, Cynthia Hull.

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