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 about mike


 Welcome to Sugar Run’s site. Mike plays the five-string banjo as his main instrument. He also plays the guitar, mandolin, dobro, and sings lead and/or harmony, depending on the song.

 Mike began playing the banjo on Christmas-day 1957, when he was 12 years old, on a used, “no-name” banjo his mother purchased for him as a Christmas present, at a pawn shop.

 Mike’s banjo style is primarily claw-hammer (although “claw-grass” might be a more accurate description…) but also includes three-finger style picking, especially for two-step type songs, ¾-time songs and some other slower songs. He was self-taught on the banjo using the older and lesser known “slack finger” style (as opposed to the more common “drop-thumb” style). Mike favors the bright, ringing, more flamboyant style of past and present performers such as Grandpa Jones, Stringbean, Larry Sigmon, and Leroy Troy.

Mike also plays the mandolin and dobro on a few songs.

 In 1960, Mike learned to play guitar in the Carter family style, and a short time later learned to play Merle Travis style finger picking. He plays both styles, depending on the song, on the acoustic guitar. Often both styles are played in the same song.

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