“Cynthia Sayer is a rarity; a woman who plays banjo with drive and virtuosity.”
— THE NEW YORK TIMES
"She's pushing the four-string banjo into new, uncharted territory."
— FRETBOARD JOURNAL
"Sayer is considered to be among a small group at the top of the jazz banjo world."
— CHICAGO TRIBUNE
"Sayer is not only one of the best banjo players around, she's also a sincere vocalist who effectively puts across songs."
— NEW YORK POST
“She takes us into places where you’d never expect the banjo to be admitted and makes herself completely at home.”
— DICK HYMAN, NEA Jazz Master
"A dazzling evening, a capacity crowd... Nobody wanted it to end."
— GUARDIAN NEWS (England)
"She can really play. It's nice to see somebody with such a fresh approach."
— MARIAN McPARTLAND
"Pioneering musician introduces hot jazz to China...The audience gushed about how much they enjoyed her show."
— GLOBAL TIMES (China)
"Breaking the mold is New Jersey-born Cynthia Sayer who plays hot, swinging jazz on the plectrum banjo and performed with Woody Allen's band."
— PBS ARTS
"Jazz just doesn't sound the way it used to. Cynthia is out to reclaim the banjo's place in the genre."
— SOUNDCHECK, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
"Her approach is to bring it alive in a fresh, modern way."
— THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (Australia)
"Cynthia is a knowledgeable and fantastic musician."
— WOODY ALLEN
"Nothing and nobody compares to Cynthia Sayer ... The concert hall went wild. The audience cheered her as a star."
— SÄCHSISCHE ZEITUNG (Germany)
"The American banjoist Cynthia Sayer was one of the great attractions of the festival."
— DE STEM (Holland)
"Cynthia Sayer almost made the applause meter explode ... Her swingy playing catches you from the start, and her sense of showmanship is present at every second."
— LA DÉPECHE (France)
"One of the best jazz banjo players in the world."
— THE GOLD COAST BULLETIN (Australia)
"And then she was there, the one everyone was waiting for ... the lady from America with unbelievable finger and speed mastery on the strings."
— NORDERSTEDTER ANZEIGER (Germany)
"Cynthia Sayer [is] the superstar of jazz banjo."
— LA BROYE (Switzerland )
"Cynthia Sayer bewitched the public."
— NORDERSTEDTER ZEITUNG (Germany)
"The audience loved the concert, gave them a standing ovation and stamped for an encore. Her music is always of the highest caliber..... The audience left smiling and raving. It was perfect."
— CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION (Marty Merkley, Director of Programming)
"Cynthia Sayer's performance was remarkable... The entire audience fell in love."
— ODESSA NEWS (Ukraine)
"The highest point of the festivals was the New Yorker Cynthia Sayer."
— GOTTINER TAGEBLATT (Germany)
“Banjo Bravo… A whirlwind of pure jazz joy.”
— SARASOTA OBSERVER
"One of the most respected banjoists in jazz ... a master entertainer."
— THE AMERICAN RAG
"One of the best musicians on the banjo."
— MELODY MAGAZINE (Czech Republic)
"An unbelievable inspiration."
— WESERKURIER (Germany)
"A true jazz-woman."
— LE BULLETIN DU HOT CLUB DE FRANCE (France)
"Cynthia has great tone and touch and a scorching solo style."
— FRETS MAGAZINE
"Sayer displays the creativity, diversity and originality that continues to define her as a unique musical identity."
— ALLFRETS MAGAZINE
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My main banjo is an Ome Juggernaut Standard Jazz model, with engraved black chrome, made from curly maple. It is a 4-string plectrum banjo (a different creature from a 5-string or tenor banjo).
The beautiful armrest on my banjo was made for me in Germany by Norbert Pietsch.
I also have another Ome Juggernaut Standard Jazz plectrum, made from mahogany. It came with nickel plating, but I added gold hooks and a gold armrest so now it has a nice two-tone look.
I use standard plectrum tuning: C-G-B-D (low to high)
Though my banjos look like open back models, they’re not -- each has a clear plexiglass resonator. They originally had wood resonators and metal flanges, which I removed to make them a bit lighter and smaller, a better fit for me. The plexiglass resonator sits on 4 small plexiglass legs that keep it about ½” from the rim.
I use ball-end strings because I find them faster to change than loop-ends if I break one while performing. My banjo tailpiece accepts both ball-end and loop-end strings, as is common.
My gages are: .012, .015, .020w, .028w. w = wound. I prefer to order bunches of strings by the gages, not by the pack, since I don’t use them up evenly.
I use Blue Chip picks, the TD 40 with a “speed bevel.” I think they are fabulous. I used to use Tortex 1mm picks (the blue ones) – also good.