About Us

David Guarente hails from Syracuse, NY and was raised in a large dynamic family who loved musicals, comedies and variety shows. He was a part of his Aunt June’s community theater productions. Caught up in Beatle mania, he got a guitar and played in the acoustic finger-style fashion of the day, à la Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, John Fahey, Ry Cooder and many others, but soon fell in love with the banjo after hearing Earl Scruggs. He found banjo teacher Dave Dolbear, and really never turned back.

For over 25 years, he has been teaching professionally and has fronted his own band, Mr. Banjo and the Lonesome Wailers, with performances across the San Francisco bay area and Northern California.

His premise has always been to show the banjo in another light, using pop, jazz, blues, rock and roll and bluegrass to bring his audience closer to the sound that has captivated Dave for over 30 years… The finger picked 5 string banjo. Dave performs locally in the Santa Cruz area, and occasionally at California festivals. He continues to teach in Santa Cruz at Sylvan Music, and has done so for over 12 years.

Dave also plays in the classic rock band “The Jedd Brothers“, the 1930’s style string band “Earthquake Country“, as well as the traditional bluegrass band “Carolina Special “ (with longtime California bluegrass fixtures John Murphy and Ed Neff).

Dave has played with the “Frank Wakefield Band“, the late Jake Quesenberry, and many other local’s such as Jerry Truppa, Paul Jacobs, John Fuller, Mike McKinley and Jim Lewin of the “Harmony Grits” and as of late, producer/performer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Dayan Kai.

Dave has played on several recordings and also in many theater productions.

He is presently working on his second CD. His latest venture is a quest with Peter Pardee, working to bring the banjo world together.