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Walt began playing the five string banjo in 1959. He first played in an old time string band in 1965 in the Busted Toe Mudthumpers, based in Ithaca NY. He also played four-string (plectrum) banjo in the Muskrat Ramblers, a New Orleans style seven-peice traditional jazz band around that time, which gave him his background and repertoire along those lines. The Mudthumpers travelled to the San Francisco Bay area twice in 1968 and 1969.
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