February 24, 2014 The Camberwell fretless This handmade banjo is named for the town in England to which it was shipped. It’s a fretless affair, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation. The shape of the headstock follows the simple lines of old minstrel banjos from the 19th Century. The body is American Black Walnut finished with a light application of tung oil – allowing the natural grain to show through. The all-brass hardware, minstrel-style bridge and mottled calfskin head add to the overall vintage appeal. The village of Camberwell is located just south of London. Some say its name derives from an older reference to the mineral springs that were known to exist in the region. In fact, an alternate version of Camberwell is referred to as “Cripple Well” — a place where those with sickness or disease were sent to be healed. As possible proof of this theory, the old church in the village is named after St. Giles, the patron saint of the poor and the crippled. It is said that medicine heals the body but music heals the soul. And so it seems that Camberwell would be a fine place to play.