ebony tailpiece

This is a newly fashioned all-ebony tailpiece, built specifically for a smaller diameter banjo rim (around 9 inches or so). The silhouette mimics the shape of some very old ebony tailpieces. But the smooth profile and sloped bevels give it a uniquely modern aesthetic. Shown here with a penny for scale, this little tailpiece is structurally sound and built to last. As with…

badRiverStory_featured

The Bad River name comes from a region of northern Wisconsin that played a significant role in my family history. If you look for it today, you will likely find it associated with a Native American settlement and reservation. The Ojibwe indians, also known as the Lake Superior Chippewa or Bad River Band, migrated to the area during the seventeenth century. They were…

avisEagleCoalScrip

Here’s a great-looking old coin from the Avis Eagle Coal Company. The mine from which this coal scrip came was part of a network of mines that sprung up along the Guyandotte River in Logan County, West Virginia. The Avis Eagle mine was serviced by the small town of Lyburn. Construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in 1904-05 allowed access to most…

tailpiece_1

I really enjoyed crafting this prototype for an all-Ebony tailpiece. Built for gut/nylon/Nylgut strings, its shape is derived from a number of vintage designs I’ve stumbled across – mostly from the pre-1900 era. It consists of two pieces of Ebony that are joined with grain in opposing (perpendicular) directions. This guards against warping, splitting or shearing of the wood under tension from the…

rim_1

Old-time banjos were simple and straightforward when it came to wood. For the most part, there were just four species from which almost all of them were made – Maple, Cherry, Walnut and Mahogany. They all have their own aesthetic. And they all have their own sound. Maple has always been hailed as the clearest and brightest of the bunch, producing a bell-like…

banjoGirl

J.B. Schall started making banjos in the city of Chicago during the 1870s. Within a few short years, the Schall name became associated with some of the most celebrated banjos of the day. A skilled mechanic and experienced banjo player himself, J.B. Schall worked beside his five employees – ensuring the quality and craftsmanship of every instrument that came off the line. A…