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…

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…

banjo_04_featured

This handmade banjo shipped to a long-time friend in Houston, TX. It is American Black Walnut finished with all-natural tung oil – which gives the wood a smooth, buttery feel and a muted satin finish. The headstock is crowned with a vintage 50¢ coal scrip coin from the old S.C. Ballengee Coal Company in Amigo, West Virginia. Features: Three-ply walnut rim with maple…

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…

Bad River Banjo

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…

The Amigo Smokeless

This handmade banjo shipped to a good friend of mine in North Carolina. It’s an all-walnut affair, crowned with a vintage 5¢ brass coal scrip coin from the old Amigo Smokeless Coal Company in West Virginia. The dark hand-dyed finish of both the wood and the hardware gives this banjo a particularly old-time complexion, in keeping with it’s simple profile and construction. Features:…

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…