This traditional fretless model is built along the same lines as the original Camberwell Fretless banjo. It sports a simple minstrel style headstock with minimal ornamentation and raw brass hardware throughout.

handmade fretless walnut banjo

The Deutsch Fretless is made from American black walnut with ebony fingerboard and peghead. The rim is fitted with an integrated ebony tone ring for a warm, woody sound. And the natural goat hide head adds to the vintage aesthetic and tonal quality. The steam-bent rim is 3/8″ thick for lighter weight and a throatier tone – also in keeping with old style models from the late 19th Century.

The owner of this banjo wanted the option to switch to higher tension steel strings in the future, so I installed a 2-way adjustable truss rod. As you can see below, I look to maintain a high level of precision and craft — even when it comes to functional parts that are hidden from view. All of my truss rods are installed so that the access hole is in the heel (rather than the headstock). This helps to maintain a clean, minimal aesthetic on the banjo exterior.

banjo truss rod installation

Below are some process photos taken during the build of this banjo. I like to share images like these with my clients as part of the journey while their instrument is being made. Feel free to follow me on Instagram to see more workshop updates like these.

fretless walnut banjo process