If you’re undecided, consider these two things.
First, how do you want the instrument to look and feel when you hold it? Musicians who have a history playing full-sized instruments find the 10″ Music City Belle model with the short-scale neck to be a welcome dose of cozy and comfortable. The 11″ Broadway and 12″ Cumberland models are our most popular sizes and the traditional favorite among most open back banjo players. The 13″ Governor model has the same size neck as the 11″ and 12″ models, but with a larger rim that will catch the attention of all eyes, and ears, in the room.
Second, what type of settings do you expect to find yourself playing in? If you expect to play mainly small settings or for personal pleasure, consider our comfortable-to-play 10″ Music City Belle model. If you’re playing concerts or jam sessions, consider the 11″ Broadway or 12″ Cumberland model. The 11″ rim can sound a little brighter and more focused when compared to the 12″ rim, which tends to give a rounder and more breathy sound. If you’re after an even deeper song for your soul or next recording project, the 13″ Governor model is a great choice.
Bottom line, our best advice is to get one of each! If that’s just not possible, go with a 12″ Cumberland model, – our favorite size banjo with a warm, but clear full tone.
A great question with a fairly subjective answer. In our opinion, some of the biggest factors are:
To a lesser degree, other factors such as wood choice, nut material, string gauges and neck angle also affect the tone.
A banjo is a hearty instrument that only asks a little from you. Avoid storing it in humidity or temperature extremes. Damp basements or hot cars are never good.
Wipe the strings down after each time you play, and change strings at least a couple times each year to help keep the sound clear and bright.
Put a light pencil mark at the bridge location, so you can quickly re-position it if and when it gets bumped out of place.
Check your head tension from time to time with a tool like the Pocket-Dial. This is very important if you have a natural skin head, as it will loosen slightly in humid conditions and tighten in dry conditions. Though this phenomenon lessens over time as the head stretches and seasons, it is something you will learn to readily recognize and quickly adjust. You can also carry a couple of taller bridges to swap out in unusually humid playing conditions.
The natural beeswax finish was applied with a hi-temp heat gun, allowing the wax to penetrate into the surface of the wood. It is quite durable, but from time to time you will want to freshen it up to help keep it looking its best.
High humidity or moisture droplets can sometimes lead to faded or milky areas in the finish. These can be buffed out by hand with a soft cotton or t-shirt rag using our Banjo Wax, – a mixture of natural beeswax and coconut oil.
One really great thing about the beeswax finish is handling touch-ups. If your banjo gets scuffed or scratched, you can lightly sand or buff out the scratch with extra fine grit paper or steel wool, reapply some beeswax, then buff it out. The new finish will blend perfectly with the old.
If you would prefer a more durable finish, we highly recommend a hand-rubbed satin poly finish which still feels very much like natural wood.
Yes. Please contact us for details and pricing.
Current wait times are running 2 – 3 months from the time we receive your deposit. If you like, we would enjoy sending you pictures of the progress along the way.
On occasion. If so, we will list them on the “Pricing” page.
All our banjos are warrantied for the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for one year.
If you are picking up your banjo locally, you are welcome to buy a case from us, but you don’t have to do so. If we are shipping your banjo, you will need to buy a case from us to help insure safe packing and delivery.
Many purists may disagree, but our opinion is an open back banjo can and does add great flavor to any style of music, from jazz and classical to old-time roots or modern rock. The issue with bluegrass music is that an open-back banjo will not project as loud as the industry standard resonator-back banjo, which many consider a defining characteristic of the bluegrass music genre.
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