Custom Banjo Models
We offer four different models based on rim size, each featuring a hand-carved hardwood neck, ebony fingerboard, and matching segmented block rim with a goatskin head. A large number of options are also available to help make your banjo truly unique.
We love the flavor of a dark fiddle and the mood of a warm mandolin, and we work to build banjos that sound more like wood than metal. Our integral block hardwood tone-ring and hand-selected goat skin heads carry these banjos a long step in that direction.
- The Music City Belle features a comfortable 10-inch rim and shorter scale.
- The Broadway, features a traditional 11-inch rim.
- The Cumberland, features a full and generous 12-inch rim.
- The Governor, features a resounding and memorable 13-inch rim.
10″ Music City Belle
The smaller 10-inch rim and 23.5-inch scale of the Music City Belle make it a pure delight to hold and play. Perfect for quiet porches, small family gatherings, or just curling up on the couch with a familiar song. A favorite of musicians schooled on other instruments who want to enjoy their banjo, not wrestle with it. The Belle also makes a wonderful gift for anniversaries and special occasions.
Comparable to its unique smaller size, the Music City Belle responds best to a light touch. Often tuned one-step higher than a traditional size banjo, the tone is clear and responsive, but also exhibits a mellow edge particularly when fitted with Nylgut strings.
The Broadway is a great all-purpose banjo, well suited for everything from downtown gigs to living room jams. Based upon a more traditional 11-inch rim size, an extended rim depth coupled with a slightly narrowed rim wall produces surprising depth and resonance, but with plenty of snap when you need it. Crafted with a 23.5″ or 25.5″ scale, the reach is comfortable and solid.
The 11″ rim paired with a goatskin head projects clear and warm. Add a built-in pickup and this instrument is truly stage-ready.
Like an old river gliding through family farmland, the Cumberland banjo echos with a smooth and memorable tone. The larger 12-inch rim produces a deeper, warmer song, and the integral tone ring lends a distinct sense of wood and air to its melody. Another great all-purpose banjo, but particularly suited to players whose favorite audience is themselves and a still afternoon.
Fitted with a select goatskin head, the warmth and breathy flavor of the Cumberland is very distinctive.
Perhaps most unique in our line of instruments, the Governor is not an instrument for the faint of heart. The spacious 13-inch rim grabs the low notes and simply won’t let go! But its depth of character doesn’t stop there; the Governor still treats the whole fingerboard with balance and respect, and even high notes ring out with a wideness you’ll long remember.
Warm and weighty, – if you simply can’t get enough of a banjo’s dark side you need one of these. The Governor also performs well in studio recording environments, bringing a unique sound that evokes dark hollers and forgotten stories.
All custom models include
Our custom models come standard with these fine features, and there are many options available to further customize or upgrade your instrument.
- Hand-carved two-piece Cherry or Walnut neck with center stripe
- Matching Cherry or Walnut segmented block rim with integral wood tone ring
- Choice of classic Vintage-style carved heel or Folk-style Dobson heel
- Choice of hand-carved neck profile (V, Semi-V, or C)
- Custom-mounted goatskin head with a variety of patterns and stains available
- Choice of hand-rubbed beeswax and/or Satin poly finish
- Personalized S-style scoop (brass, copper or hardwood) with logo
- Ebony fingerboard, peghead and heel cap overlay
- 25.5″ or 23.5″ scale neck
- Traditional dowel stick construction
- Standard brass-plated rim shoes
- Vintage No-knot style tailpiece
- Two-way adjustable truss rod
- Solid brass tension hoop and flesh hoop
- Brass-inlay side dots and/or fingerboard dot markers
- 1-5/16″ black buffalo horn nut or unbleached bone nut
- Quality Gotoh planetary tuners with choice of black or cream buttons
- Evo-Gold copper alloy frets
- Custom gauge steel strings & setup
- Tobacco-stained Maple bridge
- 5th String spike(s)
Following are some sample recordings of each of these four models, with a special thanks to our good friend and Grand Ole Opry member Mike Snider for his fine playing on these videos.
Note: These recordings can help you compare the varying tones associated with different rim sizes, heads, woods and strings. It is important to keep in mind that no two banjos, even if they are carved from the same piece of wood, will sound exactly the same. Overall, our hardwood block rim with integral wood tone ring paired with a natural goatskin head produces a full and clear tone with hints of wood and breath. Warmth and resonance generally increases as the rim diameter increases.
- 13″ Governor Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#002)
- 12″ Cumberland Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#038)
- 12″ Cumberland Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#013)
- 12″ Cumberland Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#022)
- 12″ Cumberland Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Fiberskyn Head and Steel Strings (#027)
- 11″ Broadway Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#018)
- 11″ Broadway Model with Cherry Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#023)
- 10″ Music City Belle Model with Walnut Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#005)
- 10″ Music City Belle Model with Cherry Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Steel Strings (#003)
- 10″ Music City Belle Model with Cherry Rim & Neck, Goatskin Head and Nylgut Strings (#004)