Mike Ramsey started building banjos in Lebanon, Ohio in 1986. His first banjo consisted of a neck made in his basement workshop fitted to an old purchased rim. Many prototypes followed as he fine-tuned the process, style, sound and product. In 1990, Mike left his corporate position and began his own woodworking business and in 1994 he moved to his current location in Appomattox, Virginia. There Mike built a new woodworking shop to accomodate his expanding business.
Ramsey banjos are individually crafted from the finest woods and finished to perfection. The inlays are immaculate and the engraving is of the highest quality. Mike uses various rim diameters and other options to individualize his banjos, including fancy inlay, carved heel, and hand rubbed wood finishes.
Rt. 2, Box 564B,
Since 1959, while still in high school, Geoff Stelling has been either
playing the banjo or trying to improve on its design. Stelling Banjo
Works was established in 1974 while Geoff was stationed at a Naval Base
in San Diego. As a semi-professional banjo and bass player in various
bluegrass bands since the mid-60's, Geoff developed an ear for banjo
tone and experimented with the mechanics of banjo construction until
he patented a revolutionary design that his banjos are famous for today:
the wedge-fitted pot assembly. Prior to Geoff's design, tone rings and
flanges were machined to slip-fit over the wood rim. Such a design proved
to be less than perfect when changes of humidity and temperature manifested
themselves as changes in tone and volume. The patented Stelling wedge-fit
assures the best possible tone ring and flange to wood rim fit possible
under all circumstances. The resulting purity of tone and unrelenting
power are unparalleled.
Stelling Banjo Works, Ltd.
7258 Banjo Lane
Afton, Virginia 22920
Technical Support and Repairs: (434) 295-1917
Sales: (800) 5 STRING
Ranking amongst the all-time greats of the bluegrass and country world
are, of course, Gibson banjo's. Played by a whole plethora of stars,
these banjo's are fabulous. Built with the usual Gibson meticulous
attention to tone, accuracy and quality they rank with the very best.
HERE FOR MORE GIBSON MODELS
The one pictured alongside is the Earl Scruggs Golden Deluxe. Here's
some of the specifications:
Resonator and Neck: Figured maple
Fingerboard Inlay: Ebony/Hearts & Flowers
Binding: Multiple Antique, White/Black/White
Hardware: 24k Satin Gold Engraved
Engraving: Gold Engraved Granada Pattern
Tuners: Vintage 2-band
Finish: Exact Replica, Antique Amber Brown
Gibson Service Phone: 1-800 4 GIBSON
Phil Davidson has been handcrafting fine instruments for twenty years,
trading as "Banjo Surgery" since 1988.
After a successful career
in mechanical engineering he decided that his skills could be more satisfactorily
utilised by making a vocation of his hobby and "Banjo Surgery" was
born. The skills gained in engineering have proved indispensible in the
construction of his widely acclaimed Banjo hardware, and Mandolin and
Guitar tailpieces made and nickel-plated in his own workshop.
Melrose make truly inspiring banjos that just ooze quality. Here's what their website says:
We are a family owned and operated business. As father and son we have over 18 years of experience designing, building and repairing stringed instruments. Our shop was originally located on Melrose Drive and the name kind of stuck.
Amongst the best banjo's money can buy - these really are a players
and a connoisseurs banjo. Crystal clear tone and great playability. To
use the word "great" when discussing these banjo's would not
be too strong a word to use - in fact it would probably be an understatement,
these truly are fabulous banjo's - This
is what their website says:
"You have come to the right place if you are looking for a top quality
banjo that will offer you the most enjoyable and rewarding playing and
superior sound. Our banjos are known for their comfortable necks which
are fast and easy to play. You get the most banjo for your dollar when
you purchase a Deering and we back it up with a Lifetime Warranty and
a Banjo Maintenance Manual.
We are a family owned business with a sincere dedication to the finest
quality products and service. Your satisfaction is our highest priority.
We enjoy this business and we think of our suppliers, employees, dealers,
representatives and banjo players as friends. When you call Deering Banjos
you talk directly with the experts. In fact, you often get Greg or Janet
DEERING BANJO COMPANY
3733 Kenora Drive
phone: 619 464-8252
Fax: 619 464-0833
The Custom Shop: 800 845-7791
Now these instruments are something special. Made with not only the
tone and playability in mind but each one is a piece of Folk Art in its
Made with tradition and quality in mind each instrument is a masterpiece
of the instrument makers skill and talent.
Coog Instruments and Folk Art
147 Sacramento Avenue
phone: 831 425 4933
Gold Tone instruments are handcrafted with carefully selected woods,
excellent finishes, quality hardware, and tight-fitting parts.
These excellent Banjo's are attracting the attention of some of the
best players around. Not only are they beautiful to look at but have
a tone to die for.
Gold Tone Instrument Company
3700 Washington Ave. S.
Titusville, FL 32780
Phone: (321) 264-1970
Fax: (321) 269-4910
Just take a look at the little beauties being made by Nechville - are
these just the coolest thing ever ?
To read just a few of the testimonials on their website will convince
you that you are buying into technical excellence and fantastic tone
engineering when you buy one of their banjo's. Here's just a sample testimonial
from their site:
"I just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed playing my Nechville
electric Banjo. It's surprised and delighted many people now. Your craftmanship
is great, and it feels so good playing it."
Nechville Acoustics (see left) are built around his ingenious helical
mounting system, which places even tension on the head without all the
metal parts of a standard banjo. You really have to try one to believe
it, if you can find one. (BTW, those signatures on the head of the
acoustic banjo on the left are Bela Fleck, Pat Flynn and John Cowan -
3/4 of the New Grass Revival).
Nechville Musical Products
8036 Lyndale Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55420
Chuck is a really nice guy making a range of startlingly good
banjos. Here's a snippet from his website:
"Chuck has discovered over years of working with his hands, that there
are two types of craftsmen, each with their own merit. The first craftsman
strives for the perfect project, and the beauty comes from a project
that is well planned and finely executed. The end result of this person’s
labor is the “perfect” job completed.
The second type of craftsman is driven to create the perfect project
just as the craftsman above. But in this case the end result comes not
from merely a project that is well planned and finely executed. This
second type of artisan desires to see (and hear in our case) the joy
and pleasure that his effort brings. Chuck is the second type. His sense
of success and motivation comes when he knows that his instruments bring
joy and pleasure to the player and to those who listen to the music. "
Chuck Lee Banjo Company, Inc.,
112 Silverwood Drive,
Ovilla, Texas 75154
Phone: (972) 617-5576
Buzzard Mountain Instruments was founded by luthier Neil Turner on the principles of providing beautiful and innovative instruments. Neil is currently building primarily Banjos and will soon expand into other folk instruments. All of Neil's insturments are built with a keen eye for detail and a keen ear for tone. Plus he is a nice guy.
Buzzard Mountain Instruments
368 Cranfill RD SE
Marietta, GA 30060
Tom Cussen of Clareen Banjos has been playing and making banjos for over 35 years. Made with 100% Irish materials whenever possible for an authentic, vibrant and clear tone. They also provide both new and second hand banjos, mandolins, guitars, tenor guitars, fiddles and many more instruments.
Telephone: +353 91 796156
Fax: +353 91 796931