Banjo Makers

ramseyMike 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.

Mike Ramsey,
Rt. 2, Box 564B,
VA, 24522,

Phone: 434-248-9615

stellingSince 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


gibsonRanking 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.


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


davidsonPhil 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.


melroseMelrose 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"

3733 Kenora Drive
Spring Valley,
CA 91977-1829

phone: 619 464-8252
Fax: 619 464-0833
The Custom Shop: 800 845-7791

coogNow 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 own right.

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
Santa Cruz

phone: 831 425 4933

goldtoneGold 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

nechvilleJust 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 various 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

Phone 952-888-9710

chuck leeChuck 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

buzzardBuzzard 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.

Neil Turner
Buzzard Mountain Instruments
368 Cranfill RD SE
Marietta, GA 30060

Phone: 770.298.5508




Clareen Banjos

clareen banjosTom 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.

Clareen Banjos,
Co. Galway,

Telephone: +353 91 796156
Fax: +353 91 796931