Banjo # 018 – Sapele Mahogany – 12″ Dobson style tone ring

banjo headstock
Beartown Banjo #018 – sapele mahogany / paduak – 12″ pot with “Dobson-style” tone ring.

Banjo #018 is the first of the Beartown 12″ Mahogany “Dobson-style” tone ring. This banjo has an 12″  block rim of sapele mahogany with a Dobson style tone ring. Rim cap, heel cap and accent rim layer are paduak. Neck is 2 piece sapele with a thin black center laminate and is equipped with a dual action truss rod accessible at the heel.

Fingerboard is oiled chechen (aka “caribbean rosewood” or “black poisonwood”).  Headstock laminate (front and back) are  Paduak with a headstock inlay of curly maple, black walnut and mother of pearl. Instrument is finished with a penetrating oil finish. Banjo is set up with nickle hardware and nickle Gotoh planetary tuners, curved Beartown bridge and shop mounted goatskin head.

Set up is with a modest frailing scoop level with the head. Scale is 25.5″ with 19 frets. 5th string nut is at the 5th fret. The tone is full and powerful with punchy upper range and full low notes.

This Banjo is on display (and for sale) at Ithaca Guitar Works 215 North Cayuga Street, Ithaca, NY Stop in to take a look, and give it a play!!

Continue reading “Banjo # 018 – Sapele Mahogany – 12″ Dobson style tone ring”

Banjo #017 – Irish Tenor – Cherry & Black Locust

Banjo #017 is a custom build finished in October 2019. It now lives in Pennsylvania with its new owner, Brian.

This banjo has an 11″  block rim of curly Cherry and Black Locust with a 1/4″ brass rod done ring. Rim cap, heel cap and accent rim layer are Black Walnut. Neck is 3 piece laminate of black walnut with center rib of black locust with a dual action truss rod accessible at the heel.

Fingerboard is oiled Ironwood.  Headstock laminate is Iron wood on the front and Cherry on the back with a headstock inlay of curly maple, black walnut and mother of pearl. Instrument is finished with a penetrating oil finish. Banjo is set up with brass hardware and brass Gotoh planetary tuners, straight Beartown bridge and shop mounted goatskin head.

Set up is with a modest scoop to fine tune head clearance and string action. Tone is clear, with good sustain and clarity. Responsive in lower positions and up the neck. Scale is 21.5″ for Irish Tenor tuning.

Continue reading “Banjo #017 – Irish Tenor – Cherry & Black Locust”

Banjo #015 – Curly Maple, Black Walnut, Purpleheart

banjo #015 pot
Banjo #015 – curly maple, black walnut, purpleheart

Banjo #015 is a custom build finished in May 2019. It lives in its new home with Brian in North Carolina.

This banjo has an 11″  block rim of curly Maple with a Dobson style tone ring. Rim cap, heel cap and accent rim layer are Black Walnut. Neck is 3 piece laminate of black walnut with center rib of purpleheart with a dual action truss rod accessible at the heel.

Fingerboard is oiled Purpleheart.  Headstock laminate (front and back) are  purpleheart with a headstock inlay of curly maple and mother of pearl. Instrument is finished with a penetrating oil finish. Banjo is set up with brass hardware and brass Gotoh planetary tuners, curved Beartown bridge and shop mounted goatskin head.

Set up is with a modest frailing scoop level with the head. Scale is 25.5″ with 19 frets. 5th string nut is at the 5th fret.  Tone is clear, with good sustain and clarity. Responsive in lower positions and up the neck. With a 25.5″ scale this banjo can easily be tuned to G/C or A/D.

Continue reading “Banjo #015 – Curly Maple, Black Walnut, Purpleheart”