Open back clawhammer banjos made in the USA.
Marty builds his banjos using a solid block wood rim. This is a feature only a few luthiers and custom shops are offering. The majority of the other makers (including both the cheap imports and the 'big name' guys) use a laminated rim. The difference between the solid wood, lathe turned rim hand made by Marty and the 2 or 3 ply bent-wood laminated rims the other guys use is significant. Laminated rims are made by bending 2 or 3 plys of wood inside a mold or form and glueing them under tension. After the glue dries, they are removed from the form and are asked become one of the most important tone producing components of the banjo. This is much cheaper and easier to make than a solid wood rim. It also leaves the wood under tension which affects the tone. Plus you are never sure what kind of wood might be under that thin veneer they put on the outer and inner surfaces to dress things up. A lot of laminated banjo rims come from plywood factorys that make plywood cylinders for furniture.
Marty's solid wood rims are made one at a time from hand selected aged maple, teak or walnut. Individual blocks are carefully machined and then glued into 3 or 4 hexagonal or octagonal rings and these rings are glued to form the rough rim block. The rough rim is then mounted on the lathe and turned to form the finished rim. Careful attention is given selecting the wood for uniform density and 'tap' tone as well as visual beauty. When the rim is taken off the lathe, it is already musical, it 'rings' when you tap it!
Click on any of the pictures on the left for details and pricing. Anyone wanting to order a banjo, please give Marty a call at 828-290-9713 or e-mail Florida Banjo (firstname.lastname@example.org). Marty also will make custom necks for your banjo project and is offering his block rims for people wanting to build their own banjo. Call or email to discuss your needs.
I just put up a couple of clips of a new 12" Walnut Wooden Workingman's (maple tone ring). They are at the bottome of the Walnut Workingman's page
I've just completed special banjo for a project to determine the properties of teak for use as a tonewood. (It is a GREAT tonewood, making for a slightly more focused and clear sound than maple.) This one has a curly teak neck and pot with curly maple accents. Here are a couple of photos of the prototype: Zepp Country Music will be carrying the new line of teak banjos.
I've moved the photos and sound clips from Galax to the Galax 2005 Page.
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