Part of a set with #275. The walnut is some beautiful subtle curly stuff milled as urban salvage from Goby Walnut in Portland. The pistachio is from California Orchards. This pistachio fretboard is a real stunner, with every color of the rainbow and some unique grain to it. I'm always shocked that a crazy piece like this can still be so stiff, but this pistachio continues to surprise me.
This is a matched set with #276 for the same customer. The walnut is some beautiful subtle curly stuff milled as urban salvage from Goby Walnut in Portland. The pistachio is from California Orchards. I really like that the pistachio fretboard has an even color but with dark grain lines running through it. The concert is my favorite scale, and this one doesn't disappoint. Easy to play and a rich, clear sound.
The customer who ordered this banjo uke asked for some straight grain wood for the neck that didn't have any curl or stripes. It turns out that the best candidate for the job was from a small stash of walnut pulled out of my Grandfather's barn in Carroll County, IL. It was milled from a walnut tree that came down in the yard. The pistachio is from California Orchards. The longer tenor scale, a goat skin head and the darker sound of the walnut make for a vibrant sound that feels mellow and punchy at the same town. It's difficult to explain how a natural skin head sounds different than the synthetic head because it can be pretty subtle. But this one sounds more "organic" to me, which I admit makes no sense. Anyway, it's a good one.
I am so excited to get back to building five string banjos! This one features:
-11 Inch, all wood block rim with pistachio tone ring.
-25.5" scale length pistachio fret board with 17 frets and frailing scoop.
-USA made brass hardware from Balsam banjo works and Brooks Masten
-All domestic wood. Maple or walnut with pistachio trim.
This robust block rim with pistachio makes for a unique voice, loud and vibrant yet rich and detailed. Great for solo work or with a string band. Stay tuned on our order page for when these will be available and for pricing.
This little banjo really highlights the beautiful curly maple from Zena Forest Products in Salem, OR. Visually striking, sustainable harvested and perfect for musical instruments. A bright and snappy instrument that can compete for acoustic volume in any situation.
This one really shows off the diversity in color that California pistachio can exhibit. From cream to pink to green to brown, this one has it all. Paired with some Oregon walnut I got from a retired furniture maker and it produces a unique look.
This instrument was ordered by a friend of my old business partner Heidi Litke. She asked for a highly figured California pistachio fretboard and headplate and I am pleased with what I laid out. The tenor scale and the Oregon walnut make for a mellow tone with good sustain that will still cut through the jam session.
Check out this beautiful maple from Zena Forest Products in Salem, OR. Multi-colored and curly, it's amazing stuff and sustainably harvested. The pistachio is from California orchards, included my first ever headstock back strap. Pretty happy with how it turned out. This one has a punchy, poppy sound, can't wait to get it out in the world so it can make some music!
I have been pleasantly surprised by the popularity of these mini five string banjos. I didn't really expect to get so many orders for them. I think most have gone to banjo players, but I know a few have gone to uke players as well. I look forward to seeing what people are inspired to do with these little guys. I like the sustain and mix of warmth and punch on this little guy, walnut from Goby in Portland and pistachio from California orchards.
When I bought this walnut from a retiring furniture maker in The Dalles 5 years ago, it seemed like I would never be able to use it all. Now, after making banjo ukes, headplates and regular ukes for Mya-Moe and several great Beansprout instruments, it is almost gone! A nice mix of colors and subtle curl, this Oregon walnut has been a pleasure to work with. The longer scale of the tenor often gives a richer tone and this one is no exception.
Nice curly maple from Henry's dance floor stash and some uniquely grained pistachio from California orchards make for a bright and snappy banjo uke. The K&K pickup and an easy playing setup make for a stage worthy instrument. When I first started, I used maple for the first 100 banjo ukes or so and most of those were concert scale like this one. Still a tried and true combination, in my opinion.
At the turn of the 20th century, oak was used by some banjo, guitar and piano makers, but it is rarely used today. This was the first time I ever used oak for an instrument and I was pleasantly surprised. It may not be a sexy tropical hardwood, but it looks great and sounds great too. Plus, you will never have to worry about showing import and source documentation, unlike all those Rosewood guitars out there! I think the sound is as loud as maple, but is a lightly drier and dustier in quality. The oak came from the same estate sale in The Dalles, OR that Henry's dance floor maple came from and the pistachio is from California orchards.
From new owner, Jon:
the banjo arrived safe and sound
playability is the best
of any banjo uke I've ever owned and to describe it as beautiful
would be an understatement.
I recorded something with it yesterday -
like the way you described the sound as dry and dusty - yes.
and I love it.
thanks mate. (video below)
This beauty is for an old friend and talented musician, Kailin Yong. We played in a band together for many years and I am happy to support him by building him a few instruments recently. The bird's eye and quilted maple came from Crosscut in Portland and the pistachio is from California orchards. Kailin has a unique ability to make a string instrument sing and I hope he finds this one up to the task. I think the tone is especially vibrant due to the hard maple and I can't wait to hear what he does with it!
Beautiful straight grain walnut from an estate sale in The Dalles, OR and pistachio from California orchards. This one has lots of depth and sustain and a nice ringing sparkle to the tone. 6 coats of oil finish on the neck and lots of time sanding make for a smooth and fast playing neck. The guy I bought the walnut from also sold me my first old wood working machine, a Craftsman 100 drill press, made by King Seeley in the 1950's.
Three mini five string banjos in a row have been a great way to dial in a few things about the design. I can't wait to keep the process going. This walnut and pistachio banjo is a little sweeter than the previous maple one and maybe a tiny bit softer in volume, in a good way. The walnut is urban salvage from Goby in Portland and the Pistachio is from California orchards. Notice how the fretboard/headplate change color from green to red over its length.
It can be challenging to nail down the right voice for a little banjo like this. It should be bright and loud, but still sweet and with good sustain. This hard maple, from Henry's dance floor stash, seems to do the trick. With Pistachio from California orchards to trim it out, this one looks great too.