Custom Banjos



I am currently scheduling custom builds for January 2023. Custom designs take more time to figure out and build, so I have been thinking about having separate prices for custom work for some time. A banjo that is a stock design I make but with a different combination of woods or a different tone ring than I happen to have in stock at the moment will be priced as a stock banjo at a $1050 base price for a 12″, for instance.

Base price for a custom banjo for 2023 is $1150 for a 12” block rim pot with 18 brackets and a Van Eps style tension hoop, a two or three layer neck, cherry, plain maple or ash wood with jatoba, hickory or hop-hornbeam fretboard.  Each inch added or subtracted from the pot size affects the base price by $25.  Each bracket added or removed is $4, so for example a 10″ banjo with 12 brackets has a base price of $1076.   I have built banjos with pot sizes from 8″ to 16″. Feel free to send me an email for a quote, as I know my system can be confusing.

Other specs included in the base price are:

Any scale length
Any nut width
Tru Oil finish
Gotoh brass or nickel tuners
Scoop or full fretboard
Two way truss rod
Paddle or figure-8 shaped headstock
Corian nut
Brass or nickel-plated hardware
Dowel stick neck
No-Knot tailpiece
Nickel-silver fretwire
Vega or Dobson style heel
Wood tone ring profile in top of rim
Renaissance head— Fiberskyn and top frosted also the same price
Brass fretboard dots

Options include:

Left handed neck—no charge

Walnut, mahogany or curly maple +$30

Ebony fretboard +$30

Rosewood,pau ferro or Blackwood Tek fretboard +$20

Persimmon, zebrawood, or granadillo fretboard +$10

Other woods please inquire

Rocklite Ebano or Sundari fretboard +$35

Bound fretboard +$30

Radiused fretboard +$30

Either side or front fretboard dots are included, to have both costs $10 extra

Wood fretboard dots made from any wood I have on hand, +$10

Pearl dots + cost from supplier

Tunneled 5th string +$30

Fretless -$20

EVO fretwire +$10

Another simple headstock shape +$10

Complicated headstock shape +$20

Slot head +$20

Bone nut and pip +$10

Other tuners and tailpieces—you pay whatever the price difference is from what I normally use.

Armrest +$30-35 depending on wood, for more information please see Parts page

Round brass tone hoop +$25

Rectangular brass tone hoop +$50

Brass Electric/Whyte Laydie style tone ring +$90

Other metal tone rings and hoops: you pay the cost of the part from your preferred supplier.

5th string spikes +$5 a spike

Internal resonator +$100

Aged brass hardware +$40 (this includes all of the pot hardware and the peghead tuners, the 5th string tuners can’t be aged due to the plating)

Simple pre-cut inlays (stars, coins, etc) +$10 to install, plus cost of inlay

Large complex inlay is $30 an hour to install.  I don’t cut my own inlay so you’d have to order what you want and have it sent to me.  I don’t start work on the neck until the inlay has arrived, as sometimes it can be backordered for months.

I have Superior bump cases that fit 11″ and 12″  banjos with a range of standard scale lengths for $175.  I don’t have cases to fit A scale and C scale banjos or other rim sizes yet.

Please send an email if you’d like to get a quote on a custom banjo or to discuss the design you have in mind.