Frequently Asked Questions
How do I order a banjo?
We take in a limited number of custom orders annually right around New Years Day. Our next waitlist opening is on January 1, 2019. Interested folks email or call us anytime during the day on January 1st (24 hours starting 12am PST). We'll draw a limited number of names for the build list on January 2, 2019, and we will send folks whose names were drawn the instructions for paying the $500 USD non-refundable deposit. More ordering details are on our ordering page.
Is the wait for a banjo really 5 years?
Yes. Any build deposits we take in our waitlist opening are for builds approximately 5 years from now.
How much does a banjo cost?
Every banjo is a custom build, so we don't have a standard pricing. Take a look at our pricing page for base and option prices. Inlay and onlay prices depend on the artwork. We will always get your approval for all parts of the banjo, including the final inlay design and cost, before we start moving ahead on it.
How do I pay for my banjo build? Do you have a payment plan?
We ask for a $500 non-refundable deposit (payable through Paypal, check, wire transfer, and good old cash), and then invoice you for the balance of your banjo a couple weeks before your instrument is completed. Outside of these two payments we don't offer a payment plan.
Can I find your banjos in a store?
We used to have our banjos in a few wonderful stores, but we have become swamped with custom orders and that is all we are able to keep up with these days.
Is banjo #----- available?
We don't have any particular banjos in stock as every banjo is a custom build for a client (with the exception of a few Luthier’s Choice banjos). We'd be happy to make you a replica of most of the banjos you see on the site.
Can you make me a banjo like #----- but with inlay from #----- and hardware from #-----?
Yes! And with any other changes you might like.
Do you ever have any extra banjos for sale?
Every once in a while we do have a Luthier's Choice banjo for sale. These banjos are offered first to folks on our waitlist, and then to subscribers to our e-newsletter.
Can you inlay a picture of my face on my banjo?
Maybe, but we might recommend that you contact other luthiers who specialize more in this kind of work. Grit Laskin would be a great example.
Can you inlay something I send you?
Most often yes. Coins, bone, shell and other items can all be inlayed.
Can you make a banjo from wood I send you?
It depends on the wood, especially how it has been stored and how it is cut, but the answer is sometimes yes.
Can I buy some of your custom hardware?
No, we don't sell our hardware separately from our banjos.
How long does it take you to build a banjo?
Depending on inlay and complicated builds, we can build around 3 banjos a month.
When exactly will you build my banjo?
Given our touring schedule, growing family, and the nature of our custom builds, we do our best to give approximate build dates but can never be exactly sure when your banjo build will come up. Currently we are somewhere around 5 years out from ordering to building. We give you plenty of warning to make design and tone choices before it's time for your build.
Do you make left-handed banjos?
Do you make long-neck banjos?
No. Unless you can prove that there's just no other key for you than E.
How do your serial numbers work?
Our 5-digit serial numbers have two parts. The first two digits are the year the instrument was built, and the last three digits are the number in production. For example, banjo #14358 was built in 2014 and is our 358th banjo.
Can I be your apprentice?
We are exploring setting up an apprenticeship program, but for now we are not taking on any apprentices.
Do you ship to Sweden? Japan? Peru? Australia?
Yes! We ship anywhere in the world, and will give you a shipping estimate based on your (or our, if you like) preferred shipping method. Our shipments are all insured independently of the shipping companies.
Can I track my banjo so I can be on my porch waiting for it when it arrives?
Yes you can. We will send you your tracking number with every banjo shipment.
What gauges are the strings you put on my banjo?
Most of our banjos come with our custom string set installed. 0.011 - 0.024B - 0.015 - 0.013 - 0.011.
What should I used to clean and maintain my banjo?
Most any instrument polish will do. We particularly like Dr. Duck's for the body of the instrument, and Naylor's Organic Bore Oil for fingerboards.
Can you put a pickup on my banjo?
We sure can. Let's talk more about the type of pickup that will work for you.
Why are your prices in USD?
Most of our customers are in the USA, and most of our suppliers are in the USA, so it just keeps things easy that way.
Why do you charge me the fee that paypal charges?
Somebody's gotta pay for that delightful service.
Have another question? Get in touch!