Renan Banjos are made almost entirely inside a 24 x 24′ 2-car Garage.
Each banjo is constructed utilizing a mix of power and hand tools. Inspiration for a build can be as simple as a shape, a color or the materials themselves. Sometimes the grain of a neck blank will drive the entire design of an instrument. I prefer to start a build with a quick sketch and have a limited color palette in mind. Concepts often start grandiose on paper, but over time and with careful consideration I will begin to carve away the unnecessary details, gradually honing the end product.
From lumber to banjo neck blanks
Osage Orange, concept sketch, process & execution
Inspiration & Theme
Inspiration for the ‘V-Scoop’ on Fardowner RB #13 was inspired by the Master Luthier Johann Georg Stauffer’s 19th century guitars. The ‘V’ shaped scoop further inspired the intersecting ‘road-map’ of inlay. The exaggerated ‘sharp’ boat heel shape, heel cap and handmade brass wedge shoes were all influenced by the original inlay design – lines that define form.
Color can be a strategic design asset. Too much color, however, often overpowers the form, the theme and the overall aesthetic of a banjo. Best to keep it simple. Sometimes my themes are inspired by color choice. For Renan Banjo #14, the color palette was inspired by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s circus and theatrical paintings and prints from the 1890s. High contrasting colors like white, yellow and black and accent colors (red) are prevalent in his work. The triangular Osage Orange inlays on the fingerboard appear to be falling or moving in a black space. This aesthetic was chosen to mimic Lautrec’s tense compositions of ladies in dance. Composition of color is as important as color choice.
The Fardowner #08
The Buzzard #12
Ledington T-Rex #10
stay tuned for more updates!