Start With a Sketch
I begin each build with a concept sketch.
Selecting a wood species is the basis of banjo construction. Renan uses a variety of hardwoods chosen for their tone, beauty and functionality.
Each banjo has its own narrative and demands its own distinct aesthetic choices. Play something different.
All Renan necks are 2-piece construction: a blank is ripped down the middle and the parts are glued back together with opposing grains. This method is chosen for its supreme strength and stability. On occasion I will make 1-piece necks from material with superior vertical grain. All necks are setup with a 2-way adjustable truss rods. Adjustments should be easy.
Each neck is hand carved utilizing both modern and traditional methods. Rough shaping is done with a bandsaw and router templates. All contouring is done by hand, with spoke shaves, rasps, files, card scrapers and sandpaper. I spend the majority of my time shaping the neck- taking great care that it best reflects the users specifications, is functional, ergonomic and comfortable to use.
The intersection of the neck to the peghead is generally a weak area. Adding a bumpout or carving detail greatly strengthens the integrity of the neck.
The majority of Renan fingerboards are made from Richlite. Used formidably for counter tops because of its water resistant properties, Richlite is a resin-infused paper product. The Aerospace industry used it as early as 1943 for machine tooling. It is supremely stable, sustainable and will not crack, creep or warp with excesses of high and low moisture.
Wooden fingerboards available by request. Species include: Ebony, Macassar (figured) Ebony, Padauk, Birdseye Maple, Osage Orange
Fifth string carving details further enhance the beauty of the neck profile. Whether it’s a subtle notch or a sweeping curve, the distinctive feature of the banjo is its asymmetry – flaunt it.
The shape of the heel can influence the balance of the instrument. It is also the structural intersection between the neck and the pot. Choose from Dobson, Dobson with a pronounced ‘V’, Guitar, Boat heel or a custom design.
Frailing Scoops are added just after the 17th fret. Adding one is matter of personal choice and depends on your playing style. Choose from a variety of styles: no scoop, straight, curved, ‘R’ Scoop, or a custom design.
Trimwoods & Veneers
Decorative veneers and binding add a valued sophistication to the overall aesthetic of the banjo.
Are not just valued for looks alone, adding a additional wood to the thickness of the peghead greatly strengthens the stability of the neck.
Renan banjo rims come standard with an integral wood tone ring. Choose from 1/4″ Rolled Brass, 5-star 1/2″ Brass, Dobson, Whyte Laydie or Tubaphone tone rings for an additional fee.
Inlay & Engraving
Fret dots come standard on all banjos. Custom inlay available at an additional cost. Have a custom design you want inlayed? Send me an image, happy to incorporate your ideas into your custom banjo.