RENAN BANJOS (Pronounced Ree-Naan) are hand crafted in Richmond, Virginia, by J. Tyler Burke.  Named after Renan, Virginia - a small community at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains where Tyler's family has roots.


What Renan Banjos offers:

  • Quality craftsmanship and playability

  • Lifetime Warranty on all wood parts

  • Wood sourced locally and responsibly

  • Value placed in reuse and recycled materials

  • Value placed in alternative Inlay & Fingerboard materials

  • Hardware made in North America, Gotoh Tuners made in Japan


Where Renan Banjos is going:


What is the aesthetic of the 21st Century Banjo?

What defines the 'sonic acoustic-ness' of tomorrows open-back banjo?

My goal with Renan Labs is to formulate new concepts, practices and methods for the traditional form of banjo building. I gather inspiration, ideas and innovation from a multitude of music genres and visual art forms. American Country roots, Old Time & early Bluegrass music have a special place in this art form but there is much to glean, gather and immerse oneself in; in world cultures. Whether that is through the practice of visual art making, anthropology or ethnomusicology. 

My goal hasn't changed as a builder: 


I am here to build visually distinct &

sonically resonant banjos


Tyler's background is rooted in the visual arts and woodworking.  Raised in Virginia and educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,   he has worked in and around the entertainment industry and in custom woodworking, milling, and cabinetry for over 15 years.


I am influenced by all types of art and that conveys in what I make. To me, the construction of an instrument is just as important as its sound. I put careful consideration into composition, wood choice, patina, pattern, materials and aesthetics.  My desire is to make simple, yet elegant, banjos, which often requires a painstaking editing processes.  I’m seeking to make the best possible instrument, one banjo at at a time."


– J. Tyler Burke

Builders Notes:

While the methods used to build banjos are traditional; my push has been on introducing modern & contemporary art forms to the aesthetics of the instrument. Mother of Pearl has traditionally been used as a decorative material in inlay. As our Oceans warm, MOP is fast becoming a finite resource. I place value in using alternative materials such as reconstituted stone, paper, acrylic and hardwoods. There is infinite room for creative expression utilizing alternative/ sustainable materials.  


Aesthetic inspiration is fueled by a feeling, a gesture, an emotion... from that I formulate a theme~ it ultimately becomes a storytelling device. I'm pulling decorative inlay ideas/expressions from: Tattoo Flash, Pop Art, Interior & Exterior Architecture, Industrial & Graphic Design, Folk & Outsider Art, etc. 

A lot of what I listen to influences the type of banjo I want to build, some of my favorite artists include;

The Cramps, Hasil Adkins, Abner Jay, High on Fire, Sleep, Scott H. Biram, Sob, Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Jack Rose, Junior Kimbrough, Yo La Tengo

Light & Hitch, Earl White Stringband, Rylie Baugus, Ralph Stanley, Dwight Diller, Back-Step, Greg Hooven, Travis & Trevor Stuart, Eddie Bond, Chicken Train, Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, The Dry Hill Draggers, The Black Twig Pickers 

RB #26 - March 2020
Folk Art inspired Boxwood marquetry in Richlite 
Established 2015