Here’s a very recent commission that was picked up.
The peghead and fifth string marker are inspired by the owner’s cat Treacle.
We went for European maple for this banjo’s neck. It’s a bit softer than the more usual rock maple and tends to give a bit more ‘pop’ . You trade a tiny bit of volume and the difference is fairly subtle but worth it.
Jazz guitar builders love this stuff, they normally favour the slightly softer varieties of maple for the backs of arch top guitars. It helps give them that big warm sound.
Don’t get me wrong, rock maple makes great banjos but I think sometimes there is this idea with banjos that the harder the maple the better the banjo and it just isn’t true. All depends on how you play, what you play and what tone your after. There are a lot of subtleties involved in banjo construction.
Actually, I might just be the first person ever to put ‘banjo’ and ‘ subtlety’ in the same sentence ! 🙂