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What to Consider When Choosing a Luthier to Make Your Open Back Banjo

A Luthier is just a fancy name of someone who builds or repairs instruments and there are many excellent makers around the world to choose from. So what do you need to consider when deciding who to work with?

  1. Signature build style

  2. Location

  3. Cost

  4. Additional costs (delivery / import / custom options)

  5. Wait time

Let’s have a little look at some of the things you need to think about for each one…

Signature Build Style

Most makers have developed a framework and design for a style of banjo that they know works, that they enjoy making and which lends itself to customisation.So, you might choose a maker because you’ve seen their banjos before and fallen in love with them, or perhaps because they’re similar to the instruments you’ve played and enjoyed. It really doesn’t matter what attracts you to a maker, but a great starting point is to find someone who is already making a style you like, and then exploring the options for customisation.


You can find excellent banjo Luthiers in the US, UK and wider Europe. Consider if location is important to you. People have great experiences customising their banjo over a distance, whilst other players feel more comfortable being able to visit a workshop and talk to the maker face to face.


The cost of your handmade banjo will tend to vary depending on the maker, and also the level of customisation you have. Makers may have have a “base” model, with the choice of inlay, fingerboards, wood etc as options on top of that price. Currently you can buy a custom banjo from around £1,500 from the US and UK up to £4,000+ depending on maker, customisation and materials.

Wait Time

The wait time on a handmade banjo can be anything from a few months, up to a year! A beautiful instrument is worth the wait, but you may want to ask how long it will be when you enquire.

For details about having a custom McLeod banjo made, please contact us today.

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