blue banjo

blue banjo

Model 8

A banjo version of my electric guitar

All the instruments that I have built I have spent much time with as a player or handling in terms of repair or restoring. So when Toronto banjo player Jamie Stone asked me to make him a banjo version of my electric guitar, I was in some new territory.

I wasn’t sure what was most important for banjo player. The fact is the banjo represents the basis of plucked stringed instruments that would follow it out of Africa. Through the middle east (tambor, tar and oud) to Indian (sitar and sarod) and along the silk road into asia (the samisen and koto) and up into Europe with the lute and finally the guitar.

This instrument is reabsorbing some influence from the electric guitar.

I learned a lot from making that first electric banjo. When Bill Evans and Henry Kaiser commissioned a set of electric banjos, I took what I learned from that prototype. This time around I didn’t try to imitate the electric guitar. Instead I concentrated on incorporating the essence of the banjo. The construction is more acoustic than electric, and emulates the banjo construction more than electric guitar construction.

The 26″ scale provides a circular soundboard surrounded by a ported amplifying chamber. The pickups are hand wound Alnico 2 or 5 humbuckers with optional bridge transducer.

The neck is mounted by the heel stick that runs through the central well – in fact the construction is fairly ‘dobro-esque’. The tuners can be configured with 5th string and fret tuner or 5 straight through to the nut, with 5th string tuning hooks.

-- Allan Beardsell


Beardsell guitars come in several body shapes and styles: large, medium, and small bodied steel-string acoustic, solid-body electric, semi-acoustic arch top electric, nylon string, manouche-style, and harp guitar (we even make a pretty sweet mandolin and a killer electric banjo).

Get an eyeful of the photos in the various galleries strewn throughout the site. See something you like that's almost-but-not-quite what you're looking for? Feel free to order "off the menu," as many already have. Truth be told, we've created many "hybrid" instruments over the years, with most features available on one model transferrable (within reason) to just about anything else (like an archtop-style custom brass tailpiece on a steel-string flattop, or a multi-scale classical guitar, or a cutaway banjolectric, or... well, you get the idea).

Venetian or Florentine cutaways, unconventional fingerboard extensions, wacky amplification solutions, sideports (with or without sliding covers), whimsical logo styles, personalized inlays, motorized, remote-controlled attachments of dubious form and function... it's all to play for. Whatever you have in mind, Al will be happy to discuss various options and possibilities with you.