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How a banjo is built is what gives it its power.

A banjo is the sum of its parts. The thing that makes a banjo sound like a banjo instead of a guitar or violin is the stretched head, but there has to be a structure to support and stretch it as well as anchor the neck.  All of these parts are the “guts” of the instrument and all contribute to the tone in some way, some increase volume, some provide tone color, some allow for adjustment, some are just for aesthetics like bindings and inlays. 

When you commission me to make a custom banjo, you get to decide just exactly what it will be made of - the anatomy of it.  Here are a few illustrations of the various parts that make up the banjo, and some of these are discussed in individual pages on this site’

Ken LeVan and LeVan banjos is now part of the Smithsonian Folkways series “North American Banjo Builders”


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CannonBell™, Kone11™, SteepCreek™ , ZipNut™, Turbo Pot™ , Tone~Wave™ and Eclectic™ are trademarks of LeVan Design     

LeVan Banjos are made in the USA from sustainable, non endangered materials.


Here’s a picture showing the basic parts of the banjo

Here’s a side view drawing of the “pot”.  On a LeVan banjo, most of these parts are made by hand.

Here’s a kind of cross-sectional view, showing the insides of the pot.