Banjo Styles

Anatomy & Construction2_Anatomy.html
Custom  Details3_Custom_details.html

I can make banjos in virtually any style in 5-string or tenor.  The pages below show more details

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

© LeVan Banjos  email

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

The New Vintage has become a classic, and I still make it as custom for those who prefer

the traditional notched tension hoop, tension hooks and nuts, and the wood tension rod dowel.

Just like its vintage forbears, it has a 3-ply laminated rim,

24 hooks and nuts (I hand-make 88 metal parts for one of these)

Just like my original ones,

except I’ve gotten better at making them.

This  is the only handmade top tension bluegrass banjo made today.

Not to be confused with the old Gibson ones, It incorporates several design advancements

and is a unique banjo in its own right.

Much lighter weight, in part due to a carbon fiber tone ring,

The tension bolt lugs start halfway up the tension hoop, allowing the top

to be clean and not requiring an armrest, although armrests are available.

It’s possible to make banjos lighter by using materials

such as 6061 aluminum and carbon fiber.

We have been experimenting with this for quite a while.

We’re able to design and build lighter banjos

without sacrificing good sound.

The Cathy banjo (thanks to Cathy) has won the

old time banjo competition two years running at the Topanga Folk Festival

I’ve made a lot of longneck banjos, the first one,

a conversion of a Fairbanks Electric pot in 1963.

There’s a renewed interest in these,

once the hands-down favorite of folk singers, now finding new ways

to express themselves in lower keys and tunings.

Our top tension version, the only one of its kind,

brings this vintage style into the 21st century.

This  is the only handmade top tension openback banjo made today.

and is a unique banjo in that regard.

Players will appreciate the lack of tension nuts extending below the rim which catch on clothing

and jab your leg or body—the bottom is completely smooth.

It can be made in 11”or 12” with a variety of tonerings

for different sounds