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   RIMS        WOOD       TONE RINGS         NECKS       FINGERBOARDS       DETAILS      


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


© LeVan Banjos • LeVan Banjos is a division of LeVan Design, Shunk Pennsylvania

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.

New Vintage,   

LeVan Custom Banjos are made by hand here in the Northern Appalachians - Every one is a custom design in one way or another.  We develop a design for each customer and every banjo we build is a prototype of that design. I’m not a mass-producer.  When you commission a project you become part of the design process.  As an industrial designer, I am very familiar with manufacturing, and have incorporated special features and hand work into our banjos that I know is not easily done in a factory or by mass production. No modern computer-controlled machinery or serial production methods are used. Each banjo is built individually.

We don’t merely assemble them from parts purchased from other suppliers - We make most of the parts by hand in the shop and the designs are unique to us—we are constantly innovating and

improving what we do.


We are currently taking orders for projects starting mid-winter 2022

Our handmade top- tension with a carbon fiber tone ring

is our flagship instrument and is our basic banjo.

American made, this is the only hand-made top tension banjo being produced today.

They are an exceptional value with laminated rims,

brazed bracket bands and tension hoops.

Unique, and not merely copies of other banjos.

The New Vintage has become a classic, and was our first limited production banjo;

We still produce it for those who prefer

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

Not an entry-level banjo, it has a 3-ply laminated rim,

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

Just like our original ones,

except we have 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.

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 make lighter banjos without

sacrificing good sound.

I have made a lot of longneck banjos, the first one,

a conversion of a Fairbanks Electric pot in 1963.

We have observed a renewed interest in these,

once the hands-down favorite of folk singers.

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

brings this style into the 21st century.

Our rims are all 3-ply laminated

from air-dried wood we cut with

our own sawmill from woods which

are chosen for the banjo

being made.

We make our own unique tone rings, hand fabricated and brazed.

Our most popular one is the carbon fiber.