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.

Here is an openback,  curly red maple rim and neck, nickel plated hardware, and a nickel silver CannonBell™ tone ring.

This is a very loud and bright banjo, which the player uses for a variety of styles, including folksinging, fingerpicking and chromatic.

The close-up of the bottom shows details such as multi-colored binding multi-laminated neck and dowel stick, and a walnut rim cap.

It now lives in Norwich, England

This  openback has a 26.25” scale, a frailing scoop, cherry laminated rim and neck, handmade brass hardware throughout and a specially annealed SteepCreek™ tonering - the first one ever made.

This is a very powerful banjo with a percussive sound.  The brass is a little darker sounding than nickel silver.

It has a padauk rim cap and padauk/ baked ipe center stripe.

This banjo resides in North Carolina

This banjo was made for guitarist John Miller.  It  is a woodie and has a 10 7/8” pot, and  has  a 26,2” scale, but 24 frets in order to make the neck full length, but put the bridge in a more central position, which was what John wanted.

It has a vintage Rogers head. 

This woodie i has a rim made from finger-jointed 250 year old walnut and a wooden tone ring made from walnut splined black locust, which is a very dense and metallic-sounding North American hardwood. 

In order to offset the lightweight construction and give the woodie a little more “oomph”, it has a brass bracket band with  handmade ball brackets, which adds mass to the center of the pot.

The neck is cherry with a walnut and maple

center stripe

The longneck banjo is the favorite banjo of folksingers because of the versatility in accompanying song, and these were used by the likes of Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Bob Gibson, Dave Guard, Hedy West, Tommy Makem, Alex Hassliev, Eric Darling and others.

The one shown here has a mahogany rim and neck with walnut trim, a frailing scoop, elaborate tri-color inlays, handmade brass hardware and a brass CannonBell™ tonering.

It  now lives in Germany.

Base price for openbacks  $2,200

Price varies according to type of wood, inlays and extras.


                              BLUEGRASS                  OPENBACK                 FRETLESS 


The LeVan New Vintage™ is the “new kid on the block”. Totally handmade with 87 handmade metal parts, yet priced at a very affordable $1295.

Available in cherry or maple, 11” or 12”

Inspired by the great vintage instruments of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the New Vintage is a premier openback for folk, frailing and clawhammer.


The Featherlight™  lightweight banjo has most of the metal parts made from 6061 aluminum, which is an aircraft and racing bicycle alloy, but has a great sonorous tone,not to be compared with cast aluminum,which is a different alloy.

The rim and neck shown below are black cherry, but red maple or other woods can be used.  It is a true hybrid, not the same as cast pot aluminum banjos.  The basic featherlight weighs 5 pounds, 4 ounces.

It produces avery “poppy” sound, with good note separation, excellent for frailing or fingerpicking,

and has a powerful presence despite its light weight.