Here is my new fretless banjo.

In my work with the 1869 Cowboy Company, I played a character called "Riverboat." Riverboat played the banjo, among other things. Because the company emphasizes authenticity, I decided to build a fretless banjo. The rim and stretcher band came from Jimmy Cox. The neck woods came from First Quality Musical Supplies. Some other parts came from Stewart MacDonald, Elderly Instruments, The Music Man and Dr. Coolstuff.

Left to right, we have the front of the banjo, the back, a close-up of the inlays and the back of the neck. The inlays came from Swank Shell Inlay and First Quality Musical Supplies. I designed the inlays at the ends of the fingerboard. The others are stock items.

This is the tailpiece

The banjo is my own design, taken from pictures of various historical instruments. The tailpiece is made of ebony and is based on photos I have seen in various books. It takes some getting used to, but it is fun to play. I do not intend to make any more of these! Take it from me. At the prices they charge, the banjos by George Wunderlich, Bob Thornburg and Mike Ramsey are quite reasonable!

At the advice of Bob Thornburg, who makes really fine instruments, I do not plan to sell this banjo, at least in the foreseeable future.

Return to banjo setup index page
Go back to My Music

Contact Bill Palmer

©2006 Bill Palmer. All rights reserved. For permission to republish contact Bill Palmer. The opinions expressed on this page are strictly Bill Palmer's. Mastertone, Stelling and the other brand and model names are the property of the manufacturers and other people who own them.