• Bob Gernandt - Bob is a true artist and I'm so fortunate to have such a fine luthier living here in Bryson City. His guitars, mandolins, mountain dulcimers, Irish bouzoukis and citterns, are outshined in their aesthetic beauty only by their tone. His advice has been invaluable.
  • Old Fiddle Road - Noel Booth is another local luthier living only a half hour away in Balsam, NC. He creates boutique openback, tackhead and gourd banjos (honestly, the nicest banjos I've ever played). Noel has also been very giving of his wisdom and time.
  • Dean-O-Craft Stringed Instruments - Dean Robinson is a good friend and great builder of finely crafted stringed instruments.  He recently became a full-time luthier and I'm quite jealous.  He and his wife Judy are also pretty fine old-time musicians, who let me jam along with them from time to time.  
  • David Hyatt - gourd banjo builder, instructor and historian. His site also includes a list of the best gourd banjo builders around, a pdf file on how to build a gourd banjo and downloadable mp3s. All free.
  • Daddy Mojo: Finely Crafted Cigar Box Guitars - Lenny P. Robert makes some of the finest CBGs out there (next best thing to making your own). Not only does he make a living building CBGs, he has an actual staff. Three cheers for Lenny - my hero!
  • Brooks Banjos - Brooks Masten makes some of the nicest, best sounding, openback banjos out there. He's also a genuinely nice person, who showed me his shop and answered so many questions. He is also one of the few banjo makers who fabricates his own hardware - and it's stunning!
  • Vance Banjos - Colin Vance worked for Wildwood for about a decade before going out on his own. His banjos are works of art (check out some of his inlay work). Also his pegheads and heals are beyond unique. Plus, Colin was a super nice guy when I visited his shop in Arcata, CA. Every question I had, he didn't just give me an answer, he showed me his processes (the jigs and tools he uses).

  • Stewart-MacDonald - if you're building a stringed instrument, you won't get far without a few tools from stew-mac. Beware, it's easy to drop alot of $$ very quickly (but always high quality).
  • Bill Rickard - Bill is not only a banjo builder, but he fabricates the nicest hardware for other banjo builders to purchace.  His raw brass shoes and hooks have been used on many of my banjos.
  • Mid-East Music - a great source for natural skins (goat and calf).  Most of my tackhead banjos use a natural skin from this company.
  • Eldery Music - parts and accessories for stringed instruments. Also vintage and new instruments (easy to get lost looking at old Gibson, Martins and Nationals).
Of Interest
  • Pincu Pottery - This is my wife's webpage - handmade, functional terracotta pottery for the artful table.
  • Old Groove - celebrates old-time southern music, tradition and culture through the people who create it, those who carry it on, and those who aren't afraid to add their two cents along the way.
  • Sugar in the Gourd - streamed old-time music around the clock.
  • Banjo Hangout - All things banjo including advice for and from builders.
  • Cigar Box Nation - if it weren't for this forum I don't think I would have ever gotten started as a builder. Great place to learn alot.
  • Postcards from the Smokies - If you want to know a little bit more about where I live, check out this weekly blog.  They "take a more casual look at the small, hidden treasures that make the Smokies special."