The new Tubaphone has been finished. The result was and is exciting!
It’s been pretty busy around here with every figurative “iron in the fire” all at once needing to be worked. I have posted the results of this Tubaphone to Facebook and Instagram first simply because, I was too busy to sit down and write. But now that time has allowed, here are the details of the new banjo that I built for myself.
The Snowbird Custom SBC18001 is personal banjo for Jeremy Myers made of a hard Missouri maple rim and tiger striped maple neck. The rim is an 11″ and the fretboard and headstock are gaboon ebony. This banjo has a new feature that was new to my woodworking skills, the backstrap on the headstock back plate that extended down the neck.
The fretboard has a unique combination of Mother of Pearl (MOP), Abalone, Brass, and Copper. The Dogwood flowers are engraved and are accented by the green Abalone stems.
On the headstock the first banjo having the new “Snowbird” owl that is a Snowy Owl having the plumage that appears to flow like the old Vega banjos and their gryphon. This new Snowbird is the new trademark for our company.
The inlay is a special design for Jeremy Myers having a deeper meaning. The story of the fretboard inlay is related to the human story. As most of us carry some kind of baggage, we can get overwhelmed with the details of problems life brings. The brass tree is our life as we try and live but the copper vine growing around it are the problems, the things that feel as though they will choke the light out of us. But just like nature, we can actually be strengthened by the vine because it causes us to reach higher for the light. We outgrow the vine. When we reach the point where we bloom, we can step back and look at the whole picture and see how the vine actually makes the whole picture more beautiful. It makes the life of each person have character that makes them stand out, making them more beautiful, and more unique. It’s not fun while it’s happening, but the end result shapes us into the person we are and the special purpose we have in life.
The head is jamaican goat skin and the color is natural. No dyes were used on the head.
The color is Aniline Dye and the finish is a Tru-Oil finish.
The Little Birdie model is an 11″ wood tone ring old time, open back, banjo with a 25 1/2″ scale.
The name “Little Birdie” harkens to the Snowbird name and the trademark snowy “Owl” that Jeremy designed to have a feel of a Gryphon on the old Vega banjos. Little Birdie is also the name of a song with the words “Little birdie, little birdie, come and sing to me your song” and we just think that is a perfect portrayal of our banjos.
Our goal in giving the model name is to have one banjo configuration that is easily and quickly reproducible and can be economically priced so we can get these banjos to folks seeking a banjo who are just starting out or who just like the sound of the “woody” banjo.
Neck: Five piece laminated pinstriped walnut neck, abalone fret dots, and no inlay on the headstock. Ebony Fretboard and headstock faceplate. Nickel 5 Star planetary tuners with ebony keys.
Rim: Block style walnut rim (although steam bent rims are being planned later), with pinstriping and ebony rim cap as well as an ebony tone ring. The rim head will consist of a Elite fiber skin head with nickel plated tension hoop, shoes, and hooks. A brass acid etched and aged company label with serial number is affixed inside the rim.
Finish: Aniline Dye stain with a Tru-Oil finish.
Inlay can be added if requested for additional fee or added after purchase.
Here is Snowdrop played with no sock or muffle.
To view the currently available banjos, please check out the New Banjosmenu item.
It’s been right at a year since the last update, and as time has gone along, I have considered making more posts to relay the progress of the company. Having the time to write has been the primary deterrent so far.
On January 12, 2018, Snowbird Banjo Company, LLC was officially incorporated the establish the company a little more. While the banjo production has been slow due to shop work as well as many other responsibilities that have taken my time, work on the infrastructure has continued. We have even issued a new logo to further direct the feel and goals of the business. While these do very little to make banjos, they do help to sell the instruments once the production has begun.
Work on the shop has continued with plywood going up on all but one wall, and sheetrock covering the plywood. The lighting is wired up, though the runs do not go to a live electric panel just yet. We’re going to have to run a new electric run to our service pole due to the wiring being too light a gauge for a 200 amp service. It’s a long story, but it involves just trying to get out of the RV and at the time, the available funds were not there. It’s very apparent that it is needed now.
As of this writing, I have made progress on two banjos. One to sell, and one to use as my personal banjo. These banjos have taken quite a long time and I have no idea how much time has been invested in these due to moving to Alaska and back. I’ve been working on these two on and off for about 4 years. HA! Thankfully, I’m getting organized and settled enough to knock these two out. I have 5 more necks ready to be started after these two. The rims will have to be worked on as they were turned on a failing lathe. That lathe has been replaced with a new grizzly lathe. I still have yet to set up my cross table and boring rig to turn the rims, but I’ll tackle that job on the next banjos. For now, the banjos I am trying to complete are finished beyond the lathe turning step.
Thank you for hang on with us through this ride of roller coaster and moving here and there. The wandering is finally coming to a close.