Ballard Banjers is a banjo making workshop run by me, Leon Ballard, in the Suffolk countryside of the United Kingdom . Ballard Banjers specialises in open back, tackhead and Appalachian mountain style banjos of various designs, all individually hand-crafted.
Ballard Banjers was the culmination of many years’ obsession with all things ‘banjo’, a lifetime as a musician and artist and a career as a cabinet/furniture maker. This crazy idea sprang into my mind and it suddenly made perfect sense to combine and utilise my skills in a meaningful way by diving head first into the lonely, Godforsaken world of banjo making.
Much of the inspiration for my work has come from varying sources. These include makers from the past, such as Stanley Hicks, William Temlett, James Ashborn, William Boucher, the Dobson brothers, S.S. Stewart and Frank Proffitt, as well as many of the fine makers of today.
In my quest to produce the perfect banjo with the 'old time' look and sound, I continue to experiment with materials and manufacturing techniques. Most of the high quality hardware used is imported from America or Canada. For the rims and necks, I use many different types of wood including American Black Walnut, Cherry and Maple, Ebony and Rosewood are mostly used for fingerboards and rim caps. These are sourced from one of the leading suppliers/importers of hardwoods in the U.K. and I personally inspect and select each individual piece before purchasing.
Pre-build discussions are encouraged and customers are invited to make suggestions on how they would like to personalise the appearance and sound of their banjo. Every banjo built is unique, ensuring each customer enjoys his/her own beautiful, hand-crafted instrument - a Ballard Banjo.