You can identify a picker playing a Deanocraft Custom Banjo by the grin he’s sporting. Because the luthier Dean Robinson carefully considers each player’s specifications as he designs, hand carves, and assembles each instrument. The former CPA, who began woodworking as a child (and learned to play the banjo later in life), employs decades of experience to create beautiful pieces that produce stellar sounds. “Comfort is key,” Robinson says of the banjos, which take up to sixty hours to make. That’s why he innovated a flange (the circular band attaching the resonator to the head) that makes his banjos lighter and feel nicer sitting on your lap. His material choices are equally significant. American walnut or maple for the neck and pot provide the right tone, while exotic wood and shell inlays patterned on his love of the outdoors add eye appeal. “There’s no greater artist than Mother Nature,” he says.
>Banjos, $1,400-$3,000 from deanocraft.com
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