Want a banjo that’s old time and original that you won’t want to stop playing?  You’ve come to the right place!  Instrument builder Noel Booth of Old Fiddle Road Banjo works, designs and builds banjos made with a combination of traditional and unusual woods (think Maple & Mahogany vs. Purple heart and Bubinga) artfully blended with historical and contemporary design.  Each instrument is unique in its own right.

Currently Noel is building traditional and contemporary open back banjos, gourd banjos and Antebellum minstrel style banjos! He is constantly designing new models, so check back soon and find out what’s new at Old Fiddle Road.

Browse and learn more. Don’t hesitate to contact us to get more details and check inventory.

You’ll also find Old Fiddle Road Banjos at these fine music stores…

Acoustic Corner, Black Mountain, NC

Turtle Hill Banjo Co., Bryantown, MD www.turtlehillbanjo.com

What’s New

    Resonator Guitar

    Resonator guitar styled after the early wood bodied National Triolians.  Let me
    just go on the record and say, “I think resonator guitars are super cool and intriguing instruments”—and they have some very banjo like construction features. Since I started out in lutherie at a guitar building school, this project afforded me the chance to draw in equal measure from both my experience of building bunches of banjos and what I leaned studying guitar construction.  These instruments have an aluminum cone that is the heart of the sound (like a banjo head would be) and the biscuit bridge guitars are built like banjos in that they have a “dowel stick” that runs the length of the body to provide rigidity--remember, you cut a BIG hole in the top for that resonator cone.  The cone sits on a ledge in a “soundwell” and I built and turned a block rim soundwell (like a little mini banjo) that makes a solid, stable and great sounding foundation for the resonator cone.  Since the sound of these guitars comes mostly from the cone, the guitar bodies can be built to be tougher than your typical flat top guitar; they are made of plywood.  They aren’t so sensitive to humidity either.  You can leave them out on a stand and spend your time playing music instead of running around the house filling humidifiers and checking your humidistat.

    I had a lot of fun on this one, trying to get the look and vibe of some of National’s old metal body resonators that were finished with this kind of crystally looking finish (Duco) that looks sort of like galvanized metal.  I attacked it in a much more earth friendly, non-toxic way by hand-painting the guitar with milk paint and then a light oil finish over that.  I’m not saying you could eat this finish but man, paint made from milk protein and shellac dissolved in Everclear sure feel a lot safer to work with.


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    Banjo Uke

    One-off banjo uke.  I had a lot of fun letting the woods guide me through the design of this concert size banjo uke.  The rim uses the last of my stash of reclaimed Honduran rosewood and I made a pinwheel style suspended back from a particularly beautiful piece of slab sawn curly maple.  The suspended back keeps the sound from getting muted by a puffy jacket (or a puffy belly) and coupled with the concert scale length makes for a powerful and easy playing uke.  Curly maple neck and Pegheds tuners round out the build.

    Ban Uke FullBan Uke NeckBan Uke Body Ban Uke Full Back

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    Camp Uke

    This little Uke is based on a style that Lyon and Healy made in the 1920’s. It walks the line between a banjo uke and a traditional uke. Lyon and Healy made it in three different iterations: no sound hole with a suspended resonator, with a sound hole and turned resonator (back) glued to the body, and a round body with sound hole, flat top and back -- the most uke-like of the three. I based this uke on the most banjo-like model (what a surprise) with a block rim, no sound hole in the top and a lathe turned, suspended one piece back. The first one of these went over to Acoustic Corner in Black Mountain, NC where it found a home in a matter of days. Stay tuned for more of these to come, perhaps based on another of the 1920’s models.


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    Cigar Box Uke

    Cigar box uke (at Acoustic Corner).  People have been making instruments out of salvaged things for ages so there is a long history of cigar boxed instruments.  Cigar boxes are perfectly sized for ukes and when I find boxes of solid wood, I can’t resist them.  I went on a hunt for some cigar boxes at the local Antique mall (a.k.a. an indoor flea market) and stumbled on some nice little solid boxes made from quarter sawn Cedar.  Obviously, you have to make a few modifications to the cigar box, you can’t just slap on a neck, if you want it to sound good.  I add a heel block, thin down and brace the top and cut a sound hole – in this case “holes”, we have two.  I used Mahogany for the neck, walnut for the bridge and fretboard and strung it up with real gut strings.


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