A little bit about Chris, as written by his son James...
Once upon a time, back in 2013, an engineer named Chris decided he was going to fulfil a long held dream to learn to play the Banjo.
Unfortunately - as often happens in real life - his efforts were thwarted. He got involved in building a home in Beaufort, supporting one child through university and helping another child with their wedding expenses. This left little finances available for buying or learning to play a Banjo.
Engineers are nothing if not persistent and are well known for solving (sometimes) simple problems with (occasionally) complex solutions.
Enter the home-made Banjo concept. He wasn't equipped with an over-abundance of equipment, but armed with wood working skill, a lot of ingenuity & touch of naivety about how easy the process would be...
And set about making his first Banjo. The process was very slow and the learning curve was steep, but persistence paid off. After a lot of reading, a lot of trial and error of ideas both original and borrowed - and a few failures somewhere in the middle...
Out came the first playable instrument. While his family was impressed, Chris wanted to make more perfect Banjos and pondered all the ways he could improve making process as he taught himself to play the Banjo from the Internet and a book.
Long Gully Banjos was born.
For his friends and family, more impressive than the first Banjo itself is the degree to which Chris handmade the Banjo and its associated parts. A Banjo has a number of complex parts ranging from the pot and finger board through to the tone ring and tension ring. Many 'hand made' Banjos are built with commercially produced (?) parts (particularly tone rings and tension rings) - a special machine is usually used to produce these parts.
Chris did not buy these parts, nor buy the machines to make the parts. Instead with a relatively low tech work-shop and a lot of engineering brilliance he set about making himself jigs to produce the parts. [hyperlink] Click here for more information on how they're made.
Since this first Banjo, many new jigs have emerged. Many old ones have also been rebuilt or improved and even new Banjo designs have emerged. A number of Banjos have been sold and new ones to take their place.
The Banjos are numbered sequentially since the first, playable, professional quality model was produced.
Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome via the contact page.