The banjo pot is really the engine of the banjo. By combining woods of varying density and cell structure, we can produce the specific tone you are looking for. With a variety of over 30 woods, we have an extensive palette of wood with varying density, cell structure and color. Understanding the visual and tonal characteristics of the woods we work with allows us to combine woods to create a natural beauty in appearance and tone rarely paralleled. Our pots are truly custom: we have never built two pots that are the exactly the same. We use grain-matched block construction exclusively as we feel it provides the most balanced tone. The blocks of wood that make up our layers in the pot are grain matched in the same anatomical position as it was when the board left the tree. Our theory is that matching wood grain anatomically, contributes to an increase resonance and improve tone. Additionally, it also creates beautiful joinery with an unmatched aesthetic.
We often use skin heads, and we only use ones that are of the best quality found. Often we can custom "dye" the skin for the aesthetic effect.
Doc's Gothic Pot™
Our Gothic Pot™ continues to improve. We have found that we can shape the pot to get a more interesting tone. When sound travels in a linear fashion, it is less 'interesting' than when there is some “turbulence”. With that premise in mind, we have thickened the tone wood region on the top of the pot, shaped it in several fashions. In addition to our tapered-to-a-thin-edge that you see on many of our banjos, we have also created what we call the Woody Dobson and the Woody Archtop.
Having listened to different tone qualities of various Dobson and Archtop tone rings, I felt that much of the variation in tone had to do with the shape of the tone ring. After much experimenting with similar shapes in woods, we found that we could create a rounder/warmer tone with a woody Dobson, and an increased range of volume with a wooden archtop (due to a smaller aperture on top of a larger air volume below). On a 13 inch wooden archtop pot for example, we create an 11 ½ inch aperture that is creating a bit more of an “edge” to the note, while below we create a relatively larger volume of sound energy to work with. In the end it seems to have a broader range of sounds...lay into it and you can expect tones with more of an edge to it, and larger volume... back off of it and you have nice warm full complex sounds.
We thinned out the mid-section of the pot all the way around, and created a 3/4”-1” lip on the bottom of the pot. Intuitive thinking says that the narrowing at the top of the pot causes some compression of sound energy as it travels downward, then it expands in the mid-section, ultimately, it then gets “bounced around” by reflection off of the lip on the bottom of the pot. Additionally, the lip provides additional strength and aesthetic beauty as well.
Please explore our gallery and available banjos to see many examples of our beautiful pots.
FriendsOne the most rewarding aspects of building custom instruments is interacting with the people who we build for. Many customers have become life-long friends.
We look forward to getting to know you!