Banjo Company History 1

This photo of Chuck and Bonnie playing banjo is about ten years old.

This article is the beginning of a series on how we got “here” from “there”. “Here” being herein described as “actually believing we can make a living building banjos” as opposed to “there”, in which we ran a stable, but boring, plumbing company.

Chuck became a Master Plumber as a fairly young man, which provides a decent income for a growing family. He is still a strong believer in the value of the trades and the potential there for a hard worker to benefit society and make an “honest day’s wages”.

The waves of life brought us to Texas and to eventually starting our own plumbing business. It was here Chuck acquired his first banjo to play–a trade for some plumbing work to a music store owner! He was addicted, and learned to play it (while I slept in bed, pregnant! I am fortunate to be a person who can sleep through anything. I enjoyed it, and I think that particular son was born dancing to banjo music–he turned his head to listen to it when only a few hours old).

As his banjo interest progressed, for the next few years, Chuck enjoyed that well known pastime of buying/selling/taking apart/tinkering with/changing around/adjusting and even occasionally playing his, I’ve lost count of how many, banjos. I think it was then that he started to be on a first name basis with the UPS man and Donald Zepp.

Soon after, the mail began to be loaded with lutherie catalogs and teaching videos. I wasn’t especially surprised when Chuck told me, “I think I can build one of these”…….