Blackberry Banjo Co. produces unique, custom banjos in the heart of Utah's Wasatch mountains. In 2009 I built my first banjo from scraps of wood, an old guitar, and pieces of a drumset. Raised in California, the mountains of San Bernardino became my place of refuge and muse. I spent endless hours hiking, camping, exploring, climbing, swimming, laughing, and making music in those mountains. Since I was a child I would go to the mountains and pick blackberries. Stained in blackberry juice from head to toe, my grandma would sit me down with the task to divide out the berries in order to help her make blackberry pie, blackberry ice cream, and blackberry jam (maybe half of the blackberries made it past my appetite and into the pies).
Eventually I went off to school in northern Utah where I dated my wife, got married and eventually had my son. Here is where my passion for woodworking really came into fruition. I had been carving wood since I was very young, but in Utah I realized I could carve beautiful designs into banjo heels, guitar saddles, and any number of objects. I bought a few broken banjos, learned how to fix their snapped necks, make new nuts from antler and bone, replace inlay, and then I was hooked. If I could fix a banjo, I thought, I could probably make one.
My wife is from Slovakia, and her father and uncle are both master wood workers, perfectionists in their art. The summer after we were married we spent two months in a small village just south of the Polish border with my wife's family. Before we had gone to Slovakia, I bought a "how to" book for building banjos and brought it along with me. I ended up spending all my free time with my wife's father and uncle in their shops building banjos. By the time we came home to Utah I had two banjos nearly completed and a wealth of woodworking knowledge to start me down this path I find myself on right now.
I take pride in the workmanship of these unique banjos. Each one I consider a work of art that deserves the sort of attention to detail a work of art deserves. Each design goes through many versions until it reaches the quality and beauty I expect from it. I am not afraid to do work, realize I don't like it, and start over to ensure I get you exactly the banjo you are expecting. I take pride in the process I use to ensure these banjos are uniquely custom to each customer, and am open to all sorts of ideas. If you are interested in a unique, handmade banjo, contact me and we will get the ball rolling!