For quite some time I wanted to make an 1850s style wooden face banjo similar to the banjo on the cover of Briggs' Banjo Instructor. I finally made myself one, but instead of the slotted head, I used a scroll pattern peg head . I now have an all-weather banjo! This banjo is no more susceptible to moisture or temperature than a guitar. I brought it to the Frog Holler Rendezvous, where it rained 4 out of the 5 days I was there and it stayed in tune with no difficulty.
The 12 inch Briggs' style wooden face fretless banjo comes with the scroll style peg head standard, a scale length of approximately 26" and a double ogee mahogany neck with a rosewood finger board. The maple wood shell is approx. 5/8 inches in thickness. It is approx. 2 1/2 inches deep.
(If you want a slotted peg head version with geared tuning pegs and a straight neck to more closely resemble the cover art of Briggs' Banjo Instructor, I could do one for the same price. Please contact me if you are interested.)
Here is a sound sample from the above banjo strung with new Nylagut strings. It is more subdued and mellow in tone than its rawhide counterpart, but still has a nice volume. I've used it for a a couple gigs now and it holds its own with mandolin and fiddle.
Neck as shown with the rosewood fingerboard, friction tuning pegs and tail piece. (Option: Straight neck with slotted peg head and mechanical tuners.)
Briggs' style Wooden Face Banjo ............................................ $589.00
Optional "PegHed" planetary tuners.........................additional $150.00
The banjo above is fitted with planetary tuners which, even close up, look almost exactly like ebony friction pegs.
This banjo is quieter the rawhide head banjos. The one in the photo has a mahogany neck.