Best of 2003: Best Banjos

Deering Banjo Company
3733 Kenora Drive, Spring Valley

The Deering Banjo Company is world-renowned for its affordable handmade banjos. Back in 1978, Greg and Janet Deering started building banjos for the beginner out of their house. Eventually they moved to a commercial space and expanded their models to include 6- and 12-string acoustic banjos, long necks, and the innovative Crossfire electric banjo. Their $295 hardwood Goodtime banjo has the tone and action of a more expensive model. Besides the beginner banjos, Deering has 20 other models and makes custom versions costing upwards of $29,000 -- catering to musicians as varied as the Kingston Trio, Dixie Chicks, Smashing Pumpkins, Violent Femmes, Béla Fleck, Los Lobos, Roy Clark, and Joe Satriani. Visit their showroom, or call ahead for a 45-minute tour of the factory.

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