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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: no more all-in-one Banjo shopping?

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DIV - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:01:49

remember the golden days of banjo parts shopping when you can type "" and get Janet Davis Music? That used to be the first place I looked, but sadly they are no more. FQMS was my 2nd choice and so I was a bit disappointed when I got a "no items" when I searched for a banjo case. (Stew Mac was my #3) and I haven't looked there yet.
Janet Davis also had a very wide range of books, videos and CD's.

Is there any place I don't know about that I should do my shopping?
Please don't say Amazon...I love them, but I'd prefer to support a different kind of business for my banjo shopping.


thisoldman - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:20:58

Have you tried here ?

Stu D Baker-Hawk - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:23:19

Uh, how 'bout Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan?  Elderly Instrument Web Site  They ain't too shabby when it comes to a one-stop shop for banjo parts and accessories.  Good luck!

Stu D Baker-Hawk - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:24:11


Originally posted by thisoldman

Have you tried here ?

Doh!  You beat me to the draw.

Jake Halfron - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:24:33

Sucks man, JD was like Toys R Us for Banjo. Amazon is bottom of the barrel. Cheap China RUBBISH. 

Stew Mac? Absolute rape, especially on tools. I don't support rape, but sometimes I have no choice. 

I've bought a few things at Balsam Banjo works and Bob Smakula is the best as well, but his website is, well.... old, laugh no pictures on the parts. But the guy is lightning fast with responses. I like sellers that are hungry for business.

Edited by - Jake Halfron on 07/11/2018 12:26:21

Alex Z - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:31:50

Click on "Banjo Parts and Accessories"

banjodr - Posted - 07/11/2018:  12:34:05

Sounds like a good place for a banjo business huh!

Bill Rogers - Posted - 07/11/2018:  13:23:28

The market rules.

Dan Drabek - Posted - 07/11/2018:  14:00:21

Depends on what you're looking for.

Here's a couple more:


Edited by - Dan Drabek on 07/11/2018 14:01:52

Emiel - Posted - 07/11/2018:  14:09:35

Don't forget

frisco slim - Posted - 07/11/2018:  14:34:24

Ome ( has some hardware.

De Paule Supply ( for pre-cut inlays

Luthiers Mercantile ( for wood products like fingerboards, headplates, etc. and eBay are always worth checking.

DIV - Posted - 07/11/2018:  16:49:02

Thanks guys. Yeah, Elderly...I didn't realize that while I've been away from the banjo scene, they've really grown from just instruments to everything else as well.

I'm specifically looking for an open back 5 string case.

cjam - Posted - 07/11/2018:  21:36:22

I'd certainly recommend Bob Smakula. He's very knowledgable, and quick with his responses.

rudy - Posted - 07/12/2018:  05:39:50


Originally posted by DIV

Thanks guys. Yeah, Elderly...I didn't realize that while I've been away from the banjo scene, they've really grown from just instruments to everything else as well.

I'm specifically looking for an open back 5 string case.

If you're looking for cheap case you can also use all the standard fare on-line shops such as Musician's Friend or Sweetwater.

Shipping is a big cost for many of our Banjo-specific suppliers, but these large warehouse operations have some sort of deal going where they still ship for free.

mikehalloran - Posted - 07/12/2018:  06:10:51

If the thread was titled, “Looking for an openback banjo case” or similar, you would have received a number of positive suggestions—including posts from dealers who would be happy to sell you one (like me).

Musicians Friend and Sweetwater do not have them, BTW. Rudy is right that shipping adds significantly to the cost for the small guys. Cheap banjo cases with free shipping is reserved for resonator banjos. If the rest of us are offering it, that’s built into the cost and, if you elect to return it, the “free shipping” is deducted from the credit.

I will send you a message with some suggestions from Guardian, Golden Gate and Superior. Your zip code will affect my costs so I cannot give firm prices till you reply.

banjo5280 - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:00:39

I had a successful experience with Bernunzio Uptown Music in Rochester, NY,, purchasing a Superior open-back case. Good service (including informative telephone responses) and acceptable pricing. No problem with shipping to Colorado.

Old Hickory - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:21:24

Ross Nickerson’s is a good site for instruments, accessories and instructional materials. Not necessarily the lowest prices, but he’s definitely committed to and knowledgeable about banjos.

Meanwhile, I was happy to place my first ever order with Bob Smakula this week, and I’ll confirm his response was lightning fast. I sent him an email listing what I wanted (Gotoh tuners and replacement buttons) and asked for a PayPay invoice. Got a reply in a minute.

I also miss JDMC. I buy a little from most of the names mentioned so far. FQMS, Stew-Mac, LMII, Elderly, Greg Boyd. I’ve also bought binding, parts and decent quality tools from various eBay merchants. I buy instructional material either from Amazon or directly from the publisher or artist. Finally, House of Musical Traditions is a few blocks from my home, so when I go there to visit the banjos, I buy picks or strings even if I don’t actually need them. Makes no dent in my pocket and shows a little support for the local business. 

KCJones - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:56:25

As info, be careful buying things on Amazon. There's a lot of counterfeit stuff on that site.

Even if it's "Prime" or "sold by", you still run the risk of counterfeits being sold under popular name brands.

The biggest example of this is probably Birkenstock sandals. You cannot buy real Birkenstocks on Amazon. The Birkenstock company even issued a press release saying that. And yet, right now, you can get "Birkenstocks" on Amazon. (If you're currently wearing birkenstocks you bought on Amazon, I'm sorry you had to find out like this.) 

So if you think you're ordering a real-deal brand name banjo component for a 10% discount on Amazon, think twice before you click buy.

Edited by - KCJones on 07/12/2018 12:01:25

Fathand - Posted - 07/13/2018:  15:56:14

I don' t find Amazon that bad. It depends what you want but you have to pick and choose what is availabe.

They are a distributor for Saga, I have bought Saga necks from them which are identical to the Saga necks elsewhere. I got a great deal on a Blueridge guitar and an RK pot assembly.

Sometimes there are luthier tools or supplies at a fraction of the price. Look up violin planes or guitar binding.

If you are looking for cheap Asian hardware to build or repair a low end banjo they have some but you can find it cheaper on aliexpress if you dont mind the long wait for shipping.

As for one stop shopping, I think Stew Mac and FQMS are likely the only places you can get everything you need in one order to build a bluegrass banjo but be prepared to pay.

Edited by - Fathand on 07/13/2018 15:57:05

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