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Thomas Banjos

Posted by stevedthomas on Friday, November 12, 2010

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Steve Thomas here. My dad, Don Thomas started building banjos in the early 70's. I worked with him from 1974 'til about 1982. Most have tone rings and flanges cast by Don from his own alloy formula. There are a few "Model S" banjos that were built primarily by myself that have a lightweight  tonering and flange. All lathe machining on the tone rings, flanges,and rims is done by him as well. All the necks are 100% hand shaped, no two are alike. The actual count of banjos built is unknown due to the fact that they weren't all stamped with a serial number. As a general rule, the ones that are stamped are easy to decifer.  As an example, 67641 would be June of 1976, number 41. He still lives in Shawnee Oklahoma and builds the occasional custom order. Maybe this will help some of you who have come across these rare totally handbuilt banjos.

6 comments on “Thomas Banjos”

5string-Ty Says:
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @12:10:04 PM

I believe they are the best

stevedthomas Says:
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @2:27:23 PM

Thanks Ty!!! We have a request to build one for a doctor in Oklahoma. Dad isn't able to do it all now, so my brother and I are considering jumping in and helping to get it done.

sott chard Says:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 @8:05:21 AM


i saw your post on thomas banjo

i have one of your dad's "student models" -- probably made around 1980, but not really sure

your dad sold those banjos through SMITH MUSIC in Shawnee at one time. I was a part of that store for a period of time in the late 80's, in fact, I was there when you had "Spanky's" next door. I think this banjo was in our inventory then. I sold it around 1996 in OKC, then around 2002 the banjo came back to me through a friend. It is never played (since I'm not a banjo player), but I'm sending it down to Shawnee -- a friend is buying it to learn on -- so this banjo is "coming home" to serve the purpose your dad intended -- helping someone learn to play the banjo !

sott chard Says:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 @8:05:49 AM

i put some pics on the banjo hangout

mcarltonbh Says:
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @7:36:56 PM

I was given a Thomas banjo on my 14th birthday. I'm 52 now. It's a wonderful instrument. Devleoped a slight crack in the neck, which Don fixed for me back in the late 90s. My son loves it as well and is tinkering around - learning from YouTube videos.

70yearold Says:
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 @8:18:33 AM

I have a Thomas tenor resonator banjo with a beautiful design on the back of the pot and what looks like inlaid abalone on the headstock - where would the serial number on this instrument? Where the neck joins the pot, there is a metal label which states "High Quality Banjo". 70yearold

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