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Should I customize the inlays?

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Oct 14, 2019 - 12:40:26 AM
144 posts since 9/26/2018
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I passed the one year mark of learning the banjo, recently. Per agreement with the wife a year ago, this means I qualify for buying my first “serious” banjo, after playing a Deering Goodtime to get me this far. I’ve decided on a budget and am in discussions with a dealer for specific options. Happy to spill those details later but they don’t matter too much for this question:


Is it maybe a little childish to want to customize them? (Which might be a dumb way to put it, because if it is childish I say, well yeah and so what). devil The cost will be a (1) a certain financial cost I don’t know yet—so if too much I won’t anyway, and (2) significant delay in receiving it. I’m really just fishing for general thoughts from folks who actually have customized on their own banjos.

Edited by - neilends on 10/14/2019 00:41:38

Oct 14, 2019 - 3:17:03 AM
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150 posts since 10/9/2019

If you have something specific in mind then go for it!

Oct 14, 2019 - 3:30:44 AM
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21365 posts since 7/6/2005

My only thought is that if you ever decide to sell the banjo, custom features may limit the appeal to others. But, it's your banjo.

Oct 14, 2019 - 12:48:14 PM
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3698 posts since 10/13/2005

For me, how long will it slow the banjo arrival? Two months is one thing but some banjo makers could slow it down for a year or more depending on their skills and inclination. And yes as said above inlays could enhance or hinder a sale in the future, but I'd say go for what you want because hopefully you will have that banjo for a long time if not the duration. banjered

Oct 14, 2019 - 5:21:14 PM
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23662 posts since 7/22/2007

Not trying to be nosy - - but what are you getting for your first serious banjo, and what is the inlay pattern that's on it already?  And what are you thinking of adding to/ or replacing it with?  Custom inlay (to me) is cool and a personal touch which I personally am in favor of - - but as others have said, that might hurt resale value should you ever decide to sell it.  Go with your gut feeling and enjoy whatever your choice ends up to be!  smiley

Oct 15, 2019 - 6:05:25 AM
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14347 posts since 12/2/2005

My Hatfield is one of a kind due to the fingerboard design, the peghead overlay and the heel cap. I'm delighted with it (you can see pix in my photo section if you're curious).

Arthur subs out his fingerboard and overlay construction to Custom Inlay. I actually worked directly with them ("Less chance it'll get messed up that way," he said).

Given that all the milling - fingerboard routing and inlay cutting - is done with CNC, it really doesn't take much longer to have a custom pattern done.

Sounds like you're talking a lifetime banjo built. No reason whatsoever you shouldn't have it look exactly the way you want.

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