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Feb 20, 2024 - 2:56:58 PM
3 posts since 2/24/2018

Hi everyone, I recently purchased a Paramount Leader tenor banjo which has been touched by the great mandolin luthier Bob Givens. The story behind the banjo is that the original neck warped in 1966 and the owner took it to Bob to get it either fixed or replaced, Bob seen fit to manufacture a full replacement neck for the banjo, putting his name, the name of the banjo, who was made for and he dated it December 1966 all in the inlays of the headstock, I'll provide that in an image below.

The banjo plays fantastically, I went from playing a 1929 Epiphone A which was hard work to play to a 1929 TB3 Mastertone which is a dream to play and I was skeptical about the Paramount because I've played some clinkers and some absolute dogs but I was blown away by it.
Reason I'm posting about this is I'm born and raised in Ireland and of course there's no real bluegrass scene here and there certainly wasn't one when he was floating about so there's no knowledge of him or his work here. I am turning to yourselves to ask does anyone else here know of or own any other banjos that have seen that workshop of his for custom work, how well was his work rated in banjo circles and does any of his work add value to an instrument?
Thanks for reading and any replies

Edited by - maurice-hayden on 02/20/2024 15:16:05

Feb 20, 2024 - 3:11:11 PM



1323 posts since 5/19/2007

I have a Given's mandolin from 1978. If it's any indication of his work, you have a really nice banjo neck. Looking forward to the photos.

Feb 20, 2024 - 3:17:37 PM
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3 posts since 2/24/2018

Theres a photo of it now, couldnt get the damn thing to work in the post. it plays fantastically but it seen some playing in its day alright.

Feb 20, 2024 - 3:38:27 PM
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1323 posts since 5/19/2007

Looks beautiful. Well played and well loved. I'm about 7 years older than that neck and wished I looked as good as it.

And I think you need to have a certain number of posts before you can add photos. I could be wrong....

Feb 20, 2024 - 4:40:25 PM



5053 posts since 2/20/2016

Bob Givens was active from 1962 through 1992, and passed in early 1994 at the age of 50.
He is primarily known for the mandolins he built, and his work is well respected today.

I have not knowingly encountered one of his banjo necks, but I think the workmanship on the picture you were able to upload speaks for itself.

Here's a link to some info on Mr. Givens:

And here's a little more info about his work in a "for sale" listing from a store that's been around long enough to have known Mr. Givens back when he was building:

Edited by - rcc56 on 02/20/2024 16:49:14

Feb 20, 2024 - 8:15:53 PM

569 posts since 1/24/2004

I was introduced to Bob Givens by John Egenes when Bob had a shop in Goleta (near Santa Barbara) in the mid-to-late seventies. I had originally wanted him to make an RB-3 copy, but when he showed me a Granada that someone had sent him to make a conversion neck for, I had him make a version of that instead. It turned out great. It's now owned by multi-instrumentalist and producer David West. Bob made conversion banjo necks, as well as complete banjos, guitars and mandolins. He is highly regarded for his mandolins and as a luthier in general. I had him put "RL Givens" on the "Mastertone" block.

Feb 21, 2024 - 11:02:26 AM

2772 posts since 1/4/2009

I had one of his banjos , and talked to him about it , it was made in the 70s, he used stew Mac parts for the pot and hardware and made an amazing neck with Vega like inlays. Was a great banjo.

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