Customer Reviews

Reviews are from Stone Banjo customers.  Entries are linked to the banjo details in SOLD and CUSTOM GALLERY menus. Those entries with an EMAIL address have offered to be contacted as a reference.    

Custom OB banjo built for Andy Thorn (THORNPIPE) of Leftover Salmon band.   Andy has developed a kinship with a local fox (es), lured in by his killer banjo play.   I build Andy a beautiful banjo, equipped with a custom Mother of Pearl inlay of his official fox logo.  

What an honor it is to have a Stone Banjo played by such a professional in the mountains of Colorado.   

Below is a link to an Instagram video with a new tune that Andy put together when he received his new banjo.   ENJOY.   

A detailed breakdown of Andy's banjo is  presented in the link tied to Banjo #24150X

Banjo  #20014 

Mandy Tyner from Banjo Lemonade  (click link) 

Mandy is a Clawhammer banjo instructor from North Georgia -  Mandy recently purchased banjo #20014 from a student, friend, and Stone Banjo customer.  

Check out Mandys website - Mandy offers on-line instruction/lessons and has a variety of books for the Clawhammer Banjo, Dulcimer, and Merlin.  

Below is an Email response  AND  a video banjo review posted to her website.   I am honored...

#20014 BANJO LEMONADE REVIEW (Click link)

Hey Steve,

I got the banjo and put my goat skin head on it and let it stretch out and a couple other things.  I’ve just done review video of it which will be up on Tuesday (11/10/20) on my youtube channel Banjo Lemonade if you’d like to see it.   

I suspect you will get some contacts from it!  I love the banjo.  You build a fine banjo indeed.  The neck, the fretwork, the action, love them all.  The wonderful curve in your armrest!  I would expect to pay more for this level of banjo (based on the price you listed on your site for this one).  WOW.  First time I’d ever played a wood tone ring banjo also and I was pleasantly surprised, and the weight is wonderful as well.  

Not too soon, but I may have to get you to build me a custom someday!  

Thank you,  

Mandy Tyner

Proverbs 16:24 - Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. 

Banjo #21060 (click link) - Tunneled 5th string

Mandy at Banjo Lemonade

In response to Banjo #20014 above, Mandy ordered a special custom banjo.    Banjo turned out beautiful, but I will leave the review to Mandy herself at the Youtube link below:

Stone Banjo Company is very grateful for support from Banjo Lemonade.   Hearing Mandy's review and those of others presented below is very humbling and a big motivator to build the best banjos for my customers.   

To Mandy all my customers, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TRUST.   

Built for Jay Best of Confluence PA

Jay had the opportunity to visit the Stone Banjo Company shop and discuss his design, pick out wood, and overall banjo talk.   Jay focuses on playing Round Peak Style, with a wonderful  vibe and mode of play that draws and keeps your attention.   Jay also teaches private lessons and teaches at the annual Folk College at Juniata College  in Huntingdon, PA ( in May 2024.   Jays email contact is

Jay provided a detailed review of his new banjo on Banjo Hangout dated 3/9/24 as presented below.  

Also, Jay submitted me a few tunes.

Stone Banjo Company Reviews

Submitted by jbest (see all reviews from this person) on 3/9/2024

Where Purchased: Stone Banjo Company (in-person)

Year Purchased: 2024
Price Paid: $1290 ($US)


My new Stone Banjo Company Half Fretless 12" is both rich and full sounding while retaining enough crispness to let the melody and fretless slides stand out. Sustain all day if you want it. Spot on for Round Peak, rhythmic tunes and a generous dose of melody as well!

Sound Rating: 10


Steve Gerritsen, owner of Stone Banjo Company and the sole builder of Stone Banjos, handed me the banjo on Thursday, February 15th, 2024 and I've been playing it exactly as delivered ever since. The attention to setup detail is amazing!

Setup Rating: 10


This banjo is not only beautiful, it is built to be played. Sturdy, but not overbuilt. Lightweight with a good solid feel.
12" Cherry block thin, deep rim. Walnut rim cap.
Wood Tone Ring
Cherry neck with walnut center strip

Rosewood fretboard and peghead overlay.
Handmade brass tension hoop.
Brass plate up to 7th fret.

Appearance Rating: 10


This Stone Company banjo will be played for decades! Beyond my time - sure hope one of my daughters keeps it going (but don't ask me for it anytime soon.)
Top notch hardware and finish.
This banjo has already made the stage and will continue to be my teaching and gigging player.
It's meant to be played!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Steve Gerritsen at Stone Banjo Company was a true pleasure to work with. A visit to his shop, if you can swing it, is worth a million words here.
From wood choice to pot size, to neck width, to scale length, to inlay, to brass plates, to peghead shapes ... Steve is with you every step of the way. Regular updates on progress.
Excellent warranty.
Visit the Stone Banjo Company website for all the details!
Hope to continue to get to know Steve and play a few tunes with him!

Customer Service: 10


Components: Simply: All components are handmade and/or top of the line. No shortcuts here!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Mark Twain said:

When you want genuine music—music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth’s pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose,—when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!

My new Stone Banjo Company Half Fretless banjo makes me smile even more than that Mark Twain quote!

I've posted a couple of sample Stone Banjo Company banjo tunes on my page. 

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo # 22086X (click link) 

In May of 2022 I became the proud recipient and owner of a Stone Banjo Co. Banjo #22086X ( Before making any purchase, I investigated many different US makers and selected the Stone Banjo Co. as my choice. I first heard of Stone Banjo Co. after seeing Mandy from Banjo Lemonade give a review of her banjo from the same company. I was impressed with what she had to say about her interactions with Steve (Owner, Engineer (note: actually Geologist-Sc), & Luthier) and equally impressed with the sound and what Mandy had to say about playability.


I am not new to banjos. I received my first banjo from Christmas 1971 that my mother bought from a rural country store in upstate NY. I learned to play this banjo, and not too well, but I stuck with it until joining the service. During my military service, I met other players and bought a second banjo, Japanese made that played and sounded okay. As the years went on, I upgraded and traded many more times owning and playing Vega, Deering, Gibson, Gold Tone, and a few off named instruments. Then in 1995 I built a banjo for myself using the Earl Scruggs and the 5 String Banjo book. I played it since and still do to this day. I eventually learned clawhammer and found double C, Modal, and a few other tunings so I bought a second banjo. I now leave one tuned to open G and the other tuned to double C. I Then built a another banjo, a 12” rim, long neck, Pete Seeger model, and gave that to my nephew. Later I built a hybrid banjo instrument modeled after the Bishline Madera, except mine is based on a tenor ukulele, with a scaled 5-string banjo neck which I call a Ukedera. The last instrument I did was to modify a Gold Tone CC-12" banjo with, I was lucky enough to purchase, a 12’” block cherry Stone Banjo Co.’s rim. I was able to replace the poor-quality plywood rim with the custom Stone Banjo Co. Rim.


I give this extraneous information to attest to the fact the Stone Banjo Co. builds and delivers some of the highest quality I have found. An engineer myself, I understand the precision that goes into his work and his attention to detail is second to none. Working with Steve was great too. He was informative, caring, and shared his expertise. My delay in writing this review was I needed time to see how the instrument aged and I attest to the fact the sound is only getting better with age. Thank you Steve!


Dr. Steve P. PhD

Washburn Reproducion Neck (click link) - 1920/30s Stromberg-Voisinet tenor banjo conversion to bluegrass

John in Kentucky

The question, to me,  is not quality, craftsmanship, material selection, timeframe for completion, attention to detail, fit and finish, playability and of course cost -- nor any of the remaining and not mentioned requirements for a person to do a “good job” on what one wants;  these requirements are simply “expected” --- but not always received.   Should any of the above (mentioned and not mentioned) be a question to the buyer he must or at least should reconsider.  So, what is the question?  Don’t bother to ask --- just contact Steve at Stone Banjo Company.  For those looking for a new open back banjo, new neck (as I needed) or any other banjo related issue Stone Banjo is “where to start and where to end”.


My late 1920 or early 30 Washburn/Kay (depending) tenor banjo, which I had owned for more than 30 years, laid inside the case (who knows for how long prior to my owning it) silent.  I play Bluegrass banjo.  Obviously I needed a 5 string neck, BUT, the existing neck is a “dowel pin neck”.  I had, for years, looked for a custom neck maker to build me a 5 string dowel pin neck without any success.  Now, thanks to Stone Banjo Co. my Washburn is no longer silent ---- fact is it’s simply beautiful in appearance and the tone, fit and finish, attention to detail, communication during the project are all  exactly as I reviewed with Steve………now that’s amazing since we have never met (in person) and managed everything via email, photos and conversation.


So, why, in a word do I recommend Stone Banjo Company…………..”listening”. While all the requirements listed and not listed above are surly important (even critical) nothing is more important than listening to what your customer wants.  Stone Banjo Company was willing, unbelievably able and performed …………………. Ok, one more word………………exceptionally!!


So call Stone Banjo Company………….talk with Steve…………problem solved.  Thanks. 

Banjo #21045-X (click link) - Tunneled 5th string

Jason in Lafayette, TN

Late in 2020 I contacted Steve and asked him if he thought he might be able to make a banjo with a tunneled 5th string; folks he knocked it out of the park! After countless calls and Steve putting up with my ever changing mind, we came up with this beauty:

I've owned banjos made by Zach Hoyt, Bart Reiter, Ken LeVan, Deering; none are better than Steve's. Very easy to talk to and goes above and beyond to get you the banjo YOU want. #3 for me(although I passed one along to a good friend) and already thinking about #4...

Thanks again for a great banjo


Jason also prepared an expanded video to your enjoyment - Click Here

Banjo #21074X (click link)

As a working musician, and a player for over 20 years, this is one of the finest instruments I’ve

ever owned. I have a couple guitars over $2,500 and this banjo is equally as good those

instruments. Steve’s attention to detail really shows in some of the finer qualities these banjos

have, including the thin wooden veneer he uses to bind the fretboard. He has many different

species of all solid wood and hand makes almost everything on the Banjo including the brass

tone ring. Steve is very easy to work with when it comes to designing and building a banjo

specifically for you.

Most importantly the banjo sounds great! It has a warm yet clear tone. Not muddy or bright but

a good middle ground. Stone banjos are a no-frills banjo. This allows for quality banjos with

quality woods at a lower price. I am close enough to Pittsburg I was able to pick mine up at his

shop. He gave me the full tour. I’m very happy with this instrument, and will likely buy another

one from him in the future.

Best regards,

Braden Doty

Banjo #21055X (click link)

Just over a year ago, I reached out to Steve regarding one of his listed banjos, no. 21055x. Regardless of my glowing opinion about the instrument - the transaction was personal, and my confidence grew with each step that my banjo would meet my needs and arrive safely in Austin, Texas. [I purchased a hard case via SBC's recommended Smakula Fretted instruments, also a smooth experience.]

Immediately upon receiving my banjo, I was satisfied with the rich tone and artisan level craftsmanship. I am delighted at how lightweight the instrument is compared to other open back banjos that have come across my path in the past year. Even if I inspected closely for a flaw, all I would find are natural imperfections in the wood, that were aligned with great care by the builder to take nothing from the integrity, and only contribute to the beauty of the thing.  

I feel conflicted, I truthfully do. I would love to patronize Steve's shop once again. And this banjo meets my needs perfectly, and I can't imagine wanting to upgrade or diversify any time in the near future. Should calamity strike and I lose my precious 21055x; Stone Banjo Co. will be the first, and hopefully only shop I have to contact. 


Banjo #21064 (click link)

Leslie from Washington with the "Royston Special" - Ziricote fretboard is beautiful.

I love this banjo.  I am totally enamored with its tone and playability: photos just don’t show how silky smooth this instrument is—just a pleasure to handle, to touch.  And it is just so darned gorgeous!  It really is above and beyond what I expected when I opened the case, and I was expecting something pretty wonderful.   I love the simplicity of design, the colors and grains of the woods, the splash of blue from the turquoise, even the translucency of the head contribute to a very elegant look.  Your craftsmanship is superb, but moreover, you have such an eye for small detail, for matching grain of different woods, for making everything flow together.  Maybe things that people don’t notice outright, but just sense an overall visual flow.  Your work ventures into the realm of art...

You really do offer something special in having the customers personalize their own instrument, and involving them in the process of its construction.  It was so gratifying to present my ideas and have you put them into three dimensions. I got everything I wanted, and beautifully.…

Thanks so much for the new member of my musical family,


I have been learning how to play clawhammer banjo on a Deering Goodtime.  It had served me well but I decided I was ready for an upgrade.  Not knowing exactly what I would want in a custom banjo, I was intrigued with the banjos that Steve had posted.  Seemed a good next step, a custom banjo without all the stress and wait time.  What a homerun that decision turned out to be.  The family gathered around as I opened the case for the first time and the entire room was instantly in love with the look.  Me, what do I love the most?  The look? The weight?  The playability?  The sound? The great customer service? The neck shape?  The craftsmanship? Nope none of those individual things, but how all of that was rolled up together to give me a beautiful instrument.  Thanks Steve :)


New Braunfels, Texas


My family says it sounds so sweet compared to the goodtime that they do not mind my practicing. Matter of fact, they are starting to enjoy the banjo sound.  They may soon want their own Stone Banjo because they can’t touch mine. 

Banjo #21044-X (click link)

Gary from the Great State of Nevada 

Gary input the first Stone Banjo Co. review into Banjo Hangout.   Click link below to read. 

Thank You Gary

Banjo #21042 (click link)

Mark from SCOTLAND  

The custom made Stone Banjo that Steve has  made and sent to me over here in Scotland is awesome, it takes pride of place in my living room . Steve's craftsmanship is a real eye catcher, everyone who sees it just loves the look of it.

It plays absolutely beautifully with an amazing tone I've not had in any other of the Banjos I've had in the past.

Fully recommend Stone Banjo  if someone is looking for a fantastic upgrade.  Steve will deal with you personally which is priceless. 

Thank you Steve, your new friend across the pond. 

Banjo #21058 (click link) 

I am supremely pleased with everything about my custom Stone Banjo.  I play 3 finger Scruggs style banjo.  And now I am picking up clawhammer / old time banjo playing.  I have always wanted to learn old time banjo.  I have been looking at purchasing a nice old time banjo for some time.  I wanted someone who would listen and understand where I am at musically and what I want from an old time banjo.  And make me a good banjo that will sound good, look good and make me want to pick it up and play it.

Fortunately I came across Stone Banjo.  After deliberation of different makers and also  talking and consulting with Steve, I decided to have Steve make me a custom walnut / cherry open back banjo.   The whole experience has been great.  Steve worked with me through my questions and choices and provided feedback.  He was always immediately available for my questions and for when I made changes in my specifications.  

Boy, did Steve / Stone Banjo deliver!  Such attention to detail and fine craftsmanship went into this banjo.  Everything about this banjo is quality.  The action is just like I like it.  The bridge has a compensated third string.   The intonation up the neck is spot on.  The neck is comfortable playing.  The design is just as I specified.  And the sound is wonderful to me.  I am glad that I happened upon Stone Banjo and commissioned Steve to make a banjo specifically for me.  

Steve truly is a craftsman and his work shines through his great sounding, high quality, custom built banjos.

Banjo #20035-X - LEFTY

Columbus, Ohio


The banjo - left handed fretless you sent is wonderful! It was well packaged for shipping. Nothing was damaged in transit. When I opened the box- wow! What a banjo! I love the attention to detail on the headstock. The neck volute is really cool, and I hadn't noticed that detail on your website. I like the simple wooden tailpiece on the banjo as well, it looks very warm, with the black walnut finish (flawless) the beautiful brass hardware and tension hoop, and the ebony headstock and heel cap. Right out of the box, it played excellent, with an action that was none-too-high and a nice warm sound (which is what I wanted with a fretless, nylon-strung, 12" banjo). You can hardly tear me away from this banjo! Working with you throughout the custom-instrument process has been a pleasure. I appreciate how responsive you were, and how much additional time you put into sourcing that troublesome lefty 5th string tuner. The resulting instrument is awesome!!!

I hope you have a happy holiday, and if I ever need another banjo, you'll be hearing from me!

Reference -

Banjo #20021X 

Indianapolis, IN

On the day I received my first Stone Banjo I fell in love with the rich warm sound and the wonderful feel and playability of this instrument. The neck is sweet and has an "old friend" feel to it  that makes me play for hours and enjoy it more every minute.  It is so light compared to all my other instruments. The  Cameron Tone Ring is my first and favorite use of this wood. Clean and sweet sounding. I can stare at it steadily when not playing it due to the beautiful woods and Inlaid Petoskey Stone. The aged brass hardware finishes off the look of quality that is clearly the mark of Stone Banjos.  Steve is a brilliant woodworker and gets better with each production.  I love it so much I just bought another instrument from this amazing craftsman. 

Keep em coming Steve

Banjo #21041 (click link)

Dave in Newark, Ohio

Absolutely loving my Stone banjo. 

Everyone has been "wowed", not only by how great it looks but how sweet it sounds.

If you want a one of kind banjo that has the organic look, feel, and playability of a professionally handcrafted banjo, look no further. 

The craftsmanship and quality that Steve puts in his banjos make it evident that he's not just building banjos, he's building a legacy. 

Banjo #21038X (click link)

Pittsburgh, PA

Hi Steve,

I’ve had my awesome new Stone banjo for about two weeks now and I’m loving it!  It is handsome, light, and plays beautifully.  I had a great banjo (Pisgah) already, but, like bikes, it’s always best to have at least two.  From seeing your work on the website and in person when I checked out your shop, I knew my banjo would be great looking and sounding.  But what I did not expect was how easy it is to play. Tunes just spill out naturally with minimal effort.  Just pure fun.  And I really appreciate your showing me the process of your builds.  I learned a lot.

Thanks for your careful craftsmanship!  

Banjo #20026X 

Lititz, PA

Long story short, I know that I haven’t been playing on a banjo fit for old-time clawhammering, and have had a bear of a time deciding on what open-back banjo to pick up.  Figuring that Mac (Mac Traynham, a Virginia cabinet maker and legendary banjo maker ) was retiring soon and his price point was out of my range for now, I started looking at Deering and Gold Tone.  I’m glad I never pulled the trigger because the banjo you crafted exceeded my hopes.  The craftsmanship was spectacular, and I am a huge fan of the woody tone and staccato vibe of the drone string.  Finally, I have a banjo that fits my style of playing!  It’s not only the first open-back I’ve owned, but it is the first one I’ve ever played.  So thank you!  I honestly can’t believe that you’ve only recently gotten started.  I wish you only the best as you continue in this endeavor and would LOVE to visit your workshop whenever I’m in your side of the state.  Keep it up! - Cold Frosty Morning

Steven created a very nice You Tube message listed above.......   Enjoy and Thank You Steven

Banjo #20020 


It’s been a while since last we talked. I am still playing my stone banjo and I love it. I have looked at other banjos but my stone banjo is like an old friend. It sounds great and I am still delighted by how nice it looks and feels.

Thank you for making such great instruments. 

Banjo #20029X 

Lisle, Illinois

I’ve had the #20029-X about 2 weeks now and couldn’t be happier with my purchase.  It has the deeper old time sound I wanted.  It looks great and really like the way the spalted maple neck makes it unique.  I’m really enjoying playing the my Stone Banjo and based on the workmanship, when I’m up for having one custom built, I would definitely be returning.  I will highly recommend Stone Banjo Company when and where I can. 

Banjo #20031-X

Ann Arbor, MI

This is my fifth custom build banjo and I’m impressed.  I really appreciate the attention to detail. 

A knot on the peg head was part of the design we had agreed on.  When I received my banjo, a small knot on the heel cap was an additional nice touch.  Most builders cut their fret wire at ninety degrees and press the wire into the fretboard.  Changes in humidity can expose the tangs and cut fingers sliding up and down the neck.  Steve takes the time to bind the edges of the fretboard with matching pieces of wood, preventing exposed sharp tangs.  Another nice touch.  The arm rest on most banjos is simply a slice of wood uniform in thickness; it’s a place to put your arm.  Steve’s arm rest is thinner at the upper section and thickens out moving toward the tailpiece.  To use a popular term, it is “ergonomically engineered.”  The arm rest “holds” your arm. Yet another nice touch.

Fit and finish are superb.  The neck is a “Goldilocks” neck, not too wide, not too narrow, not too fat or too thin from the fretboard to the back of the neck.  It’s “just right.”  I also appreciate the volute; many makers don’t bother with that time consuming detail.

Finally, most makers produce several models with standard configurations, similar woods, peg head shapes, tone hoops, pot woods, etc.  Each of Steve’s banjos is different.  They are truly one-off, custom instruments.  They only share one attribute; they are all drop-dead gorgeous.

Banjo #20013

Zane, Cookville, TN


Been getting some more time behind this new banjo. The more I play it the more I like it. I'm still relatively new to banjos but have played Gibson and Fender electrics as well as Taylor acoustics, your banjo compares nicely to these other fine instruments in terms of fit and finish. Your pricing is great, I'm sure when the word continues to circulate you'll get even busier and be able to charge a premium.

Thanks again for the fine banjo

Banjo #20015-X

Dave, Bethel Park, PA

The banjo has a unique spalted maple neck & fingerboard which immediately draw attention.  Beautiful wood.  Construction is solid.  The banjo has excellent volume, and I would describe the tone as bright and ringing.  Will definitely stand out in ensemble playing.  I own banjos from Pisgah, Bart Reiter, GoldTone and others.  The Stone banjo compares quite favorably with these other high-quality instruments, and does so at a lower price.  I don't think you can beat Stone Banjos in the bang-for-the-buck category.  And Steve is very customer oriented and easy to deal with.

Reference -

Banjo #20018 

JT, New Hampshire

Love the banjo awesome hand made American instrument. Looks great sounds great. Steve is always in contact ever step of the build. I can't wait for my next one to be built.


NOTE:    JT loved his first Stone Banjo so much, he designed a second - #21039X - 1/2 fret, Nugut strings.   Check it out......

Banjo #20012-18


I’m very PROUD to claim to be the first owner of Steve’s 1880’s Tribute Banjos!  STONE Banjo is a fitting name, and describes it all!  “A stone is created by combined minerals and determined by it’s origins. And takes time.....”  Has a stone ever caught your eye, you pick it up and keep it forever?!   I did, and I will ! 

BANJO #20036-X 


I was drawn to Stone Banjo Company because Steve said he could build me a banjo using only Appalachian hardwoods, which interested me from a sustainability standpoint. There are other well-known companies who do this, but they are not as customizable as Steve's. Additionally, the value he provides is an obvious highlight. He sent me photos along the way and even allowed me to choose from a picture of about seven pieces of wood that I could choose for my fretboard. The sound is exactly what I was looking for and an enormous step up from the old Deering Goodtime that I had. Aesthetically, I feel like I have a piece of art hanging on my wall. I highly recommend Stone Banjo Company. 

BANJO #20030-X


I received my new Stone Banjo this week and can’t stop playing it. Obviously, I’m thrilled with my new banjo. Nobody can beat this quality at this price. The workmanship is outstanding. The sound is bright and exciting. Steve was a delight to work with through the process. I couldn’t recommend Stone Banjo more strongly. 

BANJO  #20032-X


I couldn't be more happy with the banjo Steve built.  This custom banjo is a work of art and he totally nailed the look and sound I wanted. The cherry wood he selected for the neck has the prettiest grain pattern I've ever seen. Steve kept in touch with pictures throughout the build and it was nice to see the process. His prices and custom options exceed other companies. If you're looking for a custom banjo look no further.