Britain’s only banjo factory increases its Shackleton range with five new models for 2015
We launched The Great British Banjo Company just over a year ago with a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly £50,000. In what seems like the blink of an eye we have now announced five new banjo models which will come on stream from January 2015.
We are Britain’s only banjo factory, and the first in the country for more than 60 years.
Our first instrument, an openback banjo named the Shackleton after the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton has sold some 200 units, including exports to the USA. It currently retails at £595. Custom paint and lacquer versions of the Shackleton are also available, which the company says it can produce in any colour, priced from £795.
The new model banjos are: an enhanced version of the Shackleton openback, called the Shackleton TWO at £895; a resonator back version called the Shackleton Bluegrass at £895; a six-string ‘banjitar’ version known as the Shackleton Sixer at £995; a new high-end block rim model called the Shackleton Islander at £2245; and a wooden soundboard electric banjo named the Shackleton Endurance at £1245.
Founder and Managing Director of the company Simon Middleton said: “We’ve been able to expand the range so quickly because everything is designed, prototyped and manufactured entirely in-house in our Norfolk factory. This approach allows us to innovate very quickly and gives us complete control of the quality of our output.
“The new instruments are all superb quality in sound, feel and aesthetic appeal. They’re more expensive than Chinese imports, but actually they’re not that much more expensive when you consider the desirability of handmade British products,” Middleton added.
We adopted the Shackleton brand name for our instruments because of the important role of a banjo on Shackleton’s 1914-16 Endurance expedition. Shacketon described the banjo as “vital mental medicine”.
The association with Shackleton has proved so positive for the company, which now employs three full time and three part time staff, that we launched a range of Shackleton beers and now Shackleton knitwear. A full clothing range is in development for launch next year.
More details about the new models in the Shackleton banjo range:
- The Shackleton TWO openback banjo (£895) features a rock maple coordinator stick, curly maple binding and dyed maple purfling to neck and rim, separate maple fingerboard, and twin square-section carbon fiber truss rods in the neck.
- The Shackleton Bluegrass (£895) features a maple resonator, steel flange, high quality brass hoop tone ring, and Colby tailpiece.
- The Shackleton Sixer (£995), which has a guitar style neck and six strings, features a separate fingerboard, double action truss rod, and brass hoop tone ring.
- The Shackleton Islander (£2245) is an ash block rim openback with figured maple neck, twin carbon fiber truss rods, with ebony fretboard and peghead cap, featuring a tubaphone tone ring.
- The Shackleton Endurance (£1245) is a wooden soundboard electric banjo with active transducer pickup (with sliding EQ controls in rim) designed for home playing unplugged and for optimum stage performance through guitar amp or PA.
All the company’s instruments are handmade in our Norwich factory and come with an industry-leading six year transferable warranty.
Simon Middleton said: “It’s a superb range of British hand-crafted instruments, and we’ve achieved it in just over a year, thanks to fantastic customer support and our passing for making great quality products at attainable prices.”