The American Banjo Museum is spotlighting two unique instruments among its impressive collection of banjos. These two very special banjos are on loan to the museum and represent masterwork designs from Nechville Banjos of Bloomington, Minnesota and Bishline Banjos located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The “Merry” banjo from Nechville captures the spirit of the holiday season. This beautiful instrument was inspired by a gift of sparkly Christmas tree binding. The banjo depicts holly and ivy to create a flowing, natural design. Along with stunning details by several designers, the bridge of the instrument is made from a piece of Olive Wood retrieved from the 2,000 year old Garden of Gethsemane in Israel. Finished in early 2016, the “Merry” banjo took more than seven years to build.
“It is relatively easy to create good sound,” said Tom Nechville, owner and founder, Nechville Banjos. “but in the world of pro banjo making, good is not good enough. This is where the mixture of art and science meet folklore and faith.”
The second banjo is the Bishline 10th Anniversary Model. Only ten of these models have been made, and model #1 is on display at the American Banjo Museum. The Bishline 10th Anniversary Model’s resonator and armrest is made from Amboyna wood, one of the most expensive and sought-after woods in the world, originally imported from Ambon Island in Indonesia. The neck is made of old growth, Honduran Mahogany and the instrument also features mother of pearl inlay with raw brass and tortoise shell style tuning pegs.
“Rob Bishline built the 10th Anniversary Model to commemorate the official beginning of Bishline Banjos in 2006,” said Andy Oatman of Bishline Banjos. “Since 2006 Rob has built more than 1,200 banjos for dealers and custom clients. His trademark use of wood bindings and other natural and original components have earned him a reputation as one of the most unique banjo builders in the world.”
These two banjos will be on display throughout 2017 and are among the more than 400 instruments which make up the museum’s exhibits at any given time.
“We’re truly honored to be able to display these two beautiful works of art,” said Johnny Baier, executive director, American Banjo Museum. “Tom Nechville and Rob Bishline are world-class craftsmen and these two instruments are prime examples of banjo making at its finest.”