Ken LeVan and LeVan banjos is now part of the Smithsonian Folkways series “North American Banjo Builders”

© LeVan Banjos • LeVan Banjos is a division of LeVan Design, Shunk Pennsylvania

CannonBell™, Kone11™, SteepCreek™ , ZipNut™, Turbo Pot™ , Tone~Wave™ and Eclectic™ are trademarks of LeVan Design     

LeVan Banjos are made in the USA from sustainable, non endangered materials

Head in the clouds, feet on the ground.

If you want something unusual, like a longneck, or a 6-string, or a conversion of a great vintage pot, or a banjo with a special scale, special wood, special inlays, or some combination of these things, I make custom instruments to specification— In fact that’s how I started in banjo making— the first custom banjo I ever made was a longneck conversion of a Faribanks Electric.

Always wanted a special banjo?  much is possible and you can virtually “build your own banjo” .

As you can imagine, prices of custom projects are based on the scale and complexity.

below: some one-of-a-kind unusual projects

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CannonBell banjo

with  special inlays based on Hobo symbols written with chalk in the “Wabash Cannonball” era. The peghead is “Chessie the cat” from the C&O railroad

top-tension TuBaTone bluegrass banjo with mahogany neck, sapele resonator and cardinal marquetry made from resin impregnated padauk, baked ipe, and yellowheart wood

12”  “Featherlight” lightweight banjo,

with teak SuperWoodie tonering, patinated aluminum metal parts and turquoise inlay

half-fretless, 12”

Greene& Greene Arts & Crafts style,

with ipe SuperWoodie tonering, curly oak neck, chestnut oak rim

wood inlaid fingerboard with California Poppies

32” scale longneck with elaborate multi color MOP and abalone inlay, scoop, polished brass finish and CannonBell tonering

6-string banjo, 14”

one of a pair,

with TuBaTone bronze tone ring. slotted peghead,

resin impregnated marquetry fingerboard

picturing elephants and Mt Kilimanjaro


12” fretless

with skin head, nylon strings, and

resin impregnated marquetry fingerboard made from black locust and baked ipe

picturing ravens, and a magnesium engraved

raven’s nest

When I was doing industrial design, if we got a project where we were allowed to go outside the box,

we called it “blue sky”.

bluegrass banjo, CannonBell with a triple-radiused fingerboard, asymmetrical ergonomic neck profile, custom flange design, and an

“If I had a Hammer”

inlay motif