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The connection of the neck to the peghead is a critical part of neck shaping.  I do this in various ways:

shown below are three styles.

If you add up all the pieces on one of my necks, - cross bandings, reinforcements laminations, frets, inlays, bindings, etc, my necks are made up of about 150 pieces. They are engineered to remain straight over time regardless of what kind of wood they are made from.

Despite the engineered laminations, I always use a two-way truss rod to make the action adjustable. In the case of longnecks, I add carbon fiber strips to prevent twisting

The necks are hand carved, using rasps, files and sandpaper.

I have a series of favorite profile templates I have used over the years, although I can make a new profile if needed. My favorite is a modified “V” profile which I feel is very comfortable and fast-playing.

left: various profiles,including an ergonomic asymmetrical one. 

I can make special profiles for players desiring a special “feel” or dimension.

Another unique feature of my banjo is the cross-banding under the fingerboard, which is designed to act as side fret markers, eliminating the need to drill holes in the binding.

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

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

Curly red oak neck with dyed French sycamore

center cross-banded lamination

Vega plain style

dart or diamond

Gibson violin style

below: a recent innovation in neck building allows me to build  stronger necks than previously possible


various peghead shapes and designs