Jeff Menzies produces gourd, tackhead and minstrel banjos, gourd fiddles, basses and just about any other instrument one can imagine. He does so with simple tools in a small shop in Kingston, Jamaica. Jeff is also a sculptor with a MFA in Fine Art. He is experienced with various media including wood, cast bronze, welded steel, and cast concrete. Jeff teaches gourd banjo making at workshops across the US and Canada. He also teaches Fine Art and sculpture in Jamaica.
Jeff’s fascination with the banjo stems not only from the fact that he plays quite well, but also from his deep interest in the form of the object. Jeff’s first attempts at building came during his college days. The banjo as art was a major component of Jeff’s graduate school thesis.
For a brief time, Jeff worked with Wyatt Fawley building Vega reproductions. Jeff says he learned a great deal about building from Wyatt: “He refined what I already knew.” Jeff also credits Clarke Buehling, Pete Ross, Scott Didlake and David Hyatt.
His instruments are in the hands of notable players including Frank Lee, Rafe Stefanini, Mike Seeger, Ray Alden, Chris Wig, Mary Cox, Kevin Fore, Joe Ayers, and more. Jeff’s banjos have been exhibited at the University of Tennessee McClung Museum in Knoxville, TN as well as contemporary art galleries around North America.
2018 Banjo Workshops
Create a piece of art that sounds as beautiful as it looks! Using a watch and do approach, noted builder, sculptor and lecturer Jeff Menzies will guide you step-by-step through the entire process of creating your own gourd banjo. Jeff teaches instrument making and sculpture in Kingston, Jamaica and travels world wide offering workshops in instrument making as an art form. No woodworking or musical experience is required. Please contact Jeff via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
NELSON, B.C. CANADA