“I worked with Jeff Menzies earlier this year (2008) and ended up with an instrument I am quite pleased with. We had great communication all along, and it was really fun. All I requested was the scale length to be 25.5”, and let him do the rest. One of the high points of the instrument is the fit of the pegs…it is nearly total perfection. They never bind up, or get too loose. You can easily adjust very small increments under all conditons. How cool! The angle of the strings coming out of the nut slots to the pegs is great. The angle of the headstock, the set of the neck to the rim, and the length of the tailpiece creates perfect tension. The well cut (and I mean
VERY well cut) bridge almost never shifts or moves. The skin was mounted nicely. The instrument has a nice boom to it, but is still pretty crisp. The original tailpiece was not quite right, and he quickly made a beautiful bone tailpiece of sufficient length to correct the problem. (This was one of the benefits I spoke of earlier, where the maker is right there with you. ) The curves and angles of the instrument kind of grew on me. I was mostly after
function…. The pot is a multi-ply maple rim. I string mine with pretty light tension gut strings.”

Tim Twiss

“The gourd banjo Jeff made for me has just the sound I want, i.e. a deep resonance that echos evenly from the bass to the treble. The extra heavy gut strings I use really project that sound so that it reverberates pleasantly beyond my camp and attracts questioning visitors. It’s pretty too, with its curly walnut neck and antique-looking gourd. It’s a wonderfully playable instrument and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in recreating a sound from America’s past or introducing an archaic voice to Old Time Music of the present.”

Christian Wig


“The tone of my Jeff Menzies 12” Tackhead is so nice and fat, and the banjo is so responsive… I’m going to play it right now”.

Frank Lee


“Love playing my Jeff Menzies gourd banjo. Lately, I’ve been taking it with me to play at concerts and workshops. It draws a crowd, and everyone wants to touch and play it. It has a gutsy tone and sure is fun to play. Jeff did a particularly nice job on the fretless mahogany neck and on the friction pegs too. They stay in tune and don’t stick either!”

Mary Cox


(This banjo is recorded on “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss” on Mary’s “Banjo Dreamin’ Suwannee Nights” CD.)

“This fantastic banjo is a favorite. I asked Jeff to build it using figured black walnut for the neck and a single-ply oak rim.. I also requested his exaggerated Boucher style peghead, an ogee design above the fifth string peg, and some extra carving on the lower portion of the neck. I am thrilled with the result. Jeff has the eye of a sculptor and the touch of a musician. This banjo looks great and sounds even better!”

John Balch


After having played bluegrass banjo for nearly 30 years, playing a Jeff Menzies fretless tack head banjo has been a real refresher! The subtle dignity of the banjo I got from Jeff harkens back to the roots of all things banjo. I chose a very simple looking tack-head with very modest appointments (kinda like #17 in his Gallery on Jeff¹s website). This banjo sounds beautifully; a rich full tone with lots of clarity. It demands a totally different approach than my bluegrass banjos. It has opened my ears to a lot of new sounds and possibilities. The Menzies banjo wants to be played slowly, thoughtfully, full of feel and blues. I love this banjo!

Chris Quinn


“I chose Jeff’s banjos for museum display because of their impressive appearance and intriguing design – a blend of traditional techniques and modern ingenuity – true to the spirit of pre-industural folk banjo making. It was an added bonus to find that they sounded and played great. I was so impressed that I bought one for myself!”

Matt Morelock

A few other artists that play Jeff’s banjos: