When The Shackleton Banjo was announced back in August via a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, the instrument’s key claim to fame was being the first large-production banjo to come out of Britain for more than half a century.

However, the small Norfolk company that makes the Shackleton has raised the bar for 2014 by declaring the Shackleton to be one of the best value quality hand-made banjos available anywhere.


Since the Kickstarter campaign, the company has further improved the specification of The Shackleton, to a point where founder and managing director Simon Middleton claims it to be one of the best openback banjos available for under £1,000.

Not only is the banjo going to be of the highest quality for its price range but The Great British Banjo company is doing its bit to support British manufacturing and the local economy too.

The rims of the banjos are hand-laminated to The Great British Banjo Company’s designs by craft drum builders at Premier Percussion in Lancashire. They sound and look superb and have fantastic strength. The necks are drawn in Sheffield by CAD engineers, then cut in Norfolk, and hand fretted and finished in the Norwich workshop.

Several of the metal structural components are also manufactured by small engineering companies in Norfolk.

Specifications and Price

The Shackleton models will now feature Grover or Schertler tuners, depending on the model, combined with Remo skins, D’Addario strings, and hand-made rims made by Premier Percussion.


It’s not just the approach to manufacture which is innovative. The design of The Shackleton Banjo features a highly distinctive asymmetrical slotted headstock. This design is usually the preserve of very high end luxury instruments, and The Shackleton design makes the instrument instantly distinguishable from every other affordable banjo in the marketplace.

The standard Shackleton with maple and birch rim retails at £495 (including VAT), and the Shackleton Oak Special with burr oak finish costs just £595 (including VAT). You can get yours on The Great British Banjo Company website.