Ozark Folk Center State ParkMountain View, AR, United States

Make Your Own Gourd Banjo

By Ozark Folk Center State Park (other events)

Sun, Mar 19 2023 9:00 AM CST Sat, Mar 25 2023 5:00 PM CST

Total cost of class $936 - Registration fee, payable when you sign up here $106; Class fee, due directly to Jeff at the beginning of class, $580; Materials fee, $250 due to Jeff after the class is confirmed on February 20, 2023.

This class offers a chance to work with a banjo building master, and come away with your own hand-made banjo.  Students will produce a functional piece of art, while learning  about the history of the banjo, and gaining wood working skills.  No previous wood working experience is required.  Each student will make either a gourd banjo.  Through a watch and do approach, each student will be carefully guided through building their very own banjo.

You will come away from this class with your very own, custom-built (by you!) banjo, and the skills to make more.

This gourd banjo-making workshop is an intensive, hands on course that will walk each student through the entire process of creating a refined and fully functional instrument.  Each process will be demonstrated in depth and will introduce the appropriate hand tools and health and safety concerns.  Students are expected to invest themselves into their gourd banjo and keep on schedule in order to complete the workshop with a refined and highly playable instrument.

This class requires pre-registration before February 19. The minimum number of students for the class to make is 10, the maximum number of students is 12. If the class does not make, you will be informed by February 20 and recieve a refund of the fees you've paid.

Looking for lodging? The Cabins at Dry Creek are located in the park just down the hill from your classroom. These comfortable climate-controlled duplex rooms are newly remodeled and offer a private bathroom, queen-sized beds, microwave and refrigerator. We offer discounts for students staying 3 or more nights. Call 870-269-3872 to book your room.

Meet your instructor - Jeff Menzies produces gourd, tackhead and minstrel style banjos, ekontings, gourd fiddles, basses and just about any other stringed instrument one can imagine. Jeff holds a Master’s of Fine Art (MFA) in Sculpture and teaches musical instrument making as an art form at workshops across the US, Canada and Europe. He currently operates his own instrument making shop in Kingston, Jamaica.

His instruments are in the hands of many notable players world wide. In addition to producing musical instruments for musicians he creates instruments for permanent museum collections and exhibitions. Jeff’s instruments that have been exhibited at the University of Tennessee McClung Museum, the Museum of Making Music, Creative Discovery Museum, National Gallery of Jamaica, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) and the Jamaica Music Museum. 


Ozark Folk School classes are for students 16-years-old and up.