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Deering Banjo Company


Deering John Hartford Banjo with Grenadillo Tone Ring

3 reviews
  • The Deering John Hartford banjo features a wooden grenadillo tone ring and produces a beautiful bright and "woody" tone. This banjo works great for bluegrass and more. The grenadillo tone ring allows the banjo to be much lighter in weight than a standard bell bronze tone ring banjo (about 2.5 lbs lighter) so your back will thank you. If you are a fan of John Hartford or want a great resonator banjo that is lighter in weight, this banjo is the one for you.

    "People ask why we have a non standard inlay pattern on this banjo. It was once the standard pattern and fairly common to just have the inlays grouped right in the middle and out on the ends of the fingerboard. Some of the old banjos like the Farland, and some of those old banjos made before 1900 had this, so John asked us to do that. John was a licensed river boat captain and wanted us to put some sort of a riverboat theme into his banjo. And again, we were kind of stumped a little bit, not wanting to just put inlays of riverboats in the fingerboard. Then we had a really neat opportunity because when Chuck, our head craftsman and artist who has been with us over 30 years now, was growing up and learning to play music his main banjo hero was John Hartford. Chuck grew up in Minnesota and when John Hartford would come to town to play he would never miss a concert and he thought John Hartford was the coolest musician. The idea that he would someday be making a banjo for John Hartford was beyond his wildest dreams so I gave the job of designing the inlays to Chuck. Chuck started studying riverboats and reading a lot. He went to the library and found all the books he could about riverboats. He discovered that there is a whole classic architecture of riverboats that's significantly different than the architecture that goes into houses. People think that the gingerbread on a riverboat is the same as on the house but it is actually distinctly and identifiably different. The ratio of the length to width and the style of the scrolls that go into the riverboat architecture are different than what is on a gingerbread house, a Victorian period house. So Chuck took the riverboat architecture and used that classic form to develop inlays for the Hartford banjo. It ended up having a very riverboat type of flavor because it uses that architecture and that art form without having to have pictures of riverboats on it. We accomplished a really classic design for John and Chuck was able to have a wonderful time working with John on the inlay.

    When John Hartford passed away we changed the nameplate on the fingerboard from mother of pearl to abalone in the fingerboard. So if you find a Hartford with a white mother of pearl name plate it was built before he passed away. If it has abalone it was made after his passing." - Greg Deering

    Featuring the new Deering Smile™ banjo bridge!

  • Neck:
    • Curly Maple with Walnut Stain
    • Beautiful Steamboat Scroll Mother of Pearl Inlays
    • Slender Deering Neck Shape
    • Ebony Fingerboard, Bone nut
    • 22 Glued In Nickel Silver Frets
    • Adjustable Truss Rod
    • Deering Planetary Banjo Tuners
    • Deering Geared 5th String Tuner
    • White Binding with Black/White Trim

    • Hartford Grenadillo Tone Ring 
    • Deering Premium Violin Grade 3-ply Maple Rim
    • Brass Notched Tension Hoop
    • 11″ Top Frosted Medium Crown Head
    • 24 Round Hooks with ¼″ Hex Nuts
    • One Piece Cast Zinc Flange
    • 5/8″ Deering Maple/Ebony Smile™ Banjo Bridge
    • Deering True Tone Tailpiece Resonator:
    • Curly Maple with Dark Walnut Stain
    • Resonator Sides are Specially Tapered on the Inside for Projection of Tone
    • White Binding with Black/White Trim
    • Vintage Satin Finish
    • Optional Pop-On Resonator 

    This Hartford has a big round tone that is full bodied with great bass and sweet highs. With the Grenadillo tone ring it has a more woody ringing tone.

    • Neck Width at the Nut 1 1/4″
    • Scale Length Nut to Bridge 26 1/4″
    • Resonator diameter 13 7/8″
    • Overall Instrument Length 39″

    • Weight Approx. 9 lbs with Grenadillo tone ring, flange and resonator

    Includes a Deering Hardshell Case

    Lifetime Warranty

Customer Reviews
5.0 Based on 3 Reviews
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Filter Reviews:
    Aaron T.

    Fantastic Banjo and Service

    I love this banjo. I am a guitar player of 18 years and this is my first banjo. After buying 2 cheap guitars I finally bought a very nice one. Now, knowing the difference between entry level and high end I went straight to the top for my banjo and after 18 years of musical experience I don’t question whether I will stay with it. I have a Martin HD-28LSV for the dark woody tones. I have always been intrigued by the banjo, open tunings, and closed chord positions possible with a banjo but I never cared for the piercing metallic zing of a banjo. There are 2 players in particular who’s tone I find very pleasing. That is John Hartford and Bela Fleck. They both have a darker woodier tone. After much research I ended up with the Hartford for the Grenadillo Tone Ring and the lighter weight is certainly a plus. This banjo does not disappoint. As a Martin Guitar player I have also come to really appreciate the feel of a satin neck which this banjo also has. I really can’t imagine being happier with the banjo or the service from David at Banjo Studio. I will certainly do business here again. It is nice to buy from a guy that knows his stuff not just a place that offers a lower price to be nothing but a middle man. I am a big proponent of supporting local business when possible and certainly supporting small business over large corporations. I will also say that I was blown away by the price, as a Deering Master Dealer I’m sure he can give better deals than most and I don’t think the price could have been beat by anyone. I was happy enough to not even look elsewhere. Give David a try and I’m certain you will be very happy with the price and the service.

    Douglas b.

    Deering John Hartford Banjo with Grenadillo Tone Ring

    The Hartford Banjo with Grenadillo Tone Ring is a beautiful banjo, and has the exact sound that I was expecting. It has the "woody" touch sought by John Hartford, one of my favorite musicians from the Folk era while in NYC during the early 60s. The more I play it, the more I like it. It's cool to have a banjo that he developed with Deering. The service provided by The Banjo Studio was excellent. David Brandowski was very helpful and provided quick responses to my emailed questions.


    Great banjo!

    Amazing banjo with tons of character!