"The Levi Austin" Mini Banjo
Built for Al Batten, Selma, NC "The Bluegrass Reunion"
"The Al Batten" Mini Banjo
Built for Chris Hill, Kinston, NC "The Grass Cats"
"The Chris Hill" Mini Banjo
My Personal Banjo- Built 2004 in Memory of my Mom, Lydia Mae Walker
"The Lydia Mae"
"The DECOTONE" Testimonial
I asked Marvin to consider an Art Deco theme. He did a masterful design and he appropriately named it “The DecoTone.” I have only had The DecoTone a few days now and it is a lot of fun, but I can tell you it is going to make a better banjo player out of me! The spacing of the frets is very tight! The scale is just 14 inches. It demands good technique! I’m still working on that part and will be for a long time I am sure.
And most of all, thanks to Marvin for designing and building a state of the art soprano banjo. PS - Marvin calls them mini banjos . . but for me that name is not dignified enough for Marvin's work! Marvin does not make toys, they are not simply miniature curiosities . . . these are serious top quality musical instruments!
The DecoTone is really really pretty. I just love the highly flamed maple and your lacquer is so deep and beautiful it really is 3 dimensional. The inlay and piping is extraordinary! Fine fine work Marvin.
I'm having a lot of fun with it!
"The Decotone" Mini Banjo
''The RAYBELLE'' Testimonial
The Raybelle is now safely home and I must say that the photos did not do her justice. She is even more beautiful in hand. Marvin's workmanship is second to none and words fail me to describe this instrument. She plays beautifully as well. She rings like a little church bell!
"The RayBelle" Mini Banjo
''The Carly Jane'' Mini Banjo Testimonial
I waited 24 hours to post, because I wanted to take the time at home to very closely examine the banjo and play it. First, playing it is addictive, and I am really starting to get used to the small scale. It's SO much fun.
Second, I want to let you know how much I appreciate the details of this banjo - things that I missed in the pictures, and even when I first saw the banjo in person. In fact, every time I look at the banjo I find something new. The veins you carved in the leaves, the little notches in the dogwood flower petals, the branches on the trees behind the flowers, the vine inlay and the way is overlaps all give the visual elements such perspective and depth. To say you are a "detail oriented" craftsman is a huge understatement.
Third, this banjo really does sound great. I am not the best picker, and the scale of the banjo took me a while to get used to... but, the tone and projection that comes from such a small instrument is a surprise. The videos you make are great... but like the photographs, there is no comparison to seeing, hearing, and playing this banjo live.
Lastly, I want to tell you again what an honor it is to have one of your banjos in my house. To own (even though this is not MY banjo) one of your banjos is truly a privilege. Not only are you a master craftsman and artist, you are a good person and this banjo process has left me thinking of you and you wife as friends of our family. And, to us... that's worth even more than the banjo itself. I intend on starting Carly Jane early on the banjo, and I cannot think of a more inspiring instrument for her to take her in-house lessons and practice. And, while it will be difficult for me to loosen my vice-like grip of this banjo to pass it to her, I am excited to see her embark on the journey of learning to play music.
Please rest assured that I will be sending you some videos and keeping you posted on her progress. In building this instrument, you are now vested in her success as a musician. I really can't thank you enough for giving my baby her start in music. I will make sure that this banjo is well taken care of, as this will be something that will be passed down in our family for generations. This banjo, while very beautiful in its own right, will also serve as a symbol of passed-down family heritage and fond memories of joyous times shared between a daddy and his little girl. Sometimes an object becomes more than an object - it's a collection of memories and moments, and a connection to the past. Your daddy gave you a Case knife on your 16th birthday and you cherish that knife to this day; thinking of him every time you use it. My dream is for Carly Jane to think of me every time she sees that banjo, and remember all the lessons and time spent playing music with her daddy. So, you really didn't just build a banjo. You built a friendship between our families, a way for a little girl and her daddy to enjoy each others company, and piece of our future family history. Thanks for doing what you do, and working through the pain to provide me with this gift to bestow upon my little girl. I want you to realize how much your efforts are appreciated.
Jason & Carly Jane Selig
''The Mickey Zacharias'' Mini Banjo Testimonial
Hey! I got it home, looks great and I love the tone. Johnathon loves it... We are all impressed with the extraordinary attention to detail... We have been really bragging to our friends what a wonderful job you did in making this fine instrument. Thanks so much for an exceptional job well done!
"The Mickey Zacharias" Mini Banjo
''The Mike Scott'' Mini Banjo Testimonial
Words can't explain how excited I am after Receiving my Mini Banjo! It is Incredible! Since I met you, and saw the Mini Banjo you had in NC four years ago, I can't believe that your quality and workmanship has elevated to excellence on a whole new level. I am overwhelmed! The workmanship, carvings, engravings, finish, and over all banjo is top quality craftsmanship. After you start picking on it... you just don't want to sit it down. It makes you want to pick it. Oh... and lets not forget the handmade hard shell case. WOW! This is not a toy banjo. It is a quality built instrument on a true small scale and can be played by everyone of all ages. I want others who read this first to know, that Marvin is a "True Gentleman and Christian Man", as well as a professional craftsman. God has truly blessed you Marvin, with great skills and talent, and he will for sure Bless you. I know you have blessed others with your Mini Banjos. Thanks so much! I recommend that anyone out there, who may even think they want one of these banjos... just go ahead and place your order. I am proud to own one! And.. "It's a Flathead"! lol
You will probably see me performing with my Mini Banjo out there on the music trails real soon. Thanks Marvin! Lord Bless you! "Mini Banjos Rule"!
July 14, 2011
"The Mike Scott" Mini Banjo
"The Andreas David" Mini Banjo
"The Carly Jane" Mini Banjo
My Personal Banjo- Built 2006
"The Little Roy Lewis" Mini Banjo
Click on a picture to enlarge
Built for Gerald Slaughter, Indiana
"The Gerald Slaughter" Mini Banjo
"The Vine" Mini Banjo
"The Mini 81 Crowe" Mini Banjo Built for Russ Carson, Nashville, Tennessee "Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder"
"The Mustang Pony" Mini Banjo Built for Rik Palieri, Hinesburg, Vermont
Built for Levi Austin, Siler City, NC "NU BLU"
Built for Ricky Skaggs, Nashville, TN "Kentucky Thunder"
"The Ricky Skaggs" Mini Banjo
Built for Larry Barnes, Odenton, MD
"The Larry Barnes" Mini Banjo
Built for Jason Selig, Richmond, VA.
Built for Andreas David, Berlin, Germany
My Personal Mini Banjo
"The Miss Molly" Mini Banjo Built for Cevin Beall, Hurst, Texas
Built for Little Roy Lewis, Linconton, GA "The Little Roy and Lizzy Show"
Built for Tom Berghan, Covington, WA.
Built for Fred Fenandez, Simi Valley, CA.
Built for Mickey Zacharias, Kansas City, MO.
Built for Mike Scott, Nashville, TN. "Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition"