Bob Flesher is one of today's premier banjo builders carrying on a long tradition of banjo design and art. Bob learned to play banjo in 1957 and has excelled in the clawhammer style even though he also plays bluegrass. He has won the Clawhammer Banjo event at the Galax Old Fiddler's Convention, Galax VA, eight times through the years as well as the Appalachian String Band Festival, Clifftop, WV, and the National Championship at the Uncle Dave Macon Days, Murfreesboro, TN. and many others. Bob has taught many workshops including Banjo Building, Minstrel Banjo and Advanced Clawhammer Banjo at Augusta Heritage Workshops, Elkins WV, as well as many other places such as Buffalo Bill's Historical Center, Cody WY. Bob has performed on the banjo for more than thirty years and can be seen at many of the Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Cowboy musical festivals throughout the country.
While trying to create a fancy banjo in 1964, Bob met and learned his trade from the legendary Art Gariepy, owner of the Gariepy Banjo Company, Long Beach, CA. After becoming a pilot with Eastern Air Lines in 1967 and moving to Connecticut, Bob became co-founder and partner to form the Liberty Banjo Company. The company became famous for Bob's custom work. Presently, there are several banjos that grace the covers of the Mel Bay banjo instruction manuals that Bob designed. After moving to the Atlanta area and Eastern Air Lines going out of business, Bob established Bob Flesher's Custom Banjos and was the first builder to create replicas of the old 1840s minstrel banjos and first to record the authentic sound of minstrel music using authentic 1850's and 1862-64 minstrel banjos. These recording are available from Bob's other web site, Dr. Horsehair's Music Company. Since that time, minstrel banjos have become very popular with many other builders following suite. Bob also created and developed the ebony tone ring which gives both clawhammer and bluegrass banjos a unique non-metal tone. These banjos have become very popular with other banjo builders, again following suite.
|While other manufacturers speak of hand built banjos while using computerized pin router to shape the neck, Bob's banjos are truly hand built from start to finish. Each neck is cut from hard-rock maple lumber, glued up with a metal truss rod in the middle, and shaped by hand with a rasp and files.|
His rims are steamed and bent, then turned on a lathe. While other manufacturers build their banjos, then contract out the wood carving and metal engraving, Bob is skilled in the art of pearl inlay and pearl engraving and has been inlaying pearl and abalone for well over thirty years.
|Bob is also a master wood carver and has been engraving the metal parts of the banjo for over thirty years. Many of the banjos that Bob has built are now collectors items increasing in value every year. Some of these banjos can be viewed on the Custom Shop page of this site.|
In 1998, Bob Flesher's Custom Banjos moved from Georgia to Southern California where the weather is dry and excellent for banjo building. Most of Bob's customers order through the mail, or e-mail sight unseen and sound unheard from all parts of the world. Customer service is a top priority at Bob Flesher's Custom Banjos. All his banjos are guaranteed for as long as the customer owns it. As Bob always says, "A happy and satisfied customer is my best advertisement".