Renee Karnes - for Design & Manufacture
By virtually every benchmark, banjos manufactured during the 1920s by major manufacturers such as Vega, Bacon & Day, Paramount,
Gibson and Epiphone are believed to have reached a level of design and craftsmanship which is seldom equaled
and rarely exceeded in today's musical marketplace. However, on occasion, a contemporary banjo maker emerges who
embodies both the vision and skills necessary to rival the priceless instruments of the past in both form and function.
Renee Karnes is such an artist. As a young banjo player and enthusiast in California, Karnes began her banjo making career as
an apprentice of Henry Lea, a highly respected banjo repairperson. Beginning by doing the "busy work" of Lea's shop, Karnes
proved herself and able and enthusiastic student, eventually graduating to skills which equaled, if not
surpassed, her mentor. After Lea's passing, Karnes was no longer content with masterfully repairing and restoring vintage instruments
and began creating new, completely hand-made instruments of her own design. Her blending of rare and exotic materials with craftsmanship
skills never before seen in the banjo world has resulted in today's musical community enjoying a very limited number of totally
unique banjo creations. With an unquestionable worldwide reputation, the name Renee Karnes is synonymous
with "excellence" in the banjo making art.