Ventana Freya Pallet Flyer Banjolele
This banjolele is handmade by our own Master Craftsman, Martijn Stiphout, in Aptos, California. It's named after wood used in its construction and the first name, Freya, of Martijn's baby daughter.
The banjolele is a four-stringed instrument with a small banjo-type body and a fretted ukelele neck.The earliest known banjoleles were built in 1917.
The instrument reached peak popularity in the 1920s and '30s. It combines the tuning and playing style of a ukele with the construction and distinctive tone of a banjo. The sound is similar to a uke, only louder.
The wood and materials used in this instrument are among the most historic and exotic in the world, and all are reclaimed. The materials were all used in some from of transportation.
The majority of the face, back and sides are made of spalted maple from pallet wood found at the Ventana workshop complex.
The head and sound board are Douglas fir from the hull of the Western Flyer, considered by many to be the most famous fishing boat in the world. The strap button is made from a square, hull nail from the Western Flyer. John Steinbeck, Ed "Doc" Ricketts and their crew sailed this 77-foot sardine boat into the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico in 1940. The following year, Steinbeck published his book, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, about the adventure. Learn more about this amazing boat and Ventana's use of its wood.
The finger board is made of dunnage used to ship materials to the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. The bridge and nut are ebony, also from the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. There is also a stripe of SCGC purfling on the bottom edge.
The various nail holes are filled with brass using a special process allowing us to ensure that all wood is put to use and remains beautiful. The name Freya is also inlaid with brass.
Watch and listen to Martijn Stiphout explain the materials used to make this stunning instrument...
Strum out some surf tunes and island sounds at your next post-surf bonfire or beach party!
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