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The Islander is a critically acclaimed, UK handmade banjo.
The Shackleton Islander isa stunningly beautiful openback banjo with an ash block-rim and gorgeous flame maple neck, with ebony fingerboard and ebony headstock veneer.
Featuring beautifully created but understated abalone and mother of pearl inlays.
Inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton's epic open-boat voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia to seek rescue for the men of his Endurance expedition.
Ownership certificate. Luxury hardcase. Transferable six-year warranty. A future collectible and a beautiful banjo.
See how we build them in our Norwich factory...
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE ISLANDER ASH LEAF...
"A stellar instrument," said top Nashville banjoist Bob Minner (Tim McGraw band).
"This banjo feels and sounds great," said clawhammer legend Dan Levenson.
The Shackleton Islander, open back 5-string banjo, handmade in England.
This 5-string open-back model is beautifully crafted in Norwich, England with a wonderful combination of traditional styling and superb sound, plus the use of ultra-contemporary carbon fibre reinforced neck.
Features include: all nickel-plated hardware, 24 brackets, twin carbon fibre rod neck reinforcement, flame maple dowel stick.
The pot is hand built from scratch in superb quality ash, and bound in edony with maple purfling.
The neck is flame maple throughout with ebony fingerboard and headstock veneer, again with ebony binding and maple purfling. Inlays are genuine abalone and mother of pearl.
Choose bearing edge or tone ring options.
Choose solid headstock with Waverley planetary tuners or slotted headstock with Waverley guitar-style tuners.
Includes high quality hard case.
Hear the original Islander Ash Leaf OB played by top US banjoist Bob Minner from the Tim McGraw band
The Islander OB Ash Leaf banjo was endorsed by the fantastic Bob Minner, superb solo player and acoustic guitar and banjo player for the Nashville country star Tim McGraw. Bob heard about "the new Brit banjo" and sought us out. Happily, when he heard the instrument for himself he was very keen to become an endorsing artist.
Bob Minner said: "Let me say that I would be hard pressed to find a finer instrument. The attention to detail is simply wonderful in every regard, and the tone is all anyone could ask for in an open back banjo. I particularly love the full thick neck profile, reminiscent of the great banjos of yesteryear. The ash block rim is also tonally exceptional. I am eager to start recording with it. A stellar instrument."
Hear the Islander Ash Leaf played by old-time master Dan Levenson
Old time banjo player par excellence Dan Levenson reviewed the Islander Ash Leaf for Banjo Newsletter in January 2013. He gave it a glowing review. Here are some highlights..
"Well, it’s not everyday someone from England offers to send you a banjo for review. Yes, we have done more than a few banjo reviews for you over the years, but to be able to have one sent from overseas just doesn’t happen that often. Yeah, I hear ya, lots of banjos are made overseas these days. True, but the companies that represent the decent quality ones are here in the States so it was a little special to have one offered to me to see. “What did I say,” you ask? Well, “yes” of course! I mean you have to be pretty confident of your banjo to be willing to pay the freight and put it up for public criticism so you bet I wanted to see this one. And, going right in, I’ll say the confidence is well placed. This is a nice banjo!
"The Islander Ash has an 11” pot but upon playing it the first time I had to look again. I mean I almost got my measuring tape out because for an 11” banjo it sure sounded a lot like a 12”er! That impressed me right off the bat (or is that “boat”?). Even when tuned up! Could that be the Ash wood that this pot is made from? I’m not sure but whatever it is, it’s a welcome surprise. The pot is block construction ash with is a simple brass rod tone ring. A nice added touch is that the Vega style adjustable armrest is included as a standard feature.
"The maple neck is nicely carved in a rounded V shape with a good finish and very nice feel. It features a black stained maple center splice and a carbon fiber reinforcement rod for strength and stability. BTW, it might also be that solid rod that contributes to the banjo’s full sound. They are said to conduct the sound better than an adjustable truss rod. For the more esthetically minded among you the neck does sport a dowel stick and is attached with the Vega style saddle neck brace which looks so good and some feel has better sound than the coordinator rod attachments use by many builders today. The science may be beyond me but the feel and sound are not and this banjo feels and sounds great.
"The scale length on this one is 26 3/16 " – a bit longer than the old “standard” scale of 26 ¼” and the current popular 25 ½” that is being made by many makers. The string spacing of the Islander is a bit wide at 11/32 same as the Chuck Lee (the Eastman WL and GT-OT are 5/16” spacing) and a neck width measuring 1 3/8” which is also a bit wider than the Eastman at 1 1/4”; GT OT at 1 3/16; Chuck Lee at 1 11/32) so folks with larger hands or those preferring a bit more space on the neck should be pleased. This took me just a bit to get used to but was quite comfortable and easy to play."
Not content with just writing about the Islander, Dan recorded a video of himself playing Wooliver's Money Musk on the review instrument. We hope you'll agree that it sounds fantastic.
Rim handmade in Norwich, England from ash blocks.
Twenty four brackets
Notched tension hoop.
Option of bearing edge, brass hoop tone ring or tubaphone tone ring
USA-made Remo Renaissance head
Ebony binding with maple purfling
All nickel plated hardware, including genuine No-Knot brand tailpiece
Flame maple dowel coordinator rod
Fingerboard: ebony, with ebony binding and maple purfling
Option full 22 frets or straight or S-shape frailing scoop
Ebony veneer to headstock
Choice of slotted headstock with guitar style Waverley tuners, or solid headstock with planetary Waverley tuners
Abalone fret dot markers and mother of pearl peghead inlay
Twin square-section carbon fibre reinforcement rods under fretboard
Patented 'No-knot' tailpiece
Bone top nut
Genuine Snuffy Smith maple bridge with ebony cap
Traditional 'wide' neck, 35mm at nut
Durable modern two part lacquer to pot, cut back by hand for traditional feel and appearance
Hard wax finish to neck for finest feel, durability and tone