Robby Faverey writes:

“Some years after I got enthusiastic reading an article about the Stedman bania, the oldest banjo in the world, built in Suriname by a runaway slave in 1770, this instrument is exposed in the Museum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden. This is a gourd instrument, and is one of the ancestors of the banjo. Having constructed around 10 gourd banjos I started to built the follow ups of the banjo, like Minstrel banjo and Appalachian banjo. Experimenting with bigger sound chamber I used a floor tom and built my first fretless cello banjo. Being a baroque lute player I immediately put gut frets on the instrument and started to play some dances of the cello suites of Bach. More convenient however were the normal fretting which the luthier and restaurator Thomas Grabinger did so well for me.”