30% price drop

Ca. 2002 Bob Thornburg fretless grain measure banjo on offer. Distinguishes with a padauk fretboard and peghead. Scale length ~24" w/ the usual fretless' windage of un to less fixed variables. I've long lost my emails around the commission to some web1.0 startup's early aughts crash and burn, but neck proper appears to be mahogany.  Bob has written about these kits as representative of the banjo's mid-19th cen. evolution from the gourd - a DIY hack of using grain measures as source material for frames.

Neck ergonomics are energetic, ~11.25" original goat skin head intact, the grain measure hoop itself is light as air - and padauk while no longer flame orange, also is still quite vibrant and captivating. Warm, loud, throaty, low down and unfenced - this is sound wave therapy and competes with Bob's gourd kits for tonal character in the same territory.  To kop a phrase from guitar luthier Nigel Forster, this Thornburg kit succeeds b.c it's about the sound of the top. Recording offered to footstomp the latter point.

Bob brought one of his first grain measure banjos from his Bishop CA shop to a Montana-hosted Dwight Diller camp ca. Fall 2000. I played Mississippi Fred McDowell tunes (somehow) on it one day, all day - and ordered one to deliver Spring 2002 after I returned from an overseas deployment, one of those pre-2003 ones that quickly would rate quite quaint. This has been such a special instr. on both player and sentimental counts, but I'm keeping my quiver lean these days - and I've got a Buckeye commission in the queue and a Renan order in my sights soon. Making way at the margin. I'm also adopting the dog (NFS) in the last pic, and a little extra runway in the exchequer to justify taking a few weeks off from side hustles and main hustles to get him resituated appreciated. To quote Marty DiBergi "enough of my yacking" ...

$525 + $65 shipping covers UPS Ground or equivalent.  Depending on your location, would prefer to make sure this delivers 3 days or swifter - and let's have a conversation there.  Local pickup in the Baltimore-DC area on offer.

Recording below doesn't do the kit any favors - it's a hello world for the grain measure/gourd set - but there it is.

Strung w/ my last set of gut strings - which also means I haven't replaced the snapped second string that's brazenly all over the listing pics. I"ll thrown in an equivalent Aquila nylgut, and otherwise includes extra 1/2" and 1" bridges, and an extra 5th gut string. Thanks!

Product Specs

Excellent (Used)
Bob Thornburg
Grain Measure
Made In
United States


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About The Seller

Branyon's Gear Locker
Joined Oct 2015
Washington, DC, United States

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Available for local pickup from Washington, DC, United States

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Branyon's Gear Locker

Washington, DC, United States
Joined: Oct 2015

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Bob Thornburg Grain Measure Banjo - Padauk - Gourd-Maker
+ $65 Shipping