Hours: Mon - Thu 10:30am - 8:00pm  -=-  Fri - Sat 10:30am - 5:30pm  -=-  211 Lambert Ave., Palo Alto, Ca 94306,  650-493-2131  -=-  Toll Free: 888-493-2131  -=-   Contact us

Gryphon Staff Member Hits the Road

Nancy took her favorite mode of transportation, the train, through the Rockies to visit the Boulder, Colorado home of Ome Banjos.

Nancy and Tanya Nancy and Tanya, the daughter of Ome banjos founder Chuck Ogsbury, in the “museum,” where examples from Chuck’s 50 year history as an independent banjo maker are on display.
sanding a banjo neck Jose Prado, Ome's associate woodworker, does the final sanding on a neck. Behind him are racks of banjo rims and resonators, assembled but without finish.
Banjo necks These racks of necks tell the story of how Ome has survived while other independent banjo companies have come and gone. Unlike banjo makers who specialize in only one type of banjo, Ome builds all kinds. Notice the vertical signs that say “long neck,” “tenor,” “plectrum,” “open back,” and “bluegrass.” The tenors and plectrums are 4-string models, and Ome is one of only a few companies to make these models today.
Gustavo in spray booth Gustavo Silva has worked at Ome for years, and is in charge of the finishing, although he also performs lots of other duties as well. Here he’s shown in the spray booth, holding a scroll headstock neck for an openback model.
banjo headstocks in spray booth Ome offers several different headstock shapes, four of which are shown here. Models that do not include the Ome logo on the face of the headstock get the burned brand on the back. These necks are all mahogany or walnut, but here's a link to a "Wizard" model, currently in stock, with a maple neck.
ebony headstock veneers Shown here is a stack of ebony headstock veneers. The outline has been routed and the recess for the pearl “OME” logo and floral scroll are ready to be inlaid. Here's a link to a completed "Juniper" model that Gyphon has in stock, showing the same design when completed.
headstock Banjo headstocks at the next stage, after the pearl and binding have been added. While the banjos with lots of inlay can be rather expensive, Ome also offers several highly affordable models with more modest binding and decorations, such as the "Sundance" bluegrass banjo Gryphon currently has in stock.
carved banjo heel Ome is one of the few contemporary banjo makers offering a finely carved neck heel. Such work is usually only found on old banjos such as those made by Fairbanks & Cole, S. S. Stewart, and Vega, among others.
engraved head inlay Engraved pearl inlays is another artistic detail rarely seen on modern banjos, but Ome offers fine engraving that rivals that found on banjos made over a century ago.
modern headstock inlay This more modern headstock inlay design commemorates Chuck Ogsbury's 50th year making banjos.
Fancy Tenor Resonator Tenor and plectrum banjos are often highly decorated. This photo shows the inlaid and engraved back of an Ome tenor’s resonator.
stack of wood resonators Everywhere you look in Omes's rather crowded workshop you see stacks of wood. The larger boards are used for necks, while the veneers are used to build resonators, as shown here, for bluegrass, tenor, and plectrum models.
Rick assembling a banjo No matter how well they are made, it’s the expert assembly of necks and rims (bodies) and set-up that makes the difference. Rich Sharples is a luthier who has been working at Ome for over 25 years and is in charge of final assembly and quality control.
Tanya in Ome museum Tanya in the Ome museum, holding a banjo her father made in the early 1960s when he founded Ode, his first banjo company that was later sold to Baldwin. The instrument is a lot older than she is!
humorous sign Every shop needs a little humor, and this sign has clearly been around for many years. The caption at the bottom reads “Shall I dazzle you with my fabulous flying fingers?”


Gryphon Stringed Instruments

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