Instruments & Gear: Vintage Vault

1930 Gibson Granada Banjo

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Bill Evans demonstrates his 1930 Gibson Granada banjo.

by Scott Nygaard
June 01, 2015

This 1930 Gibson Granada banjo is owned by Peghead Nation banjo instructor Bill Evans. Originally built as a four-string tenor banjo, the instrument (serial no. 9522-25) was modified with a five-string neck at a later time, and its current neck was built by Frank Neat of Neat Banjos ( The banjo has a maple resonator and gold-plated hardware. “The interesting thing about this instrument is that you get a lot of nice sustain,” says Evans. “But then, when you play the next note, the first note is gone, so you don’t get this blending of the notes that can create a muddy sound.” The bridge was made by Italian banjo player Silvio Ferretti (, and Bill strings the banjo with GHS JD20 strings (

To study banjo with Bill Evans, enroll in his Beginning Banjo or Bluegrass Banjo courses on Peghead Nation.

Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Bill Evans on
Thanks Jon and Bryon, This banjo was formally owned by Sonny Osborne but he did not play it much on stage - this is not to be confused with the fantastic Granada that he played and recorded with for many years, that he still owns. I wake up every morning wanting to play!
Posted by smitchell smitchell on
every tone-ring banjo made is a clone of this banjo, and the clone thing WORKS 100%. I think there has to be 85-100 brands of the Aria Pro II banjo.
Posted by Jon Brunton on
I think this is the best sounding Granada I've heard so far. I've listened to a few online, bearing in mind I'm a newbie to the banjo scene only been learning for 2 years myself. However, I know the tone I like, and this has it. Not forgetting the great picker behind it of course
Posted by mark byrum on
Your banjo is terrific, Bill. Sonny talks about his Granada having great sustain, but I think yours, played more regularly than his, has better sustain. And a better sound, IMHO. Keep at it. Mark Byrum
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