The Great British Banjo Company expands its Shackleton Banjo range to meet customer demand

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British banjo business, The Great British Banjo Company, has expanded the range of models of its Shackleton banjo to meet the demand from supporters around the world.

Shackleton banjo, second prototype

Shackleton banjo, second prototype

We've increased the range of models and options of The Shackleton banjo to meet popular demand.

British banjo business, The Great British Banjo Company, has expanded the range of models of its Shackleton banjo, to meet the demand from supporters around the world.

The company is funding the development of its British-made banjo, The Shackleton, on the popular crowd funding website Kickstarter.

Originally offering just one version of the banjo, which is the first mass-market banjo to be manufactured in Britain for more than 60 years, the company has received numerous requests for upgraded and alternative versions.

"We were going to start with the basic £300 model, but requests from supporters and enthusiasts around the world have led to us introducing a very special oak rim version, plus a version with built-in pickup, plus accessories such as a British-made leather banjo strap," explained Simon Middleton, the company's founder and managing director.

The Shackleton Banjo Kickstarter funding campaign has now passed the 67 per cent milestone.

Pledges totaling more than £20,000 ($32,000) have been received towards the target of £30,000 ($48,000), which will enable the company to produce its first batch of the British-made banjo.

The Shackleton banjo will be the first volume-production to be manufactured in Britain for more than 60 years.

The instrument is named in honour of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer who led the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914.

The banjo belonging to the expedition's meteorologist played an unexpected but vital role in the journey, after Shackleton's ship Endurance was crushed by ice and had to be abandoned.

Although each man was only allowed to take two pounds in weight of personal possessions off the ship, Shackleton made an exception for the banjo, famously declaring: "We must have that banjo, it is vital mental medicine."

It proved a wise decision, because when Shackleton and a small team had to leave 22 men trapped on Elephant Island for several months while they set off on an 800-mile voyage in a small open boat to seek for help, the banjo played a vital role in maintaining morale for those left behind.

The marooned men held regular concert parties and wrote songs on the banjo.

"It's a fantastic story of British pluck and determination," explained Simon Middleton, managing director of The Great British Banjo Company, "and it has inspired us to undertake our own adventure: to build an affordable banjo in Britain, which has not been done for so many decades."

"We are thrilled with the response from banjo enthusiasts, as well as from people who just want to support British manufacturing," Middleton added.

Company Information:

The Great British Banjo Company Limited, which also owns online specialist store Banjos Direct, is based in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

The company works with local craftsmen as well as instrument manufacturers in other parts of Britain.

The business was founded by brand adviser, business author and musician Simon Middleton and has grown rapidly to become the UK's best known banjo specialist retailer and manufacturer.

In 2012, the company launched the Islander Ash Leaf banjo, hand-made for the company in England by Malcolm McLeod, which has received glowing reviews from professional players in the UK and the USA.

The Great British Banjo Company is a private limited company, owned and managed by a small group of family and friends in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

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