Low-cost British banjo named in honour of great explorer Shackleton

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The Great British Banjo Company has announced plans to launch a £300 British banjo called The Shackleton inspired by explorer Ernest Shackleton's enthusiasm for the instrument. Shackleton famously rescued a banjo from his sinking ship, saying: "We must have that banjo. It's vital mental medicine."

British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton after whom the new Shackleton banjo is named

British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton after whom the new Shackleton banjo is named

We are very proud indeed to introduce The Shackleton banjo: great sounding, great to play, great to learn on, great to take on holiday or to festivals, great value, and most significantly (and uniquely at this price) made in Great Britain!

The Great British Banjo Company has announced plans to launch a £300 British banjo called The Shackleton inspired by explorer Ernest Shackleton's enthusiasm for the instrument.

Shackleton famously rescued a banjo from his sinking ship, saying: "We must have that banjo. It's vital mental medicine."

The company says The Shackleton banjo, which is available for advance order now, will be one of the most affordable quality banjos on the market, and the only one manufactured in Great Britain.

The company's first British-made instrument, the Islander Ash Leaf, was launched last year and has received praise from leading banjo players in the the UK and USA including Leon Hunt, Dan Levenson and Bob Minner.

The new banjo is named The Shackleton after the heroic British explorer of the Edwardian era.

Available to pre-order on the company's Banjos Direct website, the new instrument is an openback 5-string banjo designed to directly rival well-known American instruments.

Managing Director of The Great British Banjo Company, Simon Middleton, said: "We are very proud indeed to introduce The Shackleton banjo: great sounding, great to play, great to learn on, great to take on holiday or to festivals, great value, and most significantly (and uniquely at this price) made in Great Britain!"

Middleton added: "The neck and rim will be 100% manufactured in Great Britain, and assembly and set-up is also 100% done in Great Britain."

"With design and manufacturing assistance from respected British drum and guitar manufacturers, we intend to counter the popular perception that good banjos have to be expensive and that affordable banjos have to come from the far east," Middleton added.

In November 1915, as Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance was trapped in the Antarctic pack-ice and sinking, Shackleton himself risked drowning to rescue the ship's banjo, famously calling out: "We must have that banjo. It's vital mental medicine."

Shackleton then set off with a small party to South Georgia to get help, and the 22 men left behind lived for months on Elephant Island, under an upturned boat and some old sails. They maintained morale with a weekly concert for which the expedition's meteorologist Leonard Hussey would compose songs and play the banjo, whilst the men sang.

Leonard Hussey survived the adventure, as did his banjo. It is now in the National Maritime Museum, its skin bearing a dozen signatures of members of the failed expedition to the South Pole.

The new Shackleton banjo is a modern 5-string instrument (4-string and 6-string versions will be available later). Features include an advanced multiply rim constructed using the latest drum rim technology, and a high quality neck with geared tuners.

COMPANY INFORMATION:

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

The privately owned 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.

For further information visit: http://www.banjosdirect.co.uk/great-british-banjo-company-shackleton-openback-new-order-now-2063-p.asp

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Simon Middleton

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