History

bill sullivan HistoryThe Sullivan Banjo Company is a relatively new company with a long history. To give you the whole story, we’ll need to go back about forty years.
In the late 1960’s our founder, Bill Sullivan, really wanted to play the banjo. Around this time, banjos were not readily available at the local music store, so Bill set out to use his experiance as a machinist to build his own. Many lunch hours were spent in the Tool & Die shop at General Electric making parts and fixtures. Before long, his first banjo was built and Bill set out to learn to play. It didn’t take him long to realize that maybe the banjo was easier to make than play!
As word of a new banjo maker spread, Bill was asked to make more and more replacement parts for Mastertone-style banjos. With his hobby quickly growing into a business, Bill started First Quality Banjo in 1970 with his entire product line filling less than one page. From these humble beginnings, the selection grew from the original half-page to a full page, then to front and back, then to a small catalog. By the early 1980’s Bill was offering every part needed to build your own banjo. It was then that he decided to make banjos full-time. He left his job at General Electric and the rest is history.

After years of selling parts and pieces for others to build banjos, early 2000 brought the decision to make our own line under the name Sullivan Banjo company. Since that time, the selection has grown from a single model to a full line of American-made banjos combining old-world craftmanship with modern CNC technology. We offer a full Custom Shop, Plating Services, and repair and restoration services as well as contract production for other well-known banjo makers. We’ve recently begun pouring, casting, and CNC machining our own tone rings.
No other banjo maker has the background, flexibility, and drive that you’ll find at Sullivan Banjo Co. You’re always welcome to stop by and play any of the models in our showroom, have a shop tour, or visit our History Room where we keep over 170 Gibson banjo necks, various banjo artifacts, our pre-war flathead 3, and some of our latest prototype banjos.