Turtle Hill Banjo Company

 Deering Banjos

Gold Tone 

NechvilleNechville Helimount Banjos

Mike Ramsey
Mike Ramsey Chanterelle Banjos

Bart Reiter

Stelling Banjos

Turtle Hill
Banjo Company
David E. Schenkman
P.O. Box 2866
La Plata, MD 20646


Customer Comments


I received the Sumi yesterday and it is even nicer then I thought. The mando is in mint condition, you would never know that it was three years old. The fit, finish and quality of the instrument is of the finest caliber.

Thanks again


The Phantom arrived on schedule in fine shape and I have been playing it a week now.

What a pleasure to play. I am having difficulty putting it down and taking a breather.

Although I thought that the maple had a nicer look based on your web pictures, I chose the mahogany because I wanted a different wood from my other banjo. I am glad I stuck to my guns because this instrument is simply stunning in both appearance and sound. And the Renaissance Head that you recommended couldn't be any cooler looking. When I switch from my old archtop to the Phantom, it is like entering a different world--but still in the Banjo Universe. Incredible clarity and almost effortless to play.

Thanks again.


It's been a week and a half since I received the Bluegrass Woody and just wanted to let you know how much I liked it. My Blackjack will be going up on eBay in a couple of days with no regrets. I bought the Woody for the weight but was truly surprised at how much I would love the sound of it. Even our dobro player who also plays banjo couldn't put it down, which was funny because he is very traditional when it comes to banjos and he still can't believe it doesn't have a tone ring.

I played two jobs this weekend with it and can't remember in the 35 years that I have played professionally when I have enjoyed myself so much on stage. It felt more like a guitar than a banjo. I have to admit - Tony's rims are amazing.

Dave B.

Your timing could not have been more perfect! The banjos arrived this afternoon in fine shape and graduation is the evening. Everything worked out perfectly---how often does that happen? The Desert Rose is an incredible piece of work! A beautiful instrument, even nicer up close and personal. I appreciate your taking the time and effort to explain why the Desert Rose was a wise choice. From where I sit you look very wise! ;-) I will call tomorrow and we can chat further but things are bit hectic here at the moment as I need to leave for the graduation ceremony in about an hour.

Thanks again, Dave and I'll send a nice email to Scott Zimmerman too. He may appreciate hearing from a happy owner.

Best regards,

Howdy Dave. I picked up my Phantom this morning. I have been playing it for about 3 hours now. Thought I would take time to let you know I'm real happy with this banjo. Set up was perfect, I love the sound and man is it easy to play. It was a real pleasure to do business with you. I look forward to buying my next banjo from Turtle Hill. Thanks again, and take care.


 Hi Dave,

The Legacy was delivered late this afternoon. I'll get back to you with a full report after I have had several weeks to play it, but I can tell you right now that this really is a special banjo. The fit and finish is flawless. Even my wife, who barely tolerates my banjo playing, stated that she could hear the difference. I'm going to take your advice and not change anything for several months, but at this point I'm not sure what I would want to change.


Just wanted to give you an update on my new Legacy. I'm more impressed with it every day that I play it (and I do play it every day!). When I was evaluating instruments, I played as many as I could, including a Huber Lexington, Chief, Blackjack, RB3, Golden Wreath, and a Crowe RB 75. They were all great banjos (even though the Blackjack that I played at the 5th String in Berkeley needed some work!), but the Legacy has this consistent, complex tone, all the way up the neck, and does not seem to have the annoying overtones that I find on other banjos. I suppose this is due to the tone ring, but the quality and workmanship on this instrument is second to none. I really didn't expect it to sound as good as it did right from the factory, and it improves every day.

The banjo (gold plated mahogany Turtle Hill Bluegrass Woody) arrived a week ago and has already been used in two performances. I am very happy with it. It sounds great, it's a beautiful instrument, and the weight difference is much appreciated. A couple of the guys in my band were concerned that the sound quality would not be equal to that of my old Stelling, but they have expressed great surprise and delight at the power and cleanness of the sound from this new banjo. I will be playing this banjo at the Yellowstone Bluegrass Festival this summer.


Dear Dave,

I want to thank you for all your time and patience in helping me pick out my new banjo. I have been playing my new Ome nonstop since I got home. Your shop offers a unique experience for banjo players and I'm glad I live close enough to visit it.


Dear Dave:
Thanks for all your help and time on Sunday. Paul came home a very happy man. He played that banjo for another 2 hours that night. He was a little sore the next day. He is very happy with his choice and feels confident he got a very good value.

Just wanted to let you know that since he no longer has to fiddle with
his strings to try and get "that sound" he wants he is actually taking an
interest in learning new songs and improving his technique. He is a new
musician !!!

Thanks once again.

All the wait was worth it when the banjo case opened to a ornately
beautiful Ramsey Custom. The beauty of the instrument is truly
complemented by the deep melodic tone that gently expresses note after
note with elegant sweetness.

Thank you for working with me on this project your patience and service
are second to none.

Take care and my best Dave.


Hi Dave, just wanted to let you know that the Bill Emerson Red Fox Deluxe arrived as promised and was even better than the pictures, and the sound is as awesome as I expected it would be. I appreciate your allowing for such a long lay-away; as it was a consignment and you really did me a favor by purchasing it outright in order to accommodate my financial limitations. To anyone that is considering a new or used banjo, Turtle Hill should be the first name that comes to mind.


Hi Dave; I will be sending you a check for the balance in the morning. I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to buy the Butterfly the way I did. I can't think of another dealer that is that willing to work with people to sell them stuff.

By the way my banjo teacher is going to Washington DC to play guitar, banjo, harmonica, and dobro in a play. I told him he had to get down to see you. He is a little worried he might buy something but I told him it is worth the trip because you had a ton of stuff you could show him. He likes Gibson's, go figure. I envy him for getting to go there, it was a peak experience that made my whole trip fun. I told him to call first of course.
Anyway thanks again Dave, you're terrific.


Dear Dave, The Swallowtail arrived today while I was out and my partners laid the box across my desk awaiting my return. Waiting for this banjo resurrected those Christmas feelings from forty years ago and finally the present was open. There was no let down. What a pretty thing it is and how it does play! The office had to listen to 45 minutes and it went with me all day. I don’t much believe in coincidence any more. You were the right man with the right banjo at the right time. Thanks Dave. Also great packing job.

Best Regards, Paul

Dave, the Crafters banjo you sold me just keeps sounding sweeter every time I pick it up. Everyone who has seen it down here in the Houston area has been very impressed. Thanks,


Thank you for your prompt service. I purchased a used Gibson RB250 from you several years ago. I love this banjo and it plays great. I just purchased a Gold Tone WL250 from you and again your service was great and I really like this banjo. Your shipment arrived again promptly and with no damage. Thanks again for your great service! {I love these banjos!}


Got the Mossman this morning. It arrived in perfect condition. Great packing job!!!

Great guitar and great service. I will recommend you to anyone who's looking for a banjo.


A year ago I bought my first banjo from you, a Gold Tone MC 150R with planetary tuners. You advised me to be very careful buying a banjo in the entry level price range, as there are a lot of junk instruments on the shelves out there. Boy were you right. As I get more playing experience and check out different instruments in music stores around the area, I am so glad I went with the Gold Tone. It has a terrific feel and sound, and has proven to be a great value for the money. This banjo will last me a long time without leaving me disappointed. I've played the MC150 at jam sessions, on stage and in the studio and have never been let down. Someday I'll be ready for a banjo upgrade, and will certainly come back to Turtle Hill. Thanks for the good advice.


Over the past year I have purchased two banjos from Dave at Turtle
Hill. Buying an instrument long-distance is always traumatic, at best.
In my case, I was troubled with indecision with both purchases. Dave
must have the patience of a saint to have dealt with me. However, he
answered all my questions and did everything possible except buy them
for me. I know I must have been difficult; always changing my mind,
questioning everything. Yet, he worked with me every step of the way.
Being from California and not readily able to visit the shop and play
the instruments I was interested in, I had to rely on Dave's comments,
opinions, and observations. He was careful not to sway me one way or the
other, but provided me with all the information I needed to make an
appropriate choice. If anyone is interested in a banjo purchase, whether
it be a high-end purchase or something else, Dave will do all he can to
satisfy your needs. Both of my purchases were relatively high-end
purchases. The business end went smoothly and the instruments were shipped promptly, packed well, and arrived without any discernible
damage. Service after the sale is paramount to me and even though I may
have purchased something much earlier, I trust that Dave would work as
hard as always to insure my satisfaction. I would not hesitate one
moment to purchase another instrument from Dave at Turtle Hill.


Hey Dave,

Well, I have been playing my OB-250 just about every day since last week when you gave it a 6 month tune up and man can I tell the difference! I mean it really rings loud and crisp. Dave, I am glad that I ended up purchasing from you rather than on line somewhere. The time you spent tuning and the education I get every time I visit the shop is well worth the drive from the shore. Thanks again for great service. Merry Christmas.


Hi David,

My new Huss & Dalton banjo arrived yesterday right on schedule. I tuned it up and started playing right away. It's really a great banjo. Thank very much for all your help in picking it out.

Also, you can tell any of your beginning to intermediate customers that the new Ross Nickerson book "Banjo Encyclopedia" that I bought from you is really a great instructional book. Its really has helped me improve my playing in just 2 weeks.

Happy Holidays and thanks again !!!

Les in Oregon

Hi Dave~

I received the banjo yesterday evening and it was in perfect shape. I opened the box and opened the case and couldn't believe my eyes. It is absolutely beautiful!

I had already had my banjo lesson for the day (I was off work Friday), and when I returned home the banjo was here. I turned right around and went back to my banjo instructor to let him tune it for me (and he loved it). He was familiar with Crafters of Tennessee, but I guess had never really played one. He has a real nice Deering banjo, but fell in love with my Classic. He tuned it up for me and I listened to him pick a little -- boy could he make it sing!

I am so proud of my new banjo and want to thank you for all your time and effort. The Crafters of Tennessee "Classic" was a great choice and will definitely be a "lifetime" banjo for me.

Thanks again Dave.

Dave - just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thanks again for all you did helping me make the right selection for a new banjo. The Juggernaut is unbelievable and I find myself practicing much and more because its so much nicer to play. I took it to my lesson with Ira last night and he too was thoroughly impressed.