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Deering Julia Belle 5-String Banjo #0046


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It all started with Greg and Janet Deering’s friendship with John Hartford, a friendship that began over 30 years ago when Greg worked with John to design and build his first signature Hartford Model banjo.  John’s Deering low banjo was an iconic part of his sound for many years and was an inspiration for many banjo players. Alison was one of those inspired by John’s unique voice on the banjo.  As a proud owner of John’s prototype Deering low banjo, a long time friend of the Hartford family, as well as a fellow San Diegan, it seemed fitting for Alison to reach out to the Deerings to collaborate on an updated version of John’s original low banjo.

The new Julia Belle Banjo is a testament not only to Alison’s friendship with John, but also to his music and his art.  John actually attended art school and over the course of his life made countless sketches of the things that he loved including the riverboats which fascinated him. The Hartford family graciously gave Alison permission to peruse their personal collection of his sketches, allowing her to choose the images that spoke to her.  As she poured over John’s drawings, the design concept for the new banjo took shape.

When Alison discovered John’s enigmatic sketch of a woman in a flowing dress she knew the new banjo needed to be called The Julia Belle. The mysterious, faceless lady fits perfectly on the peghead and has been brought to life with with flowing copper hair and an elegant blue dress. John’s sketch of Captain Trone, the captain of the famous Mississippi riverboat The Julia Belle Swain and the man who taught John to pilot the paddlewheeler, adorns the third fret and an inlay based on an original pattern from the now famous riverboat adorns the rear of the peghead and also frames Alison’s signature. One of John’s riverboat sketches is inlaid at the 12th fret and, at the 22nd fret, the name Julia Belle is immortalized in John’s own handwriting.

Tonally, The Julia Belle is specifically designed to shine when played in lower tunings such as E or D, though she does sound wonderful when played in standard G tuning. She is made of mahogany which brings out a beautiful warmth, and also boasts a radiused fingerboard and a brand new head design by Evans that recreates the fat, full tones of the original 5 Star heads. This head is a bit thicker than a standard head and that helps to bring out the deeper tones that Alison loves in a banjo.

Underneath the head, a Deering -06- Tone Ring is fitted perfectly to the rim. The banjo is capped off with Alison’s preferred string gauges for The Julia Belle (12 14 20w 24w 12) all of which help to reveal a banjo with a brilliant tone that is complimented by an underlying depth and body that is irresistible. In a twist to John’s original banjo, Alison also opted for two extra frets with an overhanging fingerboard, giving the player two octaves and a whole new playing field!



  • Mahogany Neck
  • Beautiful "Julia Belle" Inlay in Peghead
  • Alison Brown Signature Inlay in Rear of Peghead
  • John Hartford Inspired Pearloid Fingerboard Inlays
  • Radiused Ebony Fingerboard with 24 Fret Overhang
  • Slender Deering Neck Shape
  • 24 Glued In Nickel Silver Frets
  • Adjustable Truss Rod
  • Deering Planetary Tuners with Black Tuner Buttons
  • Deering Geared 5th String Tuner with Black Tuner Buttons
  • 5th String Capo Spikes at Frets 7 and 9
  • Vintage Satin Finish


  • Deering -06- Bell Bronze Tone Ring
  • Deering Premium Violin Grade 3-ply Maple Rim
  • Brass Notched Tension Hoop
  • 11” Custom D'Addario Banjo Head
  • 24 Round Hooks with Hex Nuts
  • One Piece Cast Zinc Flange
  • Nickel Plated Hardware
  • Deering True Tone Tailpiece
  • 11/16” Radiused Deering Smile™ Bridge


  • Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Resonator Sides Are Specially Tapered On the Inside For Projection of Tone
  • Resonator Back Is Accented With Black Trim
  • Brown Mahogany Stained Resonator Interior
  • Vintage Satin Finish


  • Tuned to in standard E tuning (e,B,E,G#,B)
  • Gauges: 12,14,20w,24w,12
  • End Type: Loop


e,B,E,G#,B in standard E tuning Can easily be tuned in other tunings as well.


Alison’s preferred string gauges for The Julia Belle (12 14 20w 24w 12) reveal a banjo with a brilliant tone that is complimented by an underlying depth and body that is irresistible.


  • Neck Width at the Nut 1 1/4″
  • Scale Length Nut to Bridge 26 1/4″
  • Resonator Diameter 13 7/8″
  • Rim Diameter 11″
  • Overall Instrument Length 38″
  • Weight Approximately 11.5lbs


The trust and pride we share in our product gives us the confidence to grant every owner of a Deering banjo a Lifetime Warranty ensuring the quality of our materials and workmanship.

Thanks for checking out The Acoustic Shoppe's Online store. We are one of the nation's largest authorized Eastman dealers. We also carry a number of boutique brands such as Bourgeois, Preston Thompson, McPherson, Huss & Dalton, Weber, Deering, Furch, Boucher, and much more. All new instruments & accessories come with their full manufacturers warranty & every instrument goes through our shop to assure that they are player ready. With 25+ years experience in the acoustic music industry as The Chapmans, our goal is to provide you with the best customer experience possible so we can be your music store for life. Voted NAMM Top 100 Dealer for 8 years in a row (2015-2022) & Top 3 Emerging Dealer in '17, ‘18 & ‘19.


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