At the recent SPBGMA convention in Nashville, banjo players were talking about the Czech Republic. No, they hadn’t all suddenly taken an interest in eastern European politics or history. A pair of Czech builders were set up in the exhibit areas, Rosta Capek and Jaroslav Prucha. The Prucha and Capek banjos impressed the US pickers in Nashville, just as they have the many banjo players in Europe and the UK who can purchase them less expensively that instruments from US makers.
The Czechs have long had a reputation as master craftsmen, artisans, and machinists, a prestige that precedes their present status as an independent nation. Even when occupied by the Soviet Union in the 20th century, people understood that top quality work was being done by the Czechs.
Also debuted at SPBGMA was a new line of banjo strings made in the Czech Republic. Developed by BanjoLit, these are made by a small privately-held shop by experienced craftsmen, under the guidance and direction of banjo players. Three gauges are offered of these steel strings, with a hex-core, nickel-wrapped 4th string.
After finding the right string thickness and steel, the strings were tested by a number of European banjo players for crispness and longevity before settling on what now exists as BanjoLit strings.
BanjoLit will ship the strings anywhere in the world, and flat-fee shipping to the US is roughly $5. If you want to check out Czech metal work for yourself, the new BanjoLit strings sell for $5.49/set.
Full details on the gauges and shipping information can be found online.