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    Barnes & Mullins BJ500BW Empress 5-String Banjo

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    Barnes & Mullins

     Product Description

    Barnes & Mullins BJ500BW Empress 5 String Banjo

    Named after the tragic ‘Empress of Ireland’ ocean liner, the Barnes & Mullins BJ500BW ‘Empress’ 5 string banjo combines outstanding quality with a unique and striking appearance. A low action and quick neck make this banjo a joy to play. It features a closed back burl walnut resonator to deliver an authentic, punchy bluegrass tone with a genuine Remo Vellum head. Geared machine heads ensure improved tuning stability. The BJ500BW also features a rolled brass tone ring to improve the volume and projection of the instrument.


    • Neck: Walnut
    • Resonator: Burl Walnut
    • Fingerboard: Ovangkol
    • Rim: Stained Maple Laminate
    • Tone Ring: Rolled Brass
    • Brackets: 24 
    • Hardware: Chrome
    • Head: Remo Vellum
    • Machineheads: Geared, Planetary Style

    Please Note: Specifications are subject to change at any time.

    Barnes & Mullins Origins

    In 1894, Mr Albert Mullins and Mr S. Bowley Barnes started “The Jo”, their famous musical instrument journal.

    Specialising in all things banjo, they soon began manufacturing their own banjos as well as importing many other instruments. The original Barnes and Mullins banjos are still sought after today, with collectors seeking them out all over the world.

    Sadly in 1914 at the age of 40, Albert Mullins drowned when the ‘Empress of Ireland’ sank on the St Lawrence River. He was on the home leg of a 2 year sales trip.

    Bowley Barnes continued the business thereafter, and what he had started with his partner years earlier in Bournemouth now moved to Rathbone Place, London.

    In 1976, Mark Barnes – son of Bowley Barnes – moved the business to Grays Inn Road, Bloomsbury. Sadly in 1986, Mark Barnes died. He was greatly admired and respected by employees and customers alike who were quick to tell of his fair and generous nature.

    In 1999, Bruce Perrin – a Director since 1986 – became Managing Director and moved the business from London to the current location – Grays Inn House – a modern 46000sqft warehouse and office facility in Oswestry, Shropshire.

    Bruce Perrin says “We are excited about the future and are constantly looking at ways to innovate and evolve, yet Barnes and Mullins has always endeavoured to put the customer at the top of its priority list”.

     Warranty Information

    24 Months

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