Welcome to the Arthur Smith Banjo Company

by Kate Spencer

The Arthur Smith Banjo Company was one of the first revival banjo companies of the 20th century. In October of 1973 Mark Surgies and I started production and ultimately made around 600 banjos. I left AES in 1979 to start Maple Leaf Music Company in Brattleboro, Vermont, a logical extension of my interest in fine traditional stringed instruments. Mark kept the company going until October of 1980, when he went on to other ventures. In June of 2012 I sold Maple Leaf Music to one of my employees, and the store is still thriving.

In conforming with the times, I put up a web site for the music store. It briefly mentioned my time with Arthur Smith and folks over the years contacted me about their banjos. Now that I am in my Renaissance (not the other “R” word), I am putting up this site both so that people can read about our adventure, and so that they can get in touch with me about their instruments.

I have all the company records, including returned warranty cards that are now stapled to the 4×6″ production and sales cards in my old oak file drawer. Please write to me with your name and banjo serial number and I will update your banjo’s card. I am most happy to write you back with any information I have on your instrument. Address and e-mails of current owners will be kept confidential; I am assembling this data for my own amusement and perhaps for posterity. If you have any great stories about you and your banjos, please write a post to our blog.

A history of the Arthur E. Smith Banjo Company is presented here in an article written by Mark Andrews in the April 1979 issue of Frets Magazine.