In my spare time I'm usually to be found playing banjo or walking in the local hills in the company of  Matokie, a Welsh sheepdog who spends our work hours snoozing under a workbench in my shop.

I started learning to make and repair musical instruments in 2009 and it has been in one way or another my full time occupation ever since.

I enrolled as a mature student to do a year long course in musical instrument making at London Metropolitan university, which eventually became a bachelor's degree, gaining a first class degree with honours in 2011.

I opened up my own workshop in East London, and for the next five years I worked professionally as a repairer but also making a few guitars and banjos for people.

will howson playing a banjo he made as a banjo luthier

Then in 2016 I made a trip to the states and for three months hitchhiked and Greyhounded with my banjo from New York to New Orleans to North Carolina and Virginia to Ithaca and back.

During that time I was lucky enough to track down and spend time with a couple of my favourite musicians, Frank Lee who hired me to paint his kitchen and Richie Stearns who I got to take a couple of trips with and hangout, I also got to spend time with several of my favourite makers, Greg Galbreth, Jeff Delfeild and Mac Traynham which was very inspiring.

Throughout the three months I got to play a lot of really nice banjos, I was introduced to Peter Szego and he very kindly gave me a personal tour of his famous collection and I made a friend Mike in Asheville who has a small but amazing collection of modern luthier made banjos that up to that point I had just seen pictures of.

That whole experience really made a huge impression on me, and on what I felt was a good banjo, tonally and on a visual and tactile level.

On my return I moved the workshop to Shropshire and have focused on making the best sounding banjos I can.

Explore my range of handcrafted banjos made in the UK.

Customer Testimonials

"Will has produced a fantastic open-back banjo in Cherry with a 12" Renaissance head and Dobson Tonering.
Excellent tone, lightweight and easy to play.
Why pay 000$ for overrated US imports when we have some talented luthiers in the UK?

Highly recommended."

John Charnock

"Unlike many banjos I’ve played, it maintains clarity all the way up the neck. I've now owned it for a few months and would say this is now my favourite banjo, and I'm lucky enough to own some really nice ones from other well-known builders.
Dealing with Will was a pleasure.

If the house was on fire and I could save one banjo, this would be the one!."

Tom Philips

"I was smitten from the moment Will handed it over.
The craftsmanship is awesome and the sound just gets better and better.
Fabulous projection without a hint of harshness, just a well balanced tone across the range and up the neck.
And it’s plenty loud enough to be heard in my local Old Time session where it has been the target of some serious admiration.
If you are looking for a work of art at a very acceptable price point, Will’s your man. You won’t regret it!!"

Sue Woolard

"I'm delighted with my Howson, it's my go to, everyday banjo. 12" cherry pot, ebony tone ring, goat hide head, brass hardware. I have a few others, including antique banjos from some of the best American makers. It's the Howson that I reach for most. Check out my videos on YouTube at Cerddoriaeth Fynyddig / Mountain Music. Most of those include my Howson."

Andy Taylor

"I often think that looking at a banjo is like looking at food because firstly it has to appeal to the eye and that is how I felt the first time I saw the fretless banjo I bought from WGF Howson Instruments. Not only does it sound great but when I’m not playing it, it stands in my room like a piece of art."

Tat Taylor