Barnes & Mullins BJ500BW Empress 5 String Banjo
Originally established in London in the early 1900s, Barnes & Mullins became one of the most famous names associated with high quality banjos. Today, the company reissues some of its most popular models. These instruments allow today’s musicians to enjoy a fantastic high quality banjo at an affordable price, developed with the same expertise and attention to detail as they were over 100 years ago.
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.
Barnes & Mullins BJ500BW Empress 5 String Banjo Features & Specifications:
- Neck: Walnut
- Resonator: Burl Walnut
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Rim: Walnut Laminate
- Tone Ring: Rolled Brass
- Brackets: 24 pcs
- Hardware: Chrome
- Head: Remo Vellum
- Machineheads: Geared
Barnes & Mullins BJ500BW Empress 5 String Banjo 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”.