The Great Lakes Banjo Company was a banjo manufacturer based in Ann Arbor, MI; it incorporated in 1974. Luthier Dennis Lake was the founder.

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As most of you know, the Great Lakes Banjo Company out of Ann Arbor, MI was founded by luthier extraordinare, Dennis Lakes in the early 70's. The company made the highest quality banjos possible at the time. As the urban legend goes, a bad batch of lacquer resulted in some finish flaking on the neck and resonator of some of the later-made banjos. Not satisfied with anything short of perfection, Dennis recalled as many banjos as possible to fix these blemishes. Unfortunately, the work proved too costly and the company went out of business. What a shame.

From left to right: Dennis Lake, Michael Smith, Roger Kasle, John Sayler and Bud Mosley.

1977: The Great Lakes Banjo Company finally gave up doing business. One of the contributing factors was the bad lacquer it had been sent by a supplier which required refinishing many instruments that had already been purchased. Standing behind the work, the company did the refinishing at no cost to the customer. Original low margins were eaten up.