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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Gariepy Banjo???

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kfrye101 - Posted - 05/19/2008:  22:22:42

I am new here...I work at a thrift store that provides money to a charity and a banjo was recently donated. It is a Gariepy made in long beach, I have played guitar for a while but know very little about banjos. Regardless of the worth, I want to purchase the banjo as I have wanted to learn for some time (i Looooove to sing, play, and listen to bluegrass) but have no clue to its worth. The instrument is currently being kept in the managers office as she knows i am interested. If anyone has any idea about the worth of a gariepy or things to look for to determine its value i would very much appreciate it. Thanks!

banjonz - Posted - 05/20/2008:  00:44:31

Hi Katelen, welcome to the hangout. Here's a link to the info you seek...

As to it's worth, it is dificult to determine without seeing a photo or two. can you provide?

New Zealand

"I call my girl my meloncholy baby! She has the head like a mellon and the face like a collie"!

Bill Rogers - Posted - 05/20/2008:  11:24:12

There were a variety of models of Gariepy--and its value will depend on whether it's a high- or lower-end one, its condition of course and presence of all original parts. Depneding on, it could be a very nice player.


Studebaker Hawk - Posted - 05/20/2008:  13:48:34

I've been interested in Gariepy banjos since almost from the get-go since I first started playing the five-string. I supposed it's a "California" thing or something (I was raised in Southern California, got interested in banjos in my youth, knew a REALLY good picker who played a Gariepy, etc.).

Some questions for you...
1) Is the banjo a five-string model?
2) Does the banjo have an aluminum rim, or is it a wooden shell with a tone ring mounted to it?
3) Does the banjo have a resonator, and, if so, what do the flange plates look like?
4) Are there any distinguishing types of pearl inlay in the peghead or fingerboard that you could describe to us?

If you're new to the banjo, most of these questions will leave you scratching your head and saying "huh?". Gariepy made a lot of banjos in the '60s in different price ranges. So... the best thing would be for you to provide us some photos of this banjo. A picture is worth a thousand words and it would go a long way in helping us provide you the answers you seek.

Your Pal,
Stu D. Baker-Hawk

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

kfrye101 - Posted - 05/20/2008:  21:33:14

Hi! thanx to everyone for the advice. I have played guitar and fiddle for a while but honestly have never even held a banjo until now, although I have always wanted to play. I purchased the instrument for $48 at the thrift store. It is a 5 string, the rim looks all medal so I assume feels very heavy to me. I believe a resonator would be some kind of covering on the underside of the banjo? if so I do not believe it has one, but Im not really sure what it is. It may have some mother of pearl on the neck, they look shiny but I cant tell for sure. I will try to figure out how to post photos. I have some photos of it uploaded on my comp right now, can someone tell me how to post them on the forum? Thanks!

Studebaker Hawk - Posted - 05/21/2008:  08:39:16

$48 for an open-back, aluminum-rim Gariepy? YOU GOT RIPPED OFF! Just kidding. You, ma'am, got a real deal out of that transaction. If the neck is straight (i.e., not bowed) and is structurally sound, you probably got yourself one nice little banjo. Aluminum-rim, open-back 5-string Gariepy banjos in good condition can typically go for $200 - $300 (or higher, depending on the ornamentation). When you figure out how to post pictures, please do so. Or, email me your pics directly (studebakerhawk57 at yahoo dot com) and I'll post them for you.

Your Pal,
Stu D. Baker-Hawk

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

Studebaker Hawk - Posted - 05/21/2008:  17:26:06

Originally posted by kfrye101
... I have some photos of it uploaded on my comp right now, can someone tell me how to post them on the forum? Thanks!


Got your photos, Katelen, and here they are...

The rim and hardware are definitely Gariepy. The neck has the characteristic Gariepy laminated center-stripe running down the back; however, I don't believe I ever saw a Gariepy with a peghead shaped like that. The Gariepies I'm familiar with had an ornate-cut peghead that was somewhat reminiscent of a cross between a Gibson double-cut and an old S.S. Stewart. Is there anyway you could provide us (me?) a photo of the FRONT of the peghead? Ill post it with the others. Thanks!

Your Pal,
Stu D. Baker-Hawk

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

Photo added 22 May 08 / 0431 PST:

Well, this is a new one on me. Is anybody out there who is familiar with a Gariepy banjo that sports this type of peghead? Also, most of the Gariepies I've encountered had a truss-rod adjustment access plate mounted in the upper register of the fretboard (which I always thought odd); however, on this neck I can so no obvious truss-rod access hole anywhere. Maybe this one is hidden where the heel meets the rim? Anybody?

Oh, and Katelen, thanks for providing this last photo. This was a real interesting thread. Be talking to you later!

Edited by - Studebaker Hawk on 05/23/2008 16:30:56

kfrye101 - Posted - 05/22/2008:  22:46:47

I took the banjo to a Guitar Center today, and I was lucky b/c a guy working there played banjo and was very knowledgable. I had it restrung, which they are not allowed to do at GC, but he did it for me "under the table," for $20. The guy was really excited when he opened up the case. He thinks its about $40 yrs old, he had never heard of Gariepy but at first thought it had been made in Canada. I told him about some of my research and that I was sure it had been made in the US in long beach and he decided that was probably it. He too thought the peg head was fascinating but said the neck and peg head were definitely hand carved from one piece of wood and it is original. He was fascinated by the stripe inlay. He said that the wood on the neck was mahogany, the board under the peghead is either pig or horse bone, and the board on the body is pine with ebony and bone. The action was very high when he re strung it. He says the neck is very slightly bowed and he will find me the number of an antique guitar restorer who can straighten it for about $100. It would be worth it since I only paid $48 and he thinks it is worth at least $500. I actually had two ppl in the shop offer to buy it, but I really want to keep it and learn to play. He wanted to buy it as well, but also told me that it is such a cool, unique banjo that I really should hang on to it (which I will do.) He thinks it has been played a lot as the area where the strings attach actually has grooves in the metal. The lady who donated it said her father had just passed away and that it was his, she didn't know anything about banjos and just didnt want it. Its almost kind of sad, but I think its cool that I bought it and will appreciate it and learn to play and take care of it. The guy at GC said it had some cool features, like once you tune it the pegs actually screw into place to hold the tune, and where you string it at the bottom actually screws in as well. He was very excited to see it, and once he strung and tuned it he played a bit and was thrilled. He said it was very loud and sounded amazing and he played it for about 20 minutes. He wants me to bring it back to show to ppl! Anyways, sorry for rambling, I am just really excited that I bought such a cool banjo! One question I have, he said that the board on the face of the banjo has never been moved all these years and it is pressing hard into the face stretched across the body. He says to keep it all original but is worried it might break it...any ideas? thanx everyone, questions or advice would be awesome, and I will def keep an eye out for more Gariepys as I live close to Long Beach

burf - Posted - 05/23/2008:  00:28:00

What you have is the basic low end Gariepy. I don't know what serial number yours is but it is exactly the same as my first banjo that I purchased from Art Gareipy, in Long Beach, in 1964. I still own it and another just like it. They are great players and sound great as an open back. Gariepy quit producing banjos about 1965. My recommendation would be to KEEP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! and enjoy it.

kfrye101 - Posted - 05/23/2008:  09:38:38

awesome, im glad to know exactly which one it is. I am definitely keeping it, thanx!

lazlototh - Posted - 05/27/2008:  19:25:48

I just put a resonator on my Gariepy tenor that I converted to a 5 string a Tsai neck. Been using it as an open back for about six months and I love it. The neck was a decent one from Tsai.

Anyway, I have been forgetting to get the hardware I needed for a while. My wife has been patiently awaiting the removal of the resonator from a dining room chair (It's a great storage place and no one sits there anyway!).

Well, I put the resonator on tonight and the banjo hurts my ears! It is so loud and crisp that it is unbelievable. I have a couple other Gariepys with resonators and they sound very good, but this one is different. It is a flat backed resonator that is turned on the inside and has no flange.

Gariepys are not appreciated enough, which is fine with me because I will continue to buy them! You got a great buy for $48. Keep it since they are greatly undervalued and are great players!
Tom in Maine

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