Hi, greetings all, new member. I'm cleaning up a thrift store Banjo, Hondo 2 75A. I paid $95, it just needs new strings and cleaning. Doesn't appear to have much use, as frets are in good shape. I know from reading other post that most Hondos are not well thought of, but would just like some background on this one. Years made and where. Thanks for your feedback. Dwight in Miami.
Welcome to the hangout Dwight. I have a friend that owns a Hondo. I don't have a clue the model number or when it was made. It had a thin, wooden, multi-ply pot. In most banjo circles, it would not have been thought of very highly but it was good enough and well made enough and playable enough that my friend used it to learn and become a very good banjo player.
If yours is an aluminum rim Hondo with a fluted integral flange, one that is referred to as a "bottlecap" because of the looks of the rim, it could have some promise as an entry level banjo that could take someone a long way in their banjo career if it is set up properly and is in playing condition. More than likely, what you have is not worth much more than what you paid for it but what you make of it will be entirely up to you. If you are interested in learning to play, it could very well be all you need to get you started in your picking career.
Hondo imported some real junk, and some better quality junk. The better quality is equivalent to other lower intermediate banjos of the same era. I had a Hondo 2 which was OK, sort of. It had a laminated neck (7 ply), two-piece flange and the neck heel was rounded, not flat. It had a weird coordinator rod setup, with a very fat lag bolt pinned into the neck and attached to a really skinny, sort of wasp waist rod. It also had a delaminated mulltiply rim and a genuine die-cast zinc tone ring. It also had Brazilian Rosewood resonator laminate with a weird hyperbolic back shape rather than spherical. It was pretty, but weird.
I don't remember the model number but it had tag on the back of the peghead. It actually was a Frankenbanjo with a Aria archtop ring and rim so I can't comment of the sound of the original setup. Based on the parts used it probably wasn't great. With the Aria pot, which is pretty good, it was OK, sort of.
I have never heard a positive comment about a Hondo banjo, in fact my "OK, sort of" is probably the best posted on the BHO by anyone.
Thanks for your replies. O.K. It is a bottlecap. It also has the same rod setup described by Gerry. I learned to do a little picking on my brothers Banjo in the 70s, it too was an import, so I guess I'm right back where I started. I'm more of a collector than a player, mostley Guitars, if the past is a predictor of my future, i'll be adding more banjos to my collection. Thanks again, Dwight.