my grandpa gave me a banjo he had bought in the seventies and never played, and i was wondering what exactly it was, and if it was a high end banjo or not. i absolutely love playing it and am working on man of constant sorrow right now. It has 18 brackets, which is a little wierd, and saids "Peerless supervised by Iida" on it. i couldn't find anything about it so i decided to try here.
I'm sorry to say its not a high end banjo BUT the main thing is it was a gift from your Grandfather, your playing it and enjoing it, and thats what the banjo is all about. Peerless was a entry level model made for Iida. I dont really know much about Peerless itsself but Iida's have been around since the 1970's and made some decent banjos in thier price range being a Asian import. I believe Iida's were/are made in Japan but Peerless was more than likely made by a subcontractor which could put its origin in Korea or China. There are some Hangout members that know MUCH more about these Asian banjos than I do, The first that comes to mind is "Beegee" and "desert rose" They might be able to help you with anything else you may want to know. It looks to be perfectly playable so enjoy it and welcome to the Banjo Hangout.
Your banjo is one of countless mass-produced, entry-level budget banjos. Iida(pronounced Eee-da)was a major Japanese exporter of musical instruments but didn't necessarily manufacture everything with its name on it. According to the trademark registry, the Iida name expired and was not renewed. There are lots of banjos labeled iida and Aida, often mistakenly referred to as "Lida" and "Jida" because of the stylized logo. Goodwill has one for sale here: shopgoodwill.com/auctions/IIda....html#des
and I found several others on craigslist and elsewhere. Value <$100. The "grandpa factor" is the most valuable feature of your banjo.
If you contract to buy a bunch of Asian banjos, you can get any label you want on them.
Bob, I'm glad you posted that link to the Goodwill banjo. If folks think bidders on Ebay get crazy, they need to check out the ones on shopgoodwill.com. I think they are the nuttiest bidders ever. I've seen this kind of bidding frenzy at local auctions. There is a "bottle cap" nameless banjo on there now that, at present, has 39 bidders and a bid price of $190 plus shipping. And it is used! Similar new ones are available for direct purchase on Ebay for a lot less on a daily basis. If I could get bidders like them, I might consider selling off some of mine. Here is the link: shopgoodwill.com/viewItem.asp?...D=7212050 Bob Moore
since it is not some priceless work of art, should i try to put some nice inlay on the fret board? the stain on the fretboard is also wearing through, should i re-stain and shelack it or leave it alone? if so, what would you recomend?