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 17-fret Open-back Tenor Banjo. Photos. Slingerland (?) 1920s/1930s (?)

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Old John

United States
2 posts
since 6/11/17

06/19/2017 07:18:29 View Old John's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Hi everybody. I'm new to the Banjo Hangout boards. Thought I would post this most-basic 17 fret, open back tenor banjo for anyone who might follow in the future. I've posted a good collection of photos at: http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/photos.asp?id=117604

This is a no-name, unbranded instrument. Casual investigation suggests that it might be a Slingerland-produced instrument. 1920s? 1930s? The body/pot is a single piece of maple, 5/8" thick, shaped to a 10 3/4" outside diameter. No contrasting wood 'cap' or other ornamentation on the body/pot. 20 J-hook tensioners, stubby little no-name tailpiece, Remo Weather King banjo head, Rolled steel rod tone ring. Grover non-tip bridge. Wooden nut. The neck, as well, is a single piece of maple (no contrasting wood laminations). Contrasting dark wood neck heel cap. Simple, round fret markers at 5, 7, 10 ,12 frets. Tuning head has a thin, black bakelite (?) veneer w/ a pearloid star inlay. Friction tuners were replaced by previous owner. Seller furnished a polybag containing, what he believed to be, the original Champion tuners (w/ creme-color buttons). So lucky to have found a fully-intact instrument such as this!

Overall instrument length is 30". Distance from nut to 12th fret is 10 3/8" (20 3/4" scale length in theory). The banjo is tuned to 'Chicago' tuning (EBGD high to low). I've got intonation set to *my* ear at approx. 21 1/16" scale length. The plan is to use this little banjo to add strummed and arpeggiated chords to home recordings of old-time/folk/mountain/gospel tunes. Let the fun begin!



Vintage (1920s? 1930s?) unbranded 17-fret, open back, short scale tenor banjo.


Vintage (1920s? 1930s?) unbranded 17-fret, short scale, open back tenor banjo.

Fathand

Canada
10012 posts since 2/7/08

06/19/2017 08:07:15View Fathand's MP3 Archive View Fathand's Photo Albums View Fathand's Blog Reply with Quote

Sure looks like a Slingerland to me, the birdseye maple rim is a dead giveaway.. I rejuvenated 2 of them. They typically come with a different tailpiece and were designed to be tuned CGDA. You may find some of your string somewhat loose in Chicago tuning.


Edited by - Fathand on 06/19/2017 08:08:56

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banjoracle

United States
131 posts since 10/2/11

06/19/2017 08:09:09 View banjoracle's Classified Ads View banjoracle's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Welcome John! You, indeed, have a Slingerland banjo. You can mostly tell by the peghead design. I have one just like it. Mine was missing the steel tone hoop so I made a brass hoop. I really enjoy the tone of mine, especially with a small sponge placed between the dowel stick and head at the neck end of the pot.

Enjoy your banjo,
Jeff

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G Edward Porgie

United States
3506 posts since 8/28/13

06/19/2017 18:32:53 Reply with Quote

Definitely a Slingerland product. I agree with Rick that the tuning you're using (commonly referred to as "Chicago") is not optimum for that short scale length.

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G Edward Porgie

United States
3506 posts since 8/28/13

06/20/2017 12:15:21 Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Old John
 

Hi everybody. I'm new to the Banjo Hangout boards. Thought I would post this most-basic 17 fret, open back tenor banjo for anyone who might follow in the future. I've posted a good collection of photos at: http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/photos.asp?id=117604

This is a no-name, unbranded instrument. Casual investigation suggests that it might be a Slingerland-produced instrument. 1920s? 1930s? The body/pot is a single piece of maple, 5/8" thick, shaped to a 10 3/4" outside diameter. No contrasting wood 'cap' or other ornamentation on the body/pot. 20 J-hook tensioners, stubby little no-name tailpiece, Remo Weather King banjo head, Rolled steel rod tone ring. Grover non-tip bridge. Wooden nut. The neck, as well, is a single piece of maple (no contrasting wood laminations). Contrasting dark wood neck heel cap. Simple, round fret markers at 5, 7, 10 ,12 frets. Tuning head has a thin, black bakelite (?) veneer w/ a pearloid star inlay. Friction tuners were replaced by previous owner. Seller furnished a polybag containing, what he believed to be, the original Champion tuners (w/ creme-color buttons). So lucky to have found a fully-intact instrument such as this!

Overall instrument length is 30". Distance from nut to 12th fret is 10 3/8" (20 3/4" scale length in theory). The banjo is tuned to 'Chicago' tuning (EBGD high to low). I've got intonation set to *my* ear at approx. 21 1/16" scale length. The plan is to use this little banjo to add strummed and arpeggiated chords to home recordings of old-time/folk/mountain/gospel tunes. Let the fun begin!


Just noticed you said it's about a 20 3/4" inch scale, but that you've set the intonation with a 21 1/16" scale. If it measures about 10 3/8" to the twelfth fret, that's where you need to set the octave intonation. If you set it elsewhere, you'll never be playing in tune; all your frets will sound slightly off pitch.

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Old John

United States
2 posts since 6/11/17

06/20/2017 13:41:14 View Old John's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie
 
 

Just noticed you said it's about a 20 3/4" inch scale, but that you've set the intonation with a 21 1/16" scale. If it measures about 10 3/8" to the twelfth fret, that's where you need to set the octave intonation. If you set it elsewhere, you'll never be playing in tune; all your frets will sound slightly off pitch.


Right you are, George. Lots was going on, simultaneously, when I suggested the longer scale length: new strings, many adjustments to banjo head tension, messing with tempermental friction pegs. PLUS the banjo had not been in playable tension for years. So now, a couple of days along, the bridge is at 20 3/4" from nut. The instrument seems to be pretty settled down (tuning-wise). Life is good. -- John

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