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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Help ID folk banjo (artist build or vintage?)

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jun3machina - Posted - 09/30/2019:  13:22:24

found this banjo and it was being ID as from 1920-30's. looks more modern to me, like a folk mashup of a carved minstrel fretless neck and then some luthier wood-loving on the pot inlays...i really like the hardware and found it interesting. the antler heel cap is probably my favorite part. need to swap that nut out though...

question: would any of these rather personal build elements be enough to trace this to a manufacturer? I am thinking its modern. It got me interested. would love to know any more if any details stand out.

csacwp - Posted - 09/30/2019:  13:53:17

This looks like a modern fantasy build to me. No idea who made it but it was likely an amateur luthier (in output, not skill). Looks like a one-off.

Bubbysaar - Posted - 09/30/2019:  13:56:32

I agree csacwp however it does look like a well made banjo. Has some really neat this and thats to it!

Alvin Conder - Posted - 09/30/2019:  14:13:08

I have seen this banjo for sale before. About 10 years ago.

If I recall correctly, it was attributed to being built by Luke Mercier, if I have the name correct in spelling.

He usually signs his work, so look inside closely.

That instrumentnis at most 15 years old.

rexhunt - Posted - 09/30/2019:  14:15:42

So how does it sound?


Ernest M - Posted - 09/30/2019:  15:29:11

It looks like nothing Luke Mercier is building today, and if he did, it was a long, long, long time ago.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 09/30/2019:  16:48:17

Earnest - I do have my doubts about that being a Luke Mercier banjo. That is why I used the word attributed.

Luke’s work, from the few instruments that I have seen, Is on a plane and a level all it’s own. A very high plane.

mikehalloran - Posted - 09/30/2019:  17:45:26

There's another thread on this banjo somewhere.

jun3machina - Posted - 09/30/2019:  18:47:15

If you can find it,that would be amazing! I'm oddly drawn to it.

jun3machina - Posted - 10/22/2019:  16:24:11

a lil bump to this thread. I have searched high and low through old threads, through Luke Mercier archives but so far nothing on this banjo.

jun3machina - Posted - 11/01/2019:  12:31:55

reached out to Ron Cook as he was suggested in anther thread, but nope. not his work. remains a mystery

luthier65 - Posted - 11/01/2019:  16:15:35

Have a look at Edsel Martin's dulcimers. The carving on the head reminds me strongly of his work.

JSB88 - Posted - 11/02/2019:  09:27:31

That is a lovely looking banjo.

jun3machina - Posted - 11/03/2019:  09:34:30


Originally posted by luthier65

Have a look at Edsel Martin's dulcimers. The carving on the head reminds me strongly of his work.

thanks! haven't been able to find any banjos similar.  i may try emailing him. i thought for sure it was mr. cook....

luthier65 - Posted - 11/03/2019:  09:48:24

Well, Edsel is dead, but they may well have e-mail where he is!

I'd be willing to bet Western NC or someone associsted with or learned from him. He mostly made dulcimers, but there are other instruments around as well by his hand with head carvings very similar to this one. It doesn't have his home made pegs, but those are new-ish violin/viola pegs, so they have probably been replaced.

jun3machina - Posted - 11/13/2019:  13:42:23

Oh my mistake! I didn't realize!

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