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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Martin banjolin... i think.. what do i have here?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/359765

Bubbysaar - Posted - 12/23/2019:  18:12:31


Hey guys!! I've got a weird one for you today. so i came across this little guy today. Appears to be a banjolin... But am considering the fact that it may be one of those Brazilian jobbers. Not sure what they're called exactly. But im looking for some more info on this guy. there is a label inside that says Martin Co. Nazareth Pa May 1899. Im kind of doubtful that its a martin. TO my knowledge i dont think martin made these. but i could be wrong.

Forgive me im not sure how to upload photos to this so if they dont show up on here they're on my profile at the bottom...





 

Blue20Boy17 - Posted - 12/23/2019:  18:43:17


That's the most interesting pot assembly I've ever seen

rcc56 - Posted - 12/23/2019:  18:49:44


Except for the period during which Martin owned Vega during the 1970's, the only banjos made by Martin were tenors. They made 96 of them between 1923 and 1926. They looked somewhat similar to some of the plainer Vega banjos from the same period.

The instrument you have pictured does not appear to have any construction or design characteristics of any Martin product. To me, it looks like a European product.

mirwin - Posted - 12/23/2019:  20:02:22


My guess is that it's tuned and played like a mandolin rather than a banjo. Someone on the Mandolin Cafe might be able to identify it.


Edited by - mirwin on 12/23/2019 20:12:34

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 12/23/2019:  20:08:02


If that's a C.F Martin product, I'll eat a 55 gallon barrel of mayonaise, and just the smell of mayonaise makes me sick. If it was made in 1899, I'll eat twelve pounds of bell peppers, which also make me sick.

The zero fret doesn't indicate Pennsylvania. I'd guess maybe Transylvania.

The tone will probably cause you to grind your teeth together into sharp points, and you can then bite all the necks you want to.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 12/23/2019:  20:40:17


I have seen a number of these before, in fact I have a smaller version that’s abandoned in my basement somewhere.

It’s from the 30’s. I’ve been told it was made in France or Italy. I would lean towards Italy for yours as I was given a CD some years back of all things, 1930’s Italian Banjo virtuosos. Some of the music on that CD was quite impressive. Photos in the little book that was included showed a number of super suave soloists and Banjo ensembles were the musicians played these things and larger 4 string versions.

Similar instruments always turn up on eBay toted as “rare” and sit for months with zero bids.

But to the point, not Martin made on any level at all. I cannot even imagine why that label is in it or where it came from. One of those musical instrument mysteries.

AndrewD - Posted - 12/24/2019:  03:53:30


Mandolin banjos with that "zither banjo" like head construction are most often English. But this one, with that pierced flange and small head does look to me more French or Italian. The vintage Martin label, if original, is probably worth more than the banjo.

Bob Smakula - Posted - 12/24/2019:  05:29:21


Reminds me of a West Virginia musical instrument dealer that would cut out brand names, like Martin & Gibson, from string wrappers and glue those logos on to peg heads of guitars and banjos. If you went into his shop, he would offer you a great buy on a "brand name instrument".

Bob Smakula

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 12/24/2019:  06:01:27


quote:

Originally posted by Bob Smakula

Reminds me of a West Virginia musical instrument dealer that would cut out brand names, like Martin & Gibson, from string wrappers and glue those logos on to peg heads of guitars and banjos. If you went into his shop, he would offer you a great buy on a "brand name instrument".



Bob Smakula






That sort of behavior has never been limited to banjos and guitars. I've seen many a cheap piano with 3D letters epoxied onto their metal insides that read "Steinway." Decals have also been added to make them even more "authentic."  



I've also read that in  the collector car market, parts are sometimes added to a plain Jane model to turn it into a muscle car, and that there are now more Model A Fords with sidemount spare tires than ever left the factory with them.

rcc56 - Posted - 12/24/2019:  08:06:12


Martin did not use paper labels except for some early New York instruments and modern instruments made after 1980.

Blue20Boy17 - Posted - 12/24/2019:  14:11:47


quote:

Originally posted by Bob Smakula

Reminds me of a West Virginia musical instrument dealer that would cut out brand names, like Martin & Gibson, from string wrappers and glue those logos on to peg heads of guitars and banjos. If you went into his shop, he would offer you a great buy on a "brand name instrument".



Bob Smakula






I am from the Glenville area, and play with a lot of people from the Calhoun, Roane, and Wirt areas. Email me the name of the guy who done that with the labels, because I may know of him ??

Bob Smakula - Posted - 12/25/2019:  08:02:16


The culprit’s music shop has been closed for about 20 years and I believe he has been dead for about 18 years, so no chance of you and your friends being coned by him directly.

We should meet at the West Virginia State Folk Festival in June to talk about this guy and other shady characters that have popped up in the old time and bluegrass music worlds. We should have a couple of Lions Club corn dogs and a Zule’s Frozen lemonade to lubricate our conversation. I’m buying!

Bob Smakula

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