Hi folks, I was just put in touch with a relative of Elmer Edwards. She has a few of his 5-string resonator banjos in excellent to mint condition. She is considering putting them back into circulation, but is not sure about the market value. I am just trying to give her a hand. Anyone know anything about Mr. Edwards banjos?
I've never owned one of his banjos, but I've taken a few trips to Elmer's shop in Tyro, NC several times. This would have been between 2002-2006.
I got to play many of the banjos he had either just completed or had completed previously and were still available. Tone-wise, they are all very consistent: loud and a very nice "crack" to them, excellent note separation. Elmer is a master craftsman and all the woodwork, inlays, and assembly he does is top notch. He did all the mother-of-pearl, bone, and abalone cutting in-house if I remember correctly, in addition to the various woodworking. Even builds his own bridges. Every Edwards banjo I picked was easy to play, even for a (at the time) novice like me.
Value-wise, I'm not sure I would be of much help. Best guess would be around $3000 for a base model, and upwards as the banjo components get fancier. I also remember Elmer saying he put about 300 hours of work into one of his less complicated models and 400 into his most elaborate.
There are a few other videos of him speaking and playing out there as well.
Not a problem; it's not precise info but just the stuff I remember from back in the day. I do remember how responsive those banjos were. At the time, definitely a $5k banjo, especially considering the amount of time and detail Elmer put into them.
I met Mr Edwards at his home/shop in 2006 when I was traveling in NC. Got to pick one of his banjos. He was a very pleasant gentleman. I was impressed with the craftsmanship and tone of his banjos. Do not recall the price.