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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Opinions invited about R J Ward & Sons Banjo Liverpool (1890?)


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/367756

liverpoolbanjo - Posted - 08/15/2020:  11:07:46


Dear Banjo experts

I've just subscribed here as have an old fretless 7 string banjo that I inherited many years ago but needs complete renovation. 2 tuning pegs are missing but it's body and skin seems intact. It's labelled R J Ward and Sons Liverpool - and having done a little reserach today, I assume (maybe wrongly?) that it's made around the end of the 1800's. It's not a brass one which seems to be very much their star instrument and as I'm sadly not from a line of wealthy family members, i assume it wasn't an expensive intrsument when it was made.

It's lived with me for 50 years having been given me by my grand father and was originally owned by HIS grandfather's, sister's lover ... who died under some sort of tragic circumstances.

I wondered if anyone here has any knoweldge of this intriguing instrument?

I'm not a great banjo player though many years ago strung it as a 4 string instrument and brought the thing to life for a while. Is it worth renovating, selling on or something for the skip?

Is anyone acquainted with something like this little chap?

With my very best wishes to you all
Richard


liverpoolbanjo - Posted - 08/15/2020:  11:13:05


Also a very neat ivory string holder


gentrixuk - Posted - 08/15/2020:  13:04:13


Hi Richard. Here's a link to the info for Ward on the vintage banjo makers site. It looks in reasonable condition but I've no idea of value - other members might have some thoughts, but don't throw it in a skip!



vintagebanjomaker.com/ward/4594323576


Edited by - gentrixuk on 08/15/2020 13:05:28

liverpoolbanjo - Posted - 08/15/2020:  14:43:46


Hi Mark

Thank you indeed for the info about the vintage banjo makers. Incidentally the instrument referenced on that site is absolutely stunning ... I will take a further look and totally take on board your recommendation. NOT for the skip then!
With warmest regards Richard

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 08/16/2020:  00:29:11


quote:

Originally posted by liverpoolbanjo

Hi Mark



Thank you indeed for the info about the vintage banjo makers. Incidentally the instrument referenced on that site is absolutely stunning ... I will take a further look and totally take on board your recommendation. NOT for the skip then!

With warmest regards Richard






Hello Richard. Nice old 7 string fretless Ward banjo. I would think it dates around 1890. Not much is known about these and some of the VBM site information is inaccurate. It would originally have been strung with gut strings. Most folks use nylon these days, available from Clifford Essex music.. I'm surprised the bone tailpiece has survived the steel strings, best remove those asp. It's possible Ward banjos were made by others and retailed by Ward. I have a couple of Ward banjos and they are nicely made instruments. Throwing banjos into skips is somewhat frowned upon these days. Some more detailed photos would be good.

liverpoolbanjo - Posted - 08/16/2020:  03:09:10


Apologies Stephen and Mark for my dreadful remark about "skips". My wife was also horrified when she read my initial note and said "I do hope people realise that's just your pathetic and tasteless sense of humour!"

So this would have been a gut stringed instrument and the "tailpiece" is bone. I will take the steel strings off (they were never pulled very tight) I tuned it to an octave below the top 4 strings of guitar tuning in order to experiment with whilst doing some recording many years ago.

Over the next couple of days I'll take some better photos. I guess the likelyhood of finding missing pegs is nigh on impossible?

Thanks for your help chaps ... I'll be back.

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 08/16/2020:  05:16:06


quote:

Originally posted by liverpoolbanjo

Apologies Stephen and Mark for my dreadful remark about "skips". My wife was also horrified when she read my initial note and said "I do hope people realise that's just your pathetic and tasteless sense of humour!"



So this would have been a gut stringed instrument and the "tailpiece" is bone. I will take the steel strings off (they were never pulled very tight) I tuned it to an octave below the top 4 strings of guitar tuning in order to experiment with whilst doing some recording many years ago.



Over the next couple of days I'll take some better photos. I guess the likelyhood of finding missing pegs is nigh on impossible?



Thanks for your help chaps ... I'll be back.






I think we both realised your jest Richard. The tailpiece could well be ivory hard to tell without better photos. I don't think the friction tuners were unique to the banjo so you may well be able to find a couple somewhere so its no big deal. Does the shorter one on the peghead fit the octave ? Given the family connection I'd be inclined to restore it to playing condition.

liverpoolbanjo - Posted - 08/16/2020:  06:18:51


Thanks Stephen ... interesting about the tailpiece.(Ivory or bone ... with a cheaper model might one suspect bone?) I'll organise some better photos and see if I can find some tuners. (Guess this site is the place to research and source all of this?) Yes - the shorter peg did originally act as the octave peg but it's slightly damaged and I didn't want to lose it, so forgot it was with the standard pegs. Many thanks for you help. Back soon.

Jarvie - Posted - 08/17/2020:  17:09:39


A replacement matching peg should be do-able, ( though not necessarily easy or quick) as these were sold for violin family instruments as well as banjos.

Check around at violin shops- they often seem to have "scrap barrels" of replaced pegs.

There are even three listings on eBay under violin peg inlayed (spelled incorrectly) for "similar" pegs, from China, set of four around twenty bucks more or less.

And under "Violin peg inlaid" (correct spelling) a group of six vintage pegs, buy it now for $20.) ebay.com/itm/6-Old-inlaid-Viol...wqIxd3XQc

These are a little rough, but perhaps could yield what you could use.

But similar are around!

In the mean time, a plain violin peg could be fitted.

Lovely instrument!

flatfootjohnny - Posted - 08/19/2020:  10:39:53


Looks like a great banjo and wont take much to get it playing again. Im about to start renovating a lyon and healy 7 string for a customer... still trying to work out the strings to use. Ill use aquila nylguts but not yet certain on the extra string guages. If you get new pegs they will definitely need shaping and possibly the holes on the headstock need gently reaming to match. If you need help or advice give me a shout... im Based in london and am specialising in early banjos.

liverpoolbanjo - Posted - 08/20/2020:  04:54:42


Hello John ... please forgive this tardy reply. I will indeed return again soon to my banjo. We are in the throes of moving house and studio which is how I rediscovered the old baby and having become very excited at the prospect of finding out how to restore her, I'm suddenly stuck in the serious business of packing (in Somerset) ... we don't move for 3 weeks but I will be back on this case very soon, once we're in recovery! Many thanks Best Richard

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