I have several banjos; fretless, open back, bluegrass, but I didn't have a long neck. I started looking around for one and in no time found a Martin/Vega on E-Bay. I jumped in at $1,000CDN and went up to $1,200CDN but it finally went for $1,800US, which by my research seemed a pretty good deal. It looked to be in great condition except for the clear plastic head - ugh. The next one that came up was a German Framus. I think he was asking $400US or best offer. I jumped in with a $200US offer and a story that my best banjo cost me $200CDN with hard case. He came back with $250 and I agreed with $70 shipping. All the photos showed excellent condition. It arrived in less that 2 weeks and I anxiously unwrapped it from mounds of bubble wrap an styrofoam peanuts. When I sat it up on a chair I noticed something odd near the cover for the truss rod on the peg head. Oooops. The peg head was leaning back and half broken off. I took photos and contacted the vendor. I also sent photos to a guitar maker friend for an estimate to repair. In no time the vendor came back and said it was definitely due to shipping. The box was a bit too short and if there was pressure at the end of the box, like dropping it with the peg head aiming to the ground, the weight of the thing would pop the peg head. He gave me a full refund including shipping and said "keep it". So I did. and I took it upon myself to simply glue the peg head back into place. Now I'm waiting for some new strings.
That's a shame. My first banjo was a Framus long neck, I played that thing for years. Fortunately, the break looks like the string tension would work with the break, rather than against it, so fingers crossed for ya!
Had a Framus, standard length. Neck would move at random, so I got annoyed enough to make my own neck and body. Those FRAMUS tone rings make for a LOUD banjo! Made my peghead HAND shaped, because, hey, it's hand-made.
Despite the snobbish remarks some folks make about them Framuses, they are amazing sounding banjos. What the seller did, giving you a full refund AND letting you keep the banjo, that was hugely extra-ordinary!
He/she deserves to get a review as a straight-up awesome fellow banjoey AND deserves to get you to repay him the agreed-to purchase amount, less the fair cost of repair, for that banjo. I sure hope you will consider doing that for him/her.
Thanks for all your comments. I glued up the peg head and it is in the right place now and looking good. I used some filler on the few spots that lost wood, sanded and applied some finish. For some reason lots of these banjos lost the Framus lettering on the peg head. Maybe it was gold leaf. I just rubbed some gold paint on it. Then I put on some medium gauge strings. The tailpiece wants ball end string and I got loop end so I just put a short piece of heavy wire bent in the loop and it worked.
Here's what it sounds like. I should have practised a bit more in the open E tuning,. I didn't know where I was.
Now I need a case. I saw some posts here about making one. My first banjo which I got in the 70's was found in a house my Dad bought. It had a patent date of 1892 and had a case with a flip up lid at the end and the banjo slid in. I think I'll build one like that. Someone here mention flexible plywood. I did find something like that at my local lumber yard. They call it Lauan Plywood. That can be used for the sides.