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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Dobson "Silver Bell" with 12-inch pot?

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Clifton Hicks - Posted - 03/15/2021:  07:42:49


Edited by - Clifton Hicks on 03/30/2021 15:57:22


csacwp - Posted - 03/15/2021:  08:37:28

Looks like a budget jobber banjo (Buckbee) that someone added a Silver Bell tone ring to.

Bob Smakula - Posted - 03/15/2021:  08:48:23

It would be interesting to look at this banjo in person, as I have never seen a 12" diameter original Dobson Silver Bell banjo. Every one I have seen has been 11" diameter or smaller. My first reaction is the same as John's; An added tonering to a Buckbee. But I always say the only thing consistent with vintage banjos is the inconsistency.

Are there any markings on the dowelstick or stamp on the tonering? As Buckbee made most Dobson branded banjos, it is generally accepted that for a banjo to be a "Dobson", it needs to be stamped as such from the factory.

A cool curiosity and I look forward to more details.

Bob Smakula

Edited by - Bob Smakula on 03/15/2021 08:49:34

Clifton Hicks - Posted - 03/15/2021:  11:15:59

John, Bob: 

Thanks for your responses. I didn't know what to make of this one. It has no markings at all, and is clearly some kind of Buckbee product. I also noticed that the peghead is not angled back as steeply as most Dobsons I've seen. And I see now that the tone ring is newer than the rest of the banjo, and has a sharp inner edge that I've not seen on other examples. Whoever added it was lucky, because it fits onto the spun-over rim perfectly. 

Here's the video I filmed of it the other day:

Bob Smakula - Posted - 03/15/2021:  12:16:27

Looking at the heel profile I get a Brooks Masten vibe. Maybe one of his necks on a vintage rim and made long before he started inlaying Brooks Banjo coins in the peghead.

Just a guess.

Bob Smakula

JollyRogers - Posted - 03/28/2021:  16:30:16

Well I got this banjo. Definitely was pretty disappointed when I got to see it in person. The neck matches my friends buckbee to the T (- the JHB stamp on his), but this one was not mounted well to the pot, the dowel was probably replaced to make it to the other end of the 12” pot, and I believe a portion of the heel was cut off as it is missing most of the notch compared to my friends JHB. The neck is in good shape otherwise, and the thing is playable. The pot is a 40 bracket 12”, of buckbee build, but for what I am not sure, was it a Buckbee or made for Pollmann, or Geo Dobson, ? The rickard tone ring fits the rim, except the tension hoop sat too proud, so someone filed it down (roughly) to make it match up with the fretboard.

I am having the tension hoop cleaned up, and the neck reset, and guess since it’s been hacked on to add the rickard tone ring, just leave it in there. That way if I sell it, at least it will hopefully be right, and I can describe it for what it seems to be. It is unique in some senses, and doesn’t sound bad, played 2 finger. But I don’t think it is worth what I paid for it, and the return option given was not going to work, and the banjo was delivered, so PP dispute was a waste of time. Hard lesson learned.


JollyRogers - Posted - 03/28/2021:  16:36:05

Picture of the heel added due to 3 photo limit.

Not a Dobson a “Silver Bell”.


JollyRogers - Posted - 05/17/2021:  04:39:58

This banjo is lost or stolen in USPS. A claim has been filed. It has been “in Allentown, PA” since 03Apr. If anyone sees it pop up for sale somewhere, please let me know.

JollyRogers - Posted - 05/19/2021:  07:56:11


Originally posted by JollyRogers

This banjo is lost or stolen in USPS. A claim has been filed. It has been “in Allentown, PA” since 03Apr. If anyone sees it pop up for sale somewhere, please let me know.

Update to add that the banjo mysteriously just showed up at my PO, after 7 weeks. So much for priority shipping.

jun3machina - Posted - 05/19/2021:  09:13:11

The mail has been delayed on almost everything ive bought this year. I waited nearly 2 months for an international package and almost thought i would never see it. Something that was a 2 hour drive from me took nearly a week. Glad it showed up

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