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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: I'm back among the Whyte Laydie No 7 custodians


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/374289

The Old Timer - Posted - 04/12/2021:  10:43:48


Fortune has been good to me. I owned a 1916 Whyte Laydie No 7 back in the 1990s, and I sold it to a friend who just HAD to have it and paid accordingly.

Now that I'm comfortably retired I'm upgrading my banjo stock via good trade-ins. Just received a lovely 1912 Whyte Laydie No 7 from Bernunzio in Rochester NY. Sweet. Once again learning that a 1/2" bridge will work fine if you let yourself get used to it!

Here's your eye candy.


Emiel - Posted - 04/12/2021:  10:54:39


Wonderful banjo! 1/2" bridge is fine, will give you the right action on a banjo like this.

Culloden - Posted - 04/12/2021:  11:04:35


Beautiful banjo, Dick. Great score.
It's interesting to see the Kershner tailpiece on this one. People did not seem to be as obsessive about No Knot tailpieces in the old days as they are now. I also notice that I don't see frailing scoops on old banjos either.

Emiel - Posted - 04/12/2021:  11:07:46


quote:

Originally posted by Culloden

Beautiful banjo, Dick. Great score.

It's interesting to see the Kershner tailpiece on this one. People did not seem to be as obsessive about No Knot tailpieces in the old days as they are now. I also notice that I don't see frailing scoops on old banjos either.






Exactly. The Kershner tailpiece, originally designed for gut strings, was used on the more expensive models.

rcc56 - Posted - 04/12/2021:  12:04:36


Congratulations. May it bring you many years of pleasure.

One of these days, people are going to figure out how good these old F/V banjos are, and you won't be able to find them anymore.

The Old Timer - Posted - 04/12/2021:  12:11:05


Mark, for fulll transparency, the banjo arrived with an original No Knot (not cammed) tailpiece. The 1916 I had came with an original Kerschner. I prefer the Kerschner. The one in the photo is a Prucha repro from Greg Boyd's shop in Montana -- I put it on with a new set of strings.

Frailing scoop??!?!? Heavens to Murgatroyd, no!!!

Thanks for the nice comments.

Eric A - Posted - 04/12/2021:  12:13:16


Back then, I think the No-Knot was the cheapy and most anything else was considered an upgrade. Still true today, IMO.

35planar - Posted - 04/12/2021:  13:53:59


Congrats! I looked at the photos of that banjo a dozen times over the past month--window shopping only of course. ...definitely the quintessential Whyte Laydie!

hbick2 - Posted - 04/12/2021:  14:31:18


I decided to look back at some old catalogues to see which tailpiece came with the Whyte Laydie and Tubaphone Banjos. Here's what I found:



1906 Fairbanks Catalogue

Whyte Laydie No. 2 No Knot

Whyte Laydie No. 7 No Knot



1912 Vega Catalogue

Whyte Laydie No. 2 No Knot

Whyte Laydie No. 7 Sure Grip



Tubaphone No. 3 Sure Grip

Tubaphone No. 9 Sure Grip

Tubaphone Deluxe Combination Sure Grip and Unique



1923 Vega Catalogue



Whyte Laydie No. 2 Sure Grip

Whyte Laydie No. 7 Sure Grip



Tubaphone No. 3 Sure Grip

Tubaphone No. 9 Kershner Unique

Tubaphone Deluxe Kershner Unique



I'm pretty sure that the Sure Grip is what we call the Cammed No Knot. I have a 1923 Tubaphone No. 3 that was virtually unplayed when I got it. It has the Cammed No Knot. Over the years, every No. 3 from that era that I have seen has a Cammed No Knot.

 

arnie fleischer - Posted - 04/12/2021:  14:50:58


Congratulations, Dick! One of the most elegant banjos ever made.

BanjoLink - Posted - 04/12/2021:  15:56:02


quote:

Originally posted by The Old Timer

Fortune has been good to me. I owned a 1916 Whyte Laydie No 7 back in the 1990s, and I sold it to a friend who just HAD to have it and paid accordingly.



Now that I'm comfortably retired I'm upgrading my banjo stock via good trade-ins. Just received a lovely 1912 Whyte Laydie No 7 from Bernunzio in Rochester NY. Sweet. Once again learning that a 1/2" bridge will work fine if you let yourself get used to it!



Here's your eye candy.






Years ago when I used to stop by and see Harry West regularly in Granite Quarry, NC, he had two beautiful #7s.  He had an older one (pre-fire, I guess) and a newer one (which I actually liked better).  I think he always put a price on them in his price list that he sent out, but he would never sell them.  I guess someone finally wound up with them, but I don't know who.

Andy FitzGibbon - Posted - 04/12/2021:  16:51:44


quote:

Originally posted by hbick2

I decided to look back at some old catalogues to see which tailpiece came with the Whyte Laydie and Tubaphone Banjos. Here's what I found:



1906 Fairbanks Catalogue

Whyte Laydie No. 2 No Knot

Whyte Laydie No. 7 No Knot



1912 Vega Catalogue

Whyte Laydie No. 2 No Knot

Whyte Laydie No. 7 Sure Grip



Tubaphone No. 3 Sure Grip

Tubaphone No. 9 Sure Grip

Tubaphone Deluxe Combination Sure Grip and Unique



1923 Vega Catalogue



Whyte Laydie No. 2 Sure Grip

Whyte Laydie No. 7 Sure Grip



Tubaphone No. 3 Sure Grip

Tubaphone No. 9 Kershner Unique

Tubaphone Deluxe Kershner Unique



I'm pretty sure that the Sure Grip is what we call the Cammed No Knot. I have a 1923 Tubaphone No. 3 that was virtually unplayed when I got it. It has the Cammed No Knot. Over the years, every No. 3 from that era that I have seen has a Cammed No Knot.

 






You are correct, Harry. "Sure Grip" was the trade name for the cammed tail piece. 



The "Combination Sure Grip and Unique" was just that... a Kershner with cams to anchor the strings. Some of those were just standard Kershner tailpieces with the string posts removed and a cammed tailpiece silver brazed on. Others (later?) were more professionally manufactured.

The Old Timer - Posted - 04/12/2021:  18:25:41


My 1916 had the cammed Kershner! "Sure Grip and Unique"!

Thanks!

talljoey - Posted - 04/12/2021:  23:32:04


That sure is a lovely banjo.

The Old Timer - Posted - 04/12/2021:  23:46:23


John B the first time I shopped for a No 7 I called Harry about the ones in his price list. He told me I shouldn't buy them!

vega nut - Posted - 04/13/2021:  04:06:00


I am a Kershner type tailpiece fan. The two adjustment screws which control the sideways position and keep the bridge centered in relation to the fretboard are unbeatable. I use them on my best old Vega's. I buy the repros from Bob Smakula. They're reasonably priced and work/sound great.

BanjoLink - Posted - 04/13/2021:  05:27:55


quote:

Originally posted by The Old Timer

John B the first time I shopped for a No 7 I called Harry about the ones in his price list. He told me I shouldn't buy them!






That's funny!  At the time I think Harry was asking about $5000 each and several times I went in with the money in my pocket, but he would not let go of them.  I did wind up buying his personal F-4 mandolin which I still own.  He also had two Martin 000-45s, but at the time everyone was looking for D models so they just sat there.  I should have bought one (or both) of them.

The Old Timer - Posted - 04/13/2021:  07:26:30


Talking to Harry was an exhausting experience.

esmic - Posted - 04/13/2021:  08:16:50


Very nice banjo Dick. Congrats.

.......................................



In a phone conversation with luthier Doug Unger a few years ago, he mentioned having visitors that week, including a woman with an early WL7 recently purchased from Harry West. If he gave me her name, I don't recall it.

..................................................................................................................................................................



I have a 1909 Tubaphone No 3, ( professional, 12" nominal rim), bought off ebay about 20 years ago. It came with an unlabelled Kershner tpce, which I thought was an aftermarket No-Knot substitute. A few years later, its litter-mate, the identical banjo, bearing the next serial number, appeared on ebay. It too had a Kershner. Consecutive banjos with the same aftermarket substitute ? Or both factory?


Edited by - esmic on 04/13/2021 08:17:25

BanjoLink - Posted - 04/13/2021:  20:48:07


quote:

Originally posted by The Old Timer

Talking to Harry was an exhausting experience.






You got that right.  Harry kind of talked in "code", much of which I could not decipher!



I don't know if you ever saw Harry's collection of custom F-5's by different makers.  He wanted different colors and if I remember correctly he had a John Paganoni bright green model ...... probably had to twist John's arm to use that color.


Edited by - BanjoLink on 04/13/2021 20:51:05

stever1422 - Posted - 04/15/2021:  06:44:40


My grandfather purchased a new Tubaphone #3 Plectrum in 1920 or 1921. I believe that it came with a Kershner Unique five string tailpiece, which was still on the banjo when he gave it to me in the 1960s. I borrowed that tailpiece decades ago for my five string #3. It is the perfect tailpiece for the five string- the mass helps give the instrument the bright, clear sound that is just right for me.

And when I restored my grandfather's banjo several years ago I found a Kershner Unique four string tailpiece for it. Here is a picture of these Tubaphone beauties-



 

Joel Hooks - Posted - 04/15/2021:  07:56:12


quote:

Originally posted by stever1422

My grandfather purchased a new Tubaphone #3 Plectrum in 1920 or 1921. I believe that it came with a Kershner Unique five string tailpiece, which was still on the banjo when he gave it to me in the 1960s. I borrowed that tailpiece decades ago for my five string #3. It is the perfect tailpiece for the five string- the mass helps give the instrument the bright, clear sound that is just right for me.



And when I restored my grandfather's banjo several years ago I found a Kershner Unique four string tailpiece for it. Here is a picture of these Tubaphone beauties-






I've not seen a fingerboard like that on the right.  Did the original fall apart requiring that mod?



 

stever1422 - Posted - 04/15/2021:  09:07:36


The banjo on the right has brass overlays between the frets. Makes it fretless without pulling out the frets.

Has preserved the fingerboard nicely over the years too.

Ira Gitlin - Posted - 04/16/2021:  07:43:07


quote:

Originally posted by stever1422

The banjo on the right has brass overlays between the frets. Makes it fretless without pulling out the frets.



Has preserved the fingerboard nicely over the years too.






Was that a commercially made aftermarket addition, or a homemade mod?



 

stever1422 - Posted - 04/19/2021:  06:55:06


They were custom cut for the banjo back in the 1970s. Have held up very nicely over the years.

PrairieSchooner - Posted - 04/19/2021:  08:32:15


How are they attached?

stever1422 - Posted - 04/26/2021:  08:56:27


quote:

Originally posted by PrairieSchooner

How are they attached?






Sorry for delay-



 



the brass plates are held in place by small dots of 5 minute epoxy in the four corners. A few have come off over the years and it is easy to reattach. And the glue scrapes off the ebony easily so no harm to the fingerboard.

Jim Bollman - Posted - 04/26/2021:  12:50:43


I never met Harry West but did correspond with him occasionally on various banjo matters ( never was able to buy anything from him ). Decades ago I had a friend who lived close to me in rural eastern Pa. named Bill Gibson. He was a fine craftsman, did some work on the Vega V-45s for Mike Longworth ( another good friend of mine , R.I.P.). Bill built several interesting double strung banjos ( probably 10 string instruments if my spotty memory from the 1960s serves ). Anyway Harry had loaned Bill what I remember as a late flowerpot No. 7 W.L. Bill had the banjo for years and years but eventually Harry wanted it back. Bill told me that Harry had several No.7s and didn't miss it for that long term loan. I guess Harry eventually decided to ask for it to be returned to cash it out.

The Old Timer - Posted - 04/26/2021:  15:20:39


Thanks Jim B. From my brief interaction with Harry, it's almost impossible to imagine him cashing them out!

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