This is a special banjo, and definitely one-of-a-kind.
The neck on this Sullivan V35 came from one of the wooden maple uprights of a 1904 Wegman piano that Eric Sullivan salvaged. The uprights are old growth maple, with dense tight-grained wood that was probably 200+ years old in 1904 when the piano was made. Eric said that he spent many hours trying to take the old piano apart to retrieve the wooden uprights.
That old growth piano wood really adds something rich and incredible to the tone of the banjo. Eric and I were speculating that the vibration of being a part of the piano (that has been played for decades) must have also helped impact the tone of the wood.
This banjo sounds OLD.
Eric went for a vintage feel for this banjo. All of the metal is hand-brushed, with a vintage-looking stain as well as black Rickard "Cycline" 10:1 tuners that I added after I purchased the banjo.
The 3-ply rim is made from torrefied old growth factory floor maple, the tone ring is the Sullivan Vintage 35 ring, and the neck has a speed neck finish. So, both the neck and rim are made from old growth wood. Four 5th string spikes already installed on the neck. Setup was done by Mike Munford.
As many of you know, the Sullivan Vintage 35 tone ring was patterned after a 1930s flathead tone ring, which involved analysis and working with scientists and metallurgy experts.
I had a very hard time deciding whether to sell this banjo.
I also own this banjo's "twin," a custom Granada gold-plated block rim banjo that Eric made for me, that uses the other piano upright wood for its neck. So, there were only 2 banjos made from this 1904 piano wood.
Because I am moving overseas, I decided that I had to make the hard choice of only keeping one, and I kept the Granada because it was custom made for me.
I have a Scorpion bridge currently on it, but may keep that and put the original Sullivan bridge back on the banjo.