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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Advice wanted: OME Vintage Tenor Banjo

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:

Taters7 - Posted - 01/16/2022:  07:31:21

Hi y'all,

I'm in the market for a banjo and I stumbled across this gorgeous-sound vintage OME tenor banjo at the local guitar shop last night (they do not sell new banjos in person, but I didn't know that until I got there). I'm familiar with string instruments generally (I'm an experienced violin/fiddle player, and have played around some with electric bass and guitar) and I didn't see anything too wrong with it, but I'm pretty stumped by the pricetag.

Looking online, similar OME vintage tenor banjos* seem to go for double or triple the local asking price. I did notice a U or V-shaped crack on the back between the head and the neck, but it seems to have been repaired. No buzzing and the frets look like they've been replaced. Besides this, there are no external obvious flaws with the body of the instrument aside from a little green patina on the tailpiece, likely from the strings. The sound is phenomenal, but the pricetag gave me hesitation after looking it up online, where it seems to sell for 2-3 times the store's asking price. The store is not selling it online, also unusual.

In another era I would've thought I found a "deal"...but in the age of the internet, a quick google search from finding the value, it seems suspect to me. Does anyone have suggestions on what I should check for before I commit? The employees have little to no information about it last night, but said someone who was in today would be able to tell me more if I go back. (Sorry, I can't attach a photo right now because I'm too new.)

Edited by - Taters7 on 01/16/2022 07:41:55

Taters7 - Posted - 01/16/2022:  07:43:26

The system is letting me add photos now, so here it is:


leehar - Posted - 01/16/2022:  07:54:42

My guess would be the seller realizes that the broken neck is a large drawback to the value of the instrument. When a banjo neck breaks it always seems to be at the volute. If it is a clean break it can often be repaired quite successfully. Definitely has an impact on the instrument’s value however.

rcc56 - Posted - 01/16/2022:  09:01:53

A loose rule of thumb in pricing:

Repaired peghead breaks are generally considered to reduce the market value of an instrument by ~50%, compared to what one without a break would bring in otherwise similar condition.

That is the most likely reason for the seller's reduced price.

OME makes good instruments.

banjopaolo - Posted - 01/16/2022:  09:54:10

Ome are very fine instrument, some of the greatest four string players such as our dear Eddy Davis and Cynthia Sayer plays Ome banjos...

I suggest you to go in the store with a person you trust more expert in lutherie and let him check the damage....

beegee - Posted - 01/16/2022:  12:19:41

My first question: are you looking for a tenor?

mikehalloran - Posted - 01/16/2022:  12:30:07


Originally posted by beegee

My first question: are you looking for a tenor?

Which doesn't mean you should turn down a fine instrument at a great price when you find one.


pasdimo - Posted - 01/16/2022:  14:21:54

What price do they ask ?

banjopaolo - Posted - 01/16/2022:  14:47:26


Originally posted by beegee

My first question: are you looking for a tenor?

Funny question! Hilary said in her post that she is familiar to string instrument, plays violin guitar bass and so on... she is asking advices about a tenor banjo she wants to buy.... I guess she knows exactly what a tenor banjo is, you do not?

beegee - Posted - 01/16/2022:  21:42:58

She didn't say what she was looking. she may not be aware that that would make a great 5-string, especially if the price is right. If she is looking specifically for a tenor and is afraid of this because of previous damage, she may not want it. If I knew it was cheap, I wouldn't wonder why, I'd buy it and make a five from it.

banjopaolo - Posted - 01/16/2022:  23:44:17

Of course with a new neck it could be a perfect new tenor banjo as well.....

But you must consider to spend a certain budget to do the work for a new neck!

I think the advice asked was about the banjo on sale with its own neck!

‘Ome vintage TENOR banjo’ is the topic.... not ‘Ome vintage tenor banjo 5 string conversion’

pasdimo - Posted - 01/17/2022:  09:22:15

If it can help about value, a few years ago I bought a tenor Ome Juggernaut in perfect condition for $1500 and a plectrum juniper also in perfect condition for $ 700

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