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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Pirles 4 string 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: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/383020

shellyc2267 - Posted - 05/05/2022:  16:38:19

I just purchased my first banjo and am trying to find out some information on it.

The headstock has a gold tone emblem "Pirles" and it appears to be nailed on. Also on the headstock is a silver tone piece stating STEEL REINFORCED NECK which also appears to be nailed on. On the back side of the headstock is a sticker MADE BY IIDA.

There are 20 frets and the neck measures 16".

There are 20 bands on an aluminum drum (not sure if that is the correct term). The rear side of the body is a red sunburst. The instrument seems heavy, but I've never held a banjo in my life.

It came in a hard shell case with blue interior.

Any insight is greatly appreciated.


DSmoke - Posted - 05/05/2022:  18:07:53

Pictures are posted on the OP's media page. I will let others with more experience with that particular banjos give more information. If you can add your pictures as an attachment to this post it would be helpful. It's not the easiest forum to navigate, but it's definitely the best when it comes to banjos.

shellyc2267 - Posted - 05/05/2022:  18:11:28

@DSmoke thank you for your reply. I am very computer literate but cannot figure out how to add photos as attachments.

banjonz - Posted - 05/05/2022:  18:17:08

Looks early Japanese make. Entry level plectrum.

mike gregory - Posted - 05/05/2022:  18:51:39

Go to your home page and click on the picture.


Come to this page and hit REPLY

Hit the icon, top right, 4th from right, which looks like a little landscape picture.

Paste the link into the URL box

hit OK

And there ya go!


shellyc2267 - Posted - 05/05/2022:  20:14:00


shellyc2267 - Posted - 05/05/2022:  20:15:22


shellyc2267 - Posted - 05/05/2022:  20:16:26


mike gregory - Posted - 05/06/2022:  13:40:44

Looks like you're hitting the 5th from the right, which looks like a LINK of a chain, and posting the LINK to your picture.

From right to left, it's



then TABLE

and then, at long last,  IMAGE

The Old Timer - Posted - 05/06/2022:  15:04:31

As said above it's an entry level Japanese made resonator banjo. It's sort of a "combination" tenor and plectrum banjo. Tenor banjos typically have 19 frets; plectrums typically 22. Back in the 1920s and 30s Gibson made such a banjo which they called a "Royal PT" that was in between a tenor and plectrum. I guess the idea was, depending on what strings you used and how you tuned them, you could play either tenor banjo parts of plectrum banjo parts.

If the neck is straight, not twisted or bowed backward, and everything is unbroken and tightly fastened and secure, this would be a good banjo to learn to play on. If you play guitar, you might tune it like the 4 thinner strings of a guitar and use guitar chord positions with your left hand. Or you could tune it in 5ths like a mandola (with different gauge strings) and play tenor banjo chord shapes.

The "bands" you mentioned are called "tension hooks" or "J hooks". The "rear side" is called a resonator. The aluminum drum is called the "rim". Banjos are typically heavier than guitars.

You don't mention what kind of music you might wish to learn to play. Of course you can play any music you like, but 4 string banjos are almost never used to play bluegrass -- that calls for a 5 string banjo.

Iida was a quite good banjo company in Japan that was an early provider of pretty good copies of old (pre-WWII) American designs in the early 1970s, cheaper than the US made brands of that time. Their product line ranged all the way from beginner to pro level.

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