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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: SS Stewart 5 string


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/383207

James Galloway - Posted - 05/14/2022:  12:47:07


New member here, primarily a mandolin and guitar player but I’m picking up some clawhammer and two-finger lately, I recently acquired a SS Stewart banjo serial number 7693, I was told it was made in 1887 but after some research I’m guessing it was made closer to 1890. Would anyone out there happen to have a better idea of when it would have been made?

My second question is if anyone has any suggestions on a hard shell case for it, nothing fancy just something if to protect it around the house.

Thanks for any input and I look forward to checking out more in the forums!

Alvin Conder - Posted - 05/14/2022:  12:52:19


Post a few pictures here.

Folks here can pin the model and date almost to the day.

As for a case. Reach out to Smakula fretted instruments. A phone call will get you the exact case you need and a lot of info. He is a member here and listed in the links for dealers.

James Galloway - Posted - 05/14/2022:  17:06:01


Hey thanks for the response! Here are some photos I can post more if it helps too. Cheers!





 

Joel Hooks - Posted - 05/14/2022:  17:10:47


1890 is about as close as you are going to get. Post the measurement of the head and neck (nut to rim) and I will tell you the model name.

The 12th fret marker has been added later, tailpiece and tuners are replacements (the originals were likely victim to wire string damage).

Stewart never intended these to be strung with wire. Often the pressure is too much for the various parts.

James Galloway - Posted - 05/14/2022:  17:44:46


Thank you Joel, yes the 10th and 12th fret markers appear to be done after the fact as they are a little more crude looking than the factory inlay. The head is 11inches and the neck from nut to rim is 19/19.5 inches. I have the original tuners though they are pretty much disintegrated and the tailpiece but it looks like it was cracked and poorly repaired. I figured it was originally gut strings.



Is there anything besides setup I should keep in mind if I were to convert it back to nylon or nylgut strings?


Edited by - James Galloway on 05/14/2022 17:47:52

trapdoor2 - Posted - 05/14/2022:  18:05:24


"The Student", "The Amatuer" or a "Grade 2", per my chart for 11" rims with 19" necks...and 20 brackets.



These were $10 banjos. More than most made in a month...but still the least expensive banjos Stewart made.



Get a nice bridge from Joel,  it'll make her sing sweetly.


Edited by - trapdoor2 on 05/14/2022 18:07:17

Joel Hooks - Posted - 05/14/2022:  18:57:12


quote:

Originally posted by trapdoor2

"The Student", "The Amatuer" or a "Grade 2", per my chart for 11" rims with 19" necks...and 20 brackets.



These were $10 banjos. More than most made in a month...but still the least expensive banjos Stewart made.



Get a nice bridge from Joel,  it'll make her sing sweetly.






This is a Universal Favorite #1.  It is better than the grade 2.  Better and clearer photos will show that the inside rim is painted like rosewood. 

trapdoor2 - Posted - 05/14/2022:  19:01:31


A UF with 20 brackets? I show the #1 starting off with 24...

Joel Hooks - Posted - 05/14/2022:  19:02:06


See attached below


trapdoor2 - Posted - 05/14/2022:  19:22:07


quote:

Originally posted by Joel Hooks

See attached below






Poop. You just can't trust anybody anymore. sad I'll amend my spreadsheet! blush

ahmet - Posted - 05/15/2022:  06:52:58


Nut has been replaced as well from the original ebony that was typical of the old Stewarts and it seems to hang over the edge slightly. My eye says the infamous "they" have perhaps widened the nut slot as well in the process.

Lets have a look inside as well please!

John Brinegar - Posted - 05/17/2022:  17:58:40


Hey James - I have an S.S. Stewart ( The Student ) , grade 2 -5 string. in nice original shape. This is the inlay pattern - fret 5 - single dot - fret 7 - double dots - fret 10- single dot - fret 14-single dot - fret 17- double dots. -- 20 frets, 20 brackets , 17 1/4 in. neck. Top of dowel stick marked 10 , and 297. Same ebony head overlay - no star - You may have a number on top of dowel - Hope this helps -Serial number - 7091


Edited by - John Brinegar on 05/17/2022 18:02:48

James Galloway - Posted - 05/19/2022:  10:42:53


Thanks everyone for the responses and input!



I just strung it up with Aquila nyguts the other day as I’d like to do this antique justice and not put any unnecessary stress on the neck or silver frets.



It could probably benefit from another setup now that it has the nyguts on, but it really sounds great with them, I know Stewart wasn't a fan of frailing/clawhammer and was a proponent of classical music but I'll be frailing away on it :) 



It appears to be shimmed out and missing it's ebony wedges on the neck end of the dowel, and I’m not sure why, perhaps when it was setup with steel strings, I’ll get some pics posted of that to see what you all think.


Edited by - James Galloway on 05/19/2022 10:54:57





 

Joel Hooks - Posted - 05/19/2022:  11:50:18


quote:

Originally posted by James Galloway

Thanks everyone for the responses and input!



I just strung it up with Aquila nyguts the other day as I’d like to do this antique justice and not put any unnecessary stress on the neck or silver frets.



It could probably benefit from another setup now that it has the nyguts on, but it really sounds great with them, I know Stewart wasn't a fan of frailing/clawhammer and was a proponent of classical music but I'll be frailing away on it :) 



It appears to be shimmed out and missing it's ebony wedges on the neck end of the dowel, and I’m not sure why, perhaps when it was setup with steel strings, I’ll get some pics posted of that to see what you all think.






I'm afraid you have been misinformed. 



While SSS was a proponent of good banjo playing and musical literacy, this has been twisted in some written histories into a false narrative. 



SSS published over 571 titles of sheet music for banjo, and more unnumbered in folios, books, and the Journal.  Perhaps a few of those might qualify as "classical", a few more as "romantic" but the vast majority were simply popular music of the time as well as all the standard jig, reels, and scraps from popular operas. 



AFA "clawhammer", wrong again, SSS endorsed "banjo style" or "stroke style" playing to the point that he even designed and patented a banjo thimble (a pick that is worn over the fingernail for striking).

James Galloway - Posted - 05/19/2022:  12:00:48


Wow thank you Joel I did not know that, I will admit I am new to the world of banjo and my research has been very limited so far. I very much appreciate your response!

kd8tzc - Posted - 05/19/2022:  13:01:53


Hey, that is a beautiful instrument... if you ever want to get it off your hands let me know. I'd love to have something like that some day. I'm sure it would go for a lot more than $10 now days though.

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