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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: John Gray post-war banjo

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rileycrow - Posted - 05/19/2022:  17:02:55

Hi guys! First post here, I'm Riley.

Went on a date a few weeks ago and I spotted a music shop and my reflexes kicked in and was drawn in naturally. I spotted this as soon as I walked in, I asked to play while being mindful that the guy I was on a date with might not be thrilled with spending his afternoon in a cramped music shop hearing alternations of Shady grove and cripple creek.

Long story short, I picked up this (imo) GORGEOUS John Grey banjo for £125 in a used music store. John Grey don't have any records but what I have found in terms of info and previously sold banjos has it dated anywhere between 1940-1960 at the very latest. As soon as I picked it up I just knew I needed this banjo, I'd been scouting for a 'new' one anyway to upgrade from the parts banjo I got from a secondhand shop a while ago. All in all it was a great day considering I'd never been to this town before.

The slightly smaller than average pot has a metal outer shell and a wooden rim on the inside that more than makes up for the shorter scale length in terms of depth and brightness. When tapping on the dowel I can hear an almost spring reverb like echo that I can hear when I play near the bridge. The head is obviously a remo fiberskyn, which is part of what swayed me as I was either going to get a new banjo or add a fiberskyn to fix the NAUSEATING high end on my other banjo(which would have cost me at least half as much as this because I dont have any of the correct tools oops).

I'm no expert, if I had to be objective I'd say it's by no means a professional level banjo, but it plays beautifully and I'm in love with the sound. This post came several weeks late because I haven't been able to put it down. Fairly certain the tuners are new, they're not insanely precise but they're very comfortable and smooth and tuning is really easy (even on the 5th string! I know, right?).

There was a slight rattle on the tailpeice (which is why I assume there was a foam pad underneath it when I bought) but I've wrapped my favourite colour of yarn (yes, I have a favourite colour of yarn, women right?) around it and it looks pretty funky.

Anyway sorry for the ramble, enjoy the pics!


mrphysics55 - Posted - 05/19/2022:  19:58:34

Excellent find!

You lucky duck.

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 05/19/2022 20:03:13

rileycrow - Posted - 05/20/2022:  18:24:37

I'm inclined to agree with you, there's a bit of rattle on the tailpiece still but I've identified what's causing it so I'm going to keep working on creative solutions to that.

banjonz - Posted - 05/20/2022:  18:29:04

Well done. These turn up occasionally here also (New Zealand). Yours looks in exceptional shape. Enjoy.

rileycrow - Posted - 05/21/2022:  10:09:31

Thanks! There's some slight knocks on some of the edges (but that just adds character imo) and I wanna find out if I can apply some kind of oil or varnish to protect it from any further abrasions.

banjonz - Posted - 05/21/2022:  17:34:58

If these 'knocks' are on the edge of the fretboard then nothing you put on it will make any difference. Wood is a soft material that will depress if hit hard enough.

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