So...a couple years ago I bought this banjo because I saw it in a flea market and really dug the sound (even though it had a clear head and 30 year old strings). The guy I spoke to said, best he could remember he bought it in the late 70s, or early 80s.
It has since become my everyday banjo. It sounds and feels so good, and (less importantly) really looks the part.
Does anyone know anything about these at all? There are Hohner banjos around now with bottlecap flanges and 'rolled brass tone rings' etc. that are a very VERY different thing than mine. I figure mine was from one of the factory's in Asia at the time that happened to be pumping out pretty good banjos banjos. Any ideas around year, country, ANYTHING? See the pics attached, and let me know!
Tube and plate flange
19 hole flathead tone ring
hearts and flowers inlay
Some decent marquetry/detail up the neck and on the resonator
Concentric circles on the resonator
yadda yadda yadda
ps - don't ask about the burn mark on the bridge...that came with it and none of my other bridges sound quite so good on it. Maybe it's something to experiment with...
I believe these were made by Samick in Korea. Typical 2-piece-flange Masterclone of late 70s into 80s. Same banjo was probably available as a Hondo and probably other names.
I don't know of any way to pinpoint a year of production.
I was going to say Kasuga....it has the same truss rod cover and some of the inlays as my early 70's Japanese Alvarez, which I believe is Kasuga made. Who knows though...could be Samick....could be anything.
Thanks for your input, folks. I guess the only thing I know for sure is that I like it a lot.
When I first saw it...I thought it said Huber on top, which made the $200 even more of a crazy price. Either way, I'm glad I got it and put some time into setting it up. I really dig it these days.
No matter, $200 seems like an awesome price for this banjo. It actually looks a lot like a mid to late 70s Ibanez. Those were nice banjos then and usually now go for $600-$800. You should post some sound clips.
Some of those Asian made instruments weren't too bad. I have owned two and played many more Ibanez Artists over the years. Some were "Meh", others were very good.
the large natural-finish flange bead says "Iida" to me, which would run in the same bloodline as Ibanez
The "Custom-Made" truss rod cover has been used on any number of Asian instruments. It means nothing, other than you could order the same instrument with whatever name you wanted on it.
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