A few weeks ago a fellow emailed me to have me do a setup on his banjo, he told me it was a Neufeld. I remember seeing, fondling and drooling over them Neufeld banjos over 40 years ago when I first starting playing - they were absolutely gorgeous. Jake Neufeld from Guelph, Ontario was the maker. He didn't produce many at all and kinda disappeared from the banjo scene in the 91080ies, it had been over 40 years since I'd seen one.
This fellow lives quite close to my place and it was a real treat to see a Neufeld again. This one was one of the higher models with great looking inlays. The banjo had been in its unopened case for about 30 years the man told me. Disappointment: the head was ripped so I had to wait until a new one arrived before I could do anything. The hardware was quite tarnished and dressed up real nice after a good polish.
Head on, tensioned, strings on... Back when I first saw these banjos I didn't know much about banjos at all. The only thing I new was that it looked real nice and sounded good. Now that my ears got to be educated about banjos quite a bit it finally was time to figure if I should have bought one back then.
Wow, should I have ever!!! This thing sounded hugely amazing, a powerful mastertone sound/tone with lots of bark and clarity. Trouble back then: young family, no budget - nuff said...
Anyhoo, here's some pictures of it as it's unlikely that you ever come across one.
Ken Levan: you'll like the resonator: the "bowl" part is solid chunk of full width maple with a maple rim glued on. Other then the finish having checked, after over 40 years, there's zero cracking or splitting in the "bowl."
Added: forgot to mention - the neck had dried out over the years and many of the frets were sticking out from the board's edge. Also had to glue a bunch of them down as they had come loose.
Edited by - Bart Veerman on 04/15/2019 14:46:18
That does look like a "really nice day in the shop".
Perhaps you can convince the owner that you "need" to keep it in your shop for the final set up tuning!
Whoa! I think I know who's that is......
I've never seen one though until now....looks like a really quality made instrument. I especially like the fret markers, not the typical style seen, unique i think. Would love to hear it.
Wow that is a stunning banjo...! You should really post a video! :)
Yup, very nice inlays indeed - Jake's wife did those, she was quite an artist.
I remember talking to Jake at a festival where he had a booth to show off his banjos. He told me he didn't know how to make the resonator bottoms/bowls other than putting a slab of wide-enough wood on the lathe.
Anyone have an estimated value?
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