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Montgomery Wards banjo conversion progress

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Aug 14, 2019 - 1:06:01 PM
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1083 posts since 7/21/2004

Greetings all,

A few months ago I posted some pics of a 1939-40 Gibson made Montgomery Wards tenor banjo I acquired.
That thread has been archived here:

I thought I would post a little update. I contacted Mark Hickler at Hickler banjo down in Arizona and he agreed to make a 'budget' 5 string conversion neck for this banjo so here are some progress pics!

Maple and mahogany neck, plain cocobolo fingerboard (instead of rosewood), Richlite overlays on the headstock and heelcap. White spray-painted Gibson logo.

We're making this look close to what an original #957 5 string might have looked like. Only deviation is the heel cap & peg head overlay & trying to use sustainable hardwoods. The original tenor neck looked like it was beginning to have some strength/cracking/delamination issues at the heel so we opted to add a little cap & overlay for extra strength in those areas.

Opting for a new 'used' head Mark had on hand, I think the skin one on there is probably original but stretched, Mark thought it would be better to replace for better lag bolt placement.

This banjo will not be cut for a tone ring and did not have a metal hoop or tone ring of any kind, just a raised leading wood edge so we're going with that. I wanted to keep this banjo on the lighter side as well.

I'll post more pics and some sound clips when I get it finally gets to me.



Aug 14, 2019 - 1:22:23 PM



1083 posts since 7/21/2004

Previous thread pics replaced.


Aug 14, 2019 - 7:39:28 PM

1430 posts since 6/2/2010


For a "budget" 5-string neck that sure is pretty. Mark is doing a great job on that.


Aug 15, 2019 - 7:30:01 AM

12016 posts since 10/30/2008

Very nice. It shows a lot of respect to this banjo for what it "was". Enjoy it. Thanks for the photos.

Aug 15, 2019 - 8:49:58 AM



800 posts since 5/19/2007

Mark is a great guy, fun to play with. And the few banjos of his I've seen are all top notch. Can't wait to hear it.

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:39:18 PM

230 posts since 3/19/2015

Nice! I like what you're doing there. Keep us posted.

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