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Aug 22, 2019 - 6:24:06 AM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

hello can anyone help me i have recently brought a really old banjo it look really old
riveted tension hoop/ old geared tuners including the 5th/ plate banjo shoes etc has really wide neck looks like rosewood








 

Aug 22, 2019 - 7:20:46 AM

12104 posts since 10/30/2008

Well, that's different! Surely someone here will have some ideas for you. Those bracket shoes are cool.

Aug 22, 2019 - 7:43:49 AM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Well, that's different! Surely someone here will have some ideas for you. Those bracket shoes are cool.


thank a lot.the shoes are i believe riveted on and have been soldered

Aug 22, 2019 - 2:14:17 PM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

come on people i need some help with this ?

Aug 22, 2019 - 3:00:28 PM

853 posts since 3/1/2012

I'll bite. It's fretless, so it was probably made before frets became popular, and before even flush frets.
The 5th peg orientation (I know--its actually the 7th peg in this case) is vertical rather than horizontal, which tends to mean older rather than newer.
The pot is metal clad, rather than just wooden, which can mean 1880-ish.
(Do you notice all the qualifying words I am putting in?. If there is one thing I've learned, it is that every time you make a definite statement about banjos, someone will point out an exception).
I would say it is 1880s.
Anybody else care to chime in?

Aug 22, 2019 - 6:44:27 PM

6034 posts since 8/28/2013

I notice this banjo has seven total tuners. Was this possibly a seven string banjo? That could explain the "really wide neck."

Aug 22, 2019 - 8:33:44 PM

12104 posts since 10/30/2008

The general appearance of the tuning equipment, number of strings, and shape of the headstock "suggest" British to me. Trouble is, the pot doesn't look like the British zither banjos. Maybe a precursor?

Aug 22, 2019 - 9:47:54 PM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

i believe it is American judging by the the shoes( brackets.ive seen them in a Buckbee catalogue i know many American banjos were imported to England with 6 and 7 string variants to suit the English market before the 1900s. its has a 12" pot. But I must say to me it does look older than the 1880s I've worked on 1880s banjos a few times now lyon &healy/Buckbee /Mathews to mention a few and this looks far too primitive for the 1880s

Edited by - yetmeng on 08/22/2019 21:54:00

Aug 23, 2019 - 4:03:07 AM

1206 posts since 4/25/2007

I'd say it's a British 7 string no earlier than 80's. The dowel end bolt for a tie on tailpiece looks Buckbee style to me.
Hard to say from photos whats going on with the rim brackets maybe they were originally attached with nuts ?
So the maker could have either imported or copied the parts from Buckbee.
Have any of the original hooks and nuts survived ?

Edited by - Stephen John Prior on 08/23/2019 04:11:25

Aug 23, 2019 - 5:15:43 AM

4599 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by IMBanjoJim

I'll bite. It's fretless, so it was probably made before frets became popular, and before even flush frets.
The 5th peg orientation (I know--its actually the 7th peg in this case) is vertical rather than horizontal, which tends to mean older rather than newer.
The pot is metal clad, rather than just wooden, which can mean 1880-ish.
(Do you notice all the qualifying words I am putting in?. If there is one thing I've learned, it is that every time you make a definite statement about banjos, someone will point out an exception).
I would say it is 1880s.
Anybody else care to chime in?


JIm, the "clad rim," "silver rim," or "spun rim" was introduced by two Troy, NY builders in 1855.

Aug 23, 2019 - 6:55:31 AM

853 posts since 3/1/2012

Joel—my point, exactly. There are always exceptions.
My comments are based on my collection—none of the banjos prior to about 1880 have metal clad rims.

Edited by - IMBanjoJim on 08/23/2019 06:56:09

Aug 23, 2019 - 9:42:28 AM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

I'd say it's a British 7 string no earlier than 80's. The dowel end bolt for a tie on tailpiece looks Buckbee style to me.
Hard to say from photos whats going on with the rim brackets maybe they were originally attached with nuts ?
So the maker could have either imported or copied the parts from Buckbee.
Have any of the original hooks and nuts survive

the only hook that's on it doesn't look original to the banjo and its a steel not brass

Edited by - yetmeng on 08/23/2019 09:50:30

Aug 24, 2019 - 4:14:03 AM

1206 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by yetmeng
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

I'd say it's a British 7 string no earlier than 80's. The dowel end bolt for a tie on tailpiece looks Buckbee style to me.
Hard to say from photos whats going on with the rim brackets maybe they were originally attached with nuts ?
So the maker could have either imported or copied the parts from Buckbee.
Have any of the original hooks and nuts survive

the only hook that's on it doesn't look original to the banjo and its a steel not brass


I would think it was originally fitted with something similar to these. .

The bent hook is from a very early Weaver. The thread will also fit a Buckbee made nut from a similar period Dobson. Another member has an early Weaver fitted with the same brackets as your banjo. The other is a hook and nut with separate ball end from a later 80's fretless Weaver. Weaver may have imported from and later copied from the Buckbee design.

Bill Rickard sells nice brass hooks and square Buckbee style nuts if you wanted to be picky historically.  




Aug 24, 2019 - 8:19:28 AM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

As Stephen said, almost certainly a British-made 7-string dating from sometime in the last two decades of the 19th century. Stylistically the design features indicate that it could have been made any time between 1880-1900. My instinct is that it dates from toward the earlier part of that span c.1880-1890.

Though wider than most 5-string banjos the neck does not appear especially wide for a 7-string. My guess would be a width around 56mm at the neck/pot join. More strings to accommodate generally requires a wider neck, it's not uncommon for a 7-string neck to be up to 63mm at the pot join. Though I have one 7-string that is only 50mm at the pot join.

The crown gears we can see seem in good order. Sometimes they are missing a tooth and this prevents tuning above a certain pitch. If you need any replacing i.e. re-machining (and aging) to match the original, drop me a PM and I can put you in touch with someone who can do this beautifully for very reasonable cost. 

Edited by - m06 on 08/24/2019 08:36:59

Aug 24, 2019 - 8:57:02 AM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by yetmeng

> But I must say to me it does look older than the 1880s I've worked on 1880s banjos a few times now lyon &healy/Buckbee /Mathews to mention a few and this looks far too primitive for the 1880s<


It may not be a high spec model, but it's by no means 'primitive' and is strongly suggestive of a family likeness with the huge numbers of banjos produced at the end of the 19th century.

There is no mistaking the much earlier British 7-string banjos. Key identifiers are far fewer hooks, a very simple hooped and jointed brass rim, different (typically) ball-and-eye rim hardware, typically a simple steam-bent ash pot and often flush frets in ash or sycamore that stop well short of the pot join. The flush fret fingerboards of these earliest 7-string necks also stopped at this point and the base of the neck curved to join the pot to facilitate movement of the rim. This neck/pot joint design went through somewhat of a transition over a decade or so where in many examples the curve was retained but the fingerboard continued above it to the rim giving a characteristic half crescent 'window' through the base of the neck, again allowing space for the free movement of the rim.

We can see that the fingerboard of your banjo meets the rim (no curved 'gap) but we can't see the heel of your banjo. If the heel has this curve and half-crescent 'window' then that transitional design feature may just possibly edge it into the late 1870's. My instinct is still a date in the period 1880-1890.

In reply to Jim: spun-over rims alone do not necessarily denote post-1880 date of manufacture. My earliest British 7-string has spun-over brasswork over ash. But the metalwork is noticeably cruder than later 19th century spun-over metalwork.

Edited by - m06 on 08/24/2019 09:12:04

Aug 24, 2019 - 1:13:11 PM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

Here is a detail photo of a typical earlier (certainly pre-1880's) English 7-string banjo neck to pot join of the first design I described.

Interestingly this pre-1880's example has the same rim shoe style as your banjo. You can see from this photo the original hooks that went with those shoes.


Edited by - m06 on 08/24/2019 13:16:17

Aug 24, 2019 - 1:23:58 PM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

Here is a detail of a slightly later English 7-string neck with the 'half crescent' gap in the heel. This design, with the vestigial curve and a fingerboard section that extends above it to meet the pot, seems to be transitional between the earlier curved cutaway and the universal adoption of the solid heel.


Edited by - m06 on 08/24/2019 13:25:24

Aug 24, 2019 - 1:47:55 PM

853 posts since 3/1/2012

Mike--many of the Buckbee banjos made in New York for the various Dobson brothers have this gap under the fingerboard where it meets the heel. For what it's worth, it has also been rumored that one of the Dobson brothers took Buckbee-made banjos and banjo parts to England for resale. I wish I could find the exact reference on that--maybe someone here can add the specifics.
So it is possible that your example is actually a Buckbee neck.

Aug 24, 2019 - 2:19:51 PM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

The half-crescent window heel design does appear in both English and American-made banjo necks of the period. As with any commercial manufacture there is always an active culture of ‘borrowing’ of both design and hardware.

English banjo makers were however plentiful and before the mid-1870’s they were fairly consistently making 7-string instruments for the home market.

Edited by - m06 on 08/24/2019 14:30:16

Aug 25, 2019 - 10:41:56 AM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

quote:
Originally posted by m06

Here is a detail photo of a typical earlier (certainly pre-1880's) English 7-string banjo neck to pot join of the first design I described.

Interestingly this pre-1880's example has the same rim shoe style as your banjo. You can see from this photo the original hooks that went with those shoes.

Hi mike yes they are the same shoes. i don't suppose you could take a picture of the back of them. for me as. i don't know how they are attached as mine have been soldered on. so when i remove them i don't know weather to unsolder and pull. or unsolder and unthread and i don't want to risk braking them when i start restoring it

Aug 25, 2019 - 11:49:37 AM

4599 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior
quote:
Originally posted by yetmeng
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

I'd say it's a British 7 string no earlier than 80's. The dowel end bolt for a tie on tailpiece looks Buckbee style to me.
Hard to say from photos whats going on with the rim brackets maybe they were originally attached with nuts ?
So the maker could have either imported or copied the parts from Buckbee.
Have any of the original hooks and nuts survive

the only hook that's on it doesn't look original to the banjo and its a steel not brass


I would think it was originally fitted with something similar to these. .

The bent hook is from a very early Weaver. The thread will also fit a Buckbee made nut from a similar period Dobson. Another member has an early Weaver fitted with the same brackets as your banjo. The other is a hook and nut with separate ball end from a later 80's fretless Weaver. Weaver may have imported from and later copied from the Buckbee design.

Bill Rickard sells nice brass hooks and square Buckbee style nuts if you wanted to be picky historically.  


More likely Weaver was copying Jimmy Clarke.  Clarke had been the builder for the Pros in the US when Weaver got started and there is no doubt he was exposed to Clarke banjos.

Buckbee was making cheap, loosely based knockoffs of Clarke banjos.

SSS came along and changed things.

Those brackets were a common pattern on "New York" banjos (which the British were copying).

The cut out at the heel was also a common feature on New York Banjos (again, copied by Buckbee and British builders).

Edited by - Joel Hooks on 08/25/2019 11:50:30

Aug 25, 2019 - 12:40:49 PM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

this is the heel and also the back of the brackets/shoes as i said at some point they were soldered i don't think they would of been installed like that but i may be wrong. any tips of how to remove them would be greatly appreciated as i will need to restore it at some point. and also im a little scared about removing the tension hoop. because the last one i removed that was of similar age and construction shattered in to lots of pieces as it had become very very brittle




Edited by - yetmeng on 08/25/2019 12:56:45

Aug 25, 2019 - 12:52:24 PM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by yetmeng
quote:
Originally posted by m06

Here is a detail photo of a typical earlier (certainly pre-1880's) English 7-string banjo neck to pot join of the first design I described.

Interestingly this pre-1880's example has the same rim shoe style as your banjo. You can see from this photo the original hooks that went with those shoes.

Hi mike yes they are the same shoes. i don't suppose you could take a picture of the back of them. for me as. i don't know how they are attached as mine have been soldered on. so when i remove them i don't know weather to unsolder and pull. or unsolder and unthread and i don't want to risk braking them when i start restoring it


Here is a close-up of the rear fixing of those shoes. Just a square nut onto a threaded bolt.


Edited by - m06 on 08/25/2019 12:55:34

Aug 25, 2019 - 12:59:13 PM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

quote:

Originally posted by m06

Here is a detail photo of a typical earlier (certainly pre-1880's) English 7-string banjo neck to pot join of the first design I described.

Interestingly this pre-1880's example has the same rim shoe style as your banjo. You can see from this photo the original hooks that went with those shoes.

Hi mike yes they are the same shoes. i don't suppose you could take a picture of the back of them. for me as. i don't know how they are attached as mine have been soldered on. so when i remove them i don't know weather to unsolder and pull. or unsolder and unthread and i don't want to risk braking them when i start restoring it


Here is a close-up of the rear fixing of those shoes. Just a square nut onto a threaded bolt.

 


thank you so much Mike

Aug 27, 2019 - 1:47:02 PM

yetmeng

England

45 posts since 12/20/2017

hello all i found away to get the brackets off i put a soldering iron into the bracket hook holes and waited for 5 min's then i could simply unscrew them. The threads weren't English imperial thread?  So i don't see how they could be English. Some of the brackets were cross threaded at some point that's why they were lead soldered on by a previous careless owner( the person responsible for cross threading them ) . So i taped a new thread ( m4 0.7) on the brackets and cut and threaded some new brass nuts.I also cleaned and repaired the neck and replaced the missing pearl so now its on hold till i get some more tuners and figure out a better way of bracing the neck that's in keeping with its age. Then ill string it up as a cello banjo.


Edited by - yetmeng on 08/27/2019 13:55:15

Aug 27, 2019 - 2:49:20 PM

1506 posts since 1/13/2012

Threads hadn't been entirely standardized when this banjo was made. Many makers made their own taps and dies, and would use whatever diameter or pitch they wanted.

Andy

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