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Identify Beltone Banjo Maker?

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Oct 19, 2019 - 10:12:46 AM
4557 posts since 3/22/2008

I think this banjo is from the 1950's and was wondering who the maker was.
I have a Beltone ukulele with same logo stamped "Japan" so maybe the Beltone tenor was made in Japan as well?

Oct 19, 2019 - 11:28:37 AM

1158 posts since 2/9/2007

Looks made in USA by Kay to me.

Oct 19, 2019 - 11:50:55 AM

10474 posts since 10/27/2006

Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Looks made in USA by Kay to me.

It would have the curved spacer if it was a Kay and the finish is wrong.

Eastern European or Asian 1960s–early '70s.

Oct 19, 2019 - 11:58:30 AM

648 posts since 6/9/2009

No way is it Eastern European. These Beltone banjos with the little ports on the resonator were made by Harmony or Regal in the '30s.

Edited by - BobTheGambler on 10/19/2019 11:58:41

Oct 19, 2019 - 12:42:50 PM

6346 posts since 8/28/2013
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I'd like to know how the resonator is attached. It appears to be a center mount, but there is no dowelstick to attach it to and there are what appear to be screw hole in the rim. That makes me wonder if it's original to the banjo.

It doesn't look like a Harmony or Regal product to me. I'm more inclined to Mike's ideas about place of manufacture.

Oct 19, 2019 - 1:42:56 PM

4557 posts since 3/22/2008

Forgot to mention that it has an 11" head. Skin.
I forgot to photograph the resonator attachment deal.
It is a well fitted piece of metal strapping neatly screwed to bottom of rim going completely across the rim with reso center screw screwing into a hole in the strapping. The idea looks amateurish but the execution is spot on.
I also have a Beltone mandolin with the same screened sound holes which might identify the maker of the banjo.

Edited by - beezaboy on 10/19/2019 13:44:19

Oct 19, 2019 - 3:28:38 PM



2350 posts since 2/20/2016

I can't speak about the origin of the banjo, but mandolins like the one you picture, which were sold under several brand names, are generally attributed to Harmony or Regal.

Oct 19, 2019 - 4:51:14 PM

162 posts since 2/11/2009

This banjo (and that mandolin) was built by United Guitars in Jersey City. It gets complicated because Beltone instruments were sourced from a number of manufacturers and distributed by a number of catalogs, but this is a post-War (probably 1950s) instrument made by United and distributed by Sorkin. United was in many ways the successor to Oscar Schmidt - not the same factory, but they seem to have acquired many of the old OS parts and perhaps even some of the old OS workforce.

Oct 20, 2019 - 3:56:36 AM

4557 posts since 3/22/2008

Noah - Thank you for the identification.
United Guitars of Jersey City is a new one for me.
When you think of well known banjo makers in the mid to late 1950's Gibson, Vega, Gretsch, Kay, and Harmony are the ones that come to my mind and it's interesting to learn of another maker during that era.

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