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Jan 26, 2020 - 5:40:28 PM
5 posts since 1/19/2020

Hi I received this banjo from my dad. It was my grandparents before that. Can anyone provide any info on what type it is?




 

Jan 26, 2020 - 5:56:50 PM
likes this

2281 posts since 3/30/2008

This seems to be a Stromberg Voisinet, c. 1920-30;s. Photos of the inside may reveal the maker to be Kay.

Jan 26, 2020 - 8:37:01 PM

2825 posts since 5/29/2011

Stromberg-Voisinet is more likely than Kay.

Jan 27, 2020 - 4:00:57 AM

Emiel

Austria

9312 posts since 1/22/2003

And it's a tenor banjo.

Jan 27, 2020 - 7:25:23 AM

6689 posts since 8/28/2013

Most definitely a 17 fret tenor banjo made by Stromberg-Voisinet or Kay. From the center mounted resonator, I'd say most likely Stromberg-Voisinet.

Jan 27, 2020 - 8:00:30 AM

4611 posts since 3/22/2008

I have a couple of questions about your banjo. Not idle curiosity.
What is the name written on the peghead if you can make it out.
Can you remove the resonator by unscrewing the bolt in the center.
If you can you will see a stick (dowel stick) holding the neck to the drum.
The resonator bolt screws into the dowel stick which has a metal round threaded insert to accommodate the bolt.
Is the dowel stick broken upwards where the bolt was over tightened so much it broke the stick.
I hope not as this is the point.
When reattaching the resonator the bolt going into the dowel stick need only be tightened enough to hold the resonator gently firmly. Doesn't require much torqueing the bolt.
Finally, does the inside of the resonator have a block of wood beneath the dowel bolt hole which apparently was the fix for the broken dowel stick syndrome.
A couple of photos attached.


Jan 27, 2020 - 2:38:35 PM

10595 posts since 10/27/2006

A SV from the '20s or Kay from the early 1930s — same company, different owner. 1930 was the ownership change

Even though Kay made both dowel and threaded rod banjos under the SV name before the move to the new factory around 1935, no one is wrong to call all the dowel stick instruments SV and all the threaded rod banjos Kay unless actually branded Stromberg-Voisinet as a few of the early '30s were.

The SV brand appears to have been retired around 1935. With the new factory, that makes as much sense as anything else we know 85–90 years later.

Jan 31, 2020 - 7:15:32 PM

5 posts since 1/19/2020

quote:
Originally posted by beezaboy

I have a couple of questions about your banjo. Not idle curiosity.
What is the name written on the peghead if you can make it out.
Can you remove the resonator by unscrewing the bolt in the center.
If you can you will see a stick (dowel stick) holding the neck to the drum.
The resonator bolt screws into the dowel stick which has a metal round threaded insert to accommodate the bolt.
Is the dowel stick broken upwards where the bolt was over tightened so much it broke the stick.
I hope not as this is the point.
When reattaching the resonator the bolt going into the dowel stick need only be tightened enough to hold the resonator gently firmly. Doesn't require much torqueing the bolt.
Finally, does the inside of the resonator have a block of wood beneath the dowel bolt hole which apparently was the fix for the broken dowel stick syndrome.
A couple of photos attached.


Hi the stick is no broken. No block. 

Jan 31, 2020 - 7:19:48 PM

5 posts since 1/19/2020

quote:
Originally posted by tdennis

This seems to be a Stromberg Voisinet, c. 1920-30;s. Photos of the inside may reveal the maker to be Kay.


Don't see any name inside. What is name on head? Looks like Irnton?

Jan 31, 2020 - 9:04:28 PM

2281 posts since 3/30/2008

I was thinking that the construction of the pot & neck bracing system may suggest a maker. Distinguishing SV & Kay can be difficult on occasion.  Both these companies made sub contracted instruments  for distributors  with many different names.  ( ...can't quite read the name on your peghead). 

Edited by - tdennis on 01/31/2020 21:11:04

Feb 1, 2020 - 4:05:28 AM

4611 posts since 3/22/2008

Thank you for the information about the dowel stick in your banjo.
This type of banjo is called a 17 fret "Tenor Banjo" sometimes referred to as a short scale tenor banjo.
The tenor banjo has 4-strings typically tuned C,G,D,A like the Viola and was popularized during the 1920's jazz age as a part of that eras dance bands. As the 1920's progressed the tenor banjo began to be made with a longer scale and 19 frets.
Your banjo was made by the Stromberg-Voisinet Co., 316 Union Park Ct., Chicago, Illinois in about 1925. It has the distinctive Stromberg-Voisinet peghead shape. Stromberg-Voisinet directed their banjo sales and marketing efforts to musical instrument jobbers and distributors and not so much to the general public. Therefore, Stromberg-Voisinet banjos often had the name desired by the distributor placed on the peghead. In this case the name "Irnton" is not a familiar name so perhaps your banjo was made for a music store or a smaller distributor.
I think your Stromberg-Voisinet banjo is quite nice. Earlier Stromberg-Voisinet tenor banjos were open back banjos that came without a resonator. Your later model has a very attractive resonator and it is a big plus that the dowel stick is intact. The resonators were added as the 1920's progressed to project sound forward towards the audience as the tenor banjo was a fixture in the loud roaring twenties dance bands. One of Stromberg-Voisinet's clients was Montgomery Ward also of Chicago. Attached is a clip from Ward's Fall/Winter 1925-1926 catalog with a Stromberg-Voisinet tenor banjo similar to yours. They're not exact matches but convey the look of a ca. 1925 17 fret resonator Stromberg-Voisinet banjo marketed to the public for "orchestra work". As mentioned above the Stromberg-Voisinet Co. was reorganized as the Kay Musical Instrument Co. in about July 1931.


Feb 1, 2020 - 7:08:13 AM

5 posts since 1/19/2020

quote:
Originally posted by beezaboy

Thank you for the information about the dowel stick in your banjo.
This type of banjo is called a 17 fret "Tenor Banjo" sometimes referred to as a short scale tenor banjo.
The tenor banjo has 4-strings typically tuned C,G,D,A like the Viola and was popularized during the 1920's jazz age as a part of that eras dance bands. As the 1920's progressed the tenor banjo began to be made with a longer scale and 19 frets.
Your banjo was made by the Stromberg-Voisinet Co., 316 Union Park Ct., Chicago, Illinois in about 1925. It has the distinctive Stromberg-Voisinet peghead shape. Stromberg-Voisinet directed their banjo sales and marketing efforts to musical instrument jobbers and distributors and not so much to the general public. Therefore, Stromberg-Voisinet banjos often had the name desired by the distributor placed on the peghead. In this case the name "Irnton" is not a familiar name so perhaps your banjo was made for a music store or a smaller distributor.
I think your Stromberg-Voisinet banjo is quite nice. Earlier Stromberg-Voisinet tenor banjos were open back banjos that came without a resonator. Your later model has a very attractive resonator and it is a big plus that the dowel stick is intact. The resonators were added as the 1920's progressed to project sound forward towards the audience as the tenor banjo was a fixture in the loud roaring twenties dance bands. One of Stromberg-Voisinet's clients was Montgomery Ward also of Chicago. Attached is a clip from Ward's Fall/Winter 1925-1926 catalog with a Stromberg-Voisinet tenor banjo similar to yours. They're not exact matches but convey the look of a ca. 1925 17 fret resonator Stromberg-Voisinet banjo marketed to the public for "orchestra work". As mentioned above the Stromberg-Voisinet Co. was reorganized as the Kay Musical Instrument Co. in about July 1931.


Thank you so much for the great info. I am bummed that I ripped the cover. Is this worth replacing? We don't play. 

Feb 1, 2020 - 7:34:50 AM

4611 posts since 3/22/2008

The banjo head is torn I see it now.
Plenty of people here replace banjo heads with ease.
Some use skin heads. Some use plastic.
I can do it but hate doing it. And I'm not really a fan of plastic heads on 1920's banjos.
Here's what I would try if you're not going to play it. Get some old fashioned white first aid adhesive tape. Pop the resonator again and come up from beneath the head with the tape and see if you can pull the head together and tape it underneath. See if you can get the look you want for right now maybe even with some tape on top. I don't know how well the adhesive tape will stick to the skin head. Might be okay,
Banjo heads were made to be replaced so you can't mess up your tape job and make the head any worse.  Someday that banjo head will have to go.

Edited by - beezaboy on 02/01/2020 07:38:20

Feb 1, 2020 - 7:44:52 AM

4611 posts since 3/22/2008

Actually, you can search BHO forums for repairing a torn skin head and you will find quite a number of useful ideas probably a lot better than my tape deal.

Feb 1, 2020 - 11:58:51 AM

53444 posts since 12/14/2005

If you're anywhere near Milwaukee WI, I'm 20 miles north, and will replace the head for you.
New skin head won't cost you much, and I'll donate the labor.
But, if you're just going to hang it on the wall, the patch-from-beneath fix is a lot simpler.

Feb 1, 2020 - 7:16:19 PM

5 posts since 1/19/2020

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

If you're anywhere near Milwaukee WI, I'm 20 miles north, and will replace the head for you.
New skin head won't cost you much, and I'll donate the labor.
But, if you're just going to hang it on the wall, the patch-from-beneath fix is a lot simpler.


Thanks! Unfortunately I'm in Atlanta.

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