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Mar 26, 2020 - 10:43:28 AM



8 posts since 1/30/2020


It was found in Britain, but may be American made, and I'd think it probably dates from the 1860s.

The unlined pot is plated brass, with rolled edges, and somebody (150 years ago?) tried to convert it to a 7-string (they were very popular in Britain) - though the neck really isn't wide-enough for that.

The neck from the nut to the 5th peg is of an almost rectangular profile.

Has anybody seen the likes of it?









Edited by - Panbone on 03/27/2020 13:02:07

Mar 26, 2020 - 3:03:16 PM

1005 posts since 3/21/2013

Looks like a homebuild to me. I would say a bit later, just due to the metal pot. Maybe 1870s, but maybe I'm totally wrong.... do you have more pictures of the inside of the pot and dowel/tailpiece?

Mar 26, 2020 - 7:12:15 PM

762 posts since 5/19/2018
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Very interesting.

Kind of tough to pin down a date without a few more photos and most importantly, dimensions.

Please post additional photos if possible of the inside of the pot, specifically where the bolts go through. Please also post detailed photos of where the neck meets the pot, inside and out. A photo of the tailpiece in detail would also be helpful.

Please measure the size of the pot across the head and also the length of the neck.

Neck looks to be Maple.

1870’s May more be in line for a time frame, but there are many here who are absolute experts and with added photos and info can give you a more solid idea.

Mar 27, 2020 - 11:40:38 AM

1000 posts since 3/1/2012

Very cool banjo! The simple peghead shape is similar to the one in the 1850s image of a boy holding a banjo on pg 52 of America's Instrument, for what it's worth.
At any rate--a lucky find! Will you put a new head on and restore it to play?

Mar 27, 2020 - 12:40:38 PM



8 posts since 1/30/2020

Sorry jun3machina and Alvin Conder, I thought I'd posted the photo of inside the pot. Here it is (and I'll add it to my initial post too):


It's not a large banjo (more like the size of most modern instruments) and smaller than the 7-string Dobson I've also got, but the neck design is an older one.

This is the best image I have (edited from the overall view) of the tailpiece at the moment, there's a piece chipped off beside the top string:

I took the photos in a hurry, as we were leaving to go into isolation on 12 acres of semi-wilderness, wooded mountainside in West Cork - a good place to be at the moment!

Edited by - Panbone on 03/27/2020 12:58:33

Mar 27, 2020 - 1:29:59 PM

762 posts since 5/19/2018
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OK. The pot is riveted. Or I should say the brackets are riveted to the pot.

Looks also to be an unusual non-standard thread count on the hooks.

Seeing that, I can’t rule out 1860’s. Design elements do coincide with that time frame.

Amazing find.

Mar 27, 2020 - 1:31:18 PM



8 posts since 1/30/2020

They were making brass drum shells in the 17th/18th centuries, and many drum makers turned their hand to making banjos (and vice-versa in later years!), so there's absolutely no reason why an early banjo couldn't have been made with a brass pot...

Here's a Brass Side Drum 1694–1733 in the Met. Museum's collection.

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