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Apr 9, 2020 - 9:17:59 AM
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78 posts since 7/29/2010

In the next few weeks or so I will be becoming the caretaker of an art craft that was also played for hours every day from 1929 until the mid 1990s . My goal with this world also be to get it into playing condition, with some clean up. I haven't been able to find much information about the art craft line, but it's beautiful instrument.




 

Apr 9, 2020 - 9:23:23 AM
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78 posts since 7/29/2010

A couple more




 

Apr 9, 2020 - 10:07:23 AM

12830 posts since 10/30/2008

Ooooh! I like that jellyfish inlay pattern in the fingerboard!

Apr 9, 2020 - 10:18:43 AM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I am going to give it a cleaning and a set up and hope beyond hope that it is enough to make it playable. Both this and the Recording A were both owned by the same individual, both purchased in the 1920s and played until he passed at 103!

Apr 9, 2020 - 10:32:52 AM

242 posts since 4/14/2017

The Artcraft is one of the more highly valued, the A is a relatively base model. It does look a little beat up. One thing you'll be seeking is a Page tuner for the A string. One big decision may be whether to overspray the lacquer, and most people that know the collector market say don't do that. Mr. Smakula has had those page tuners in the past, I don't know whether he has any now.

Apr 9, 2020 - 10:40:19 AM
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78 posts since 7/29/2010

I do not plan anything beyond cleaning the finishes and having a luthier fix the seam separation on the Paramount.


 

Edited by - vwfye on 04/09/2020 10:41:24

Apr 9, 2020 - 10:49:20 AM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

Inside


 

Apr 9, 2020 - 11:14:32 AM

7075 posts since 8/28/2013

This is a plectrum banjo, so there is no "A" string. I believe Sean means the "B" string. He's right about the tuner, although I believe two of the others are not original, either. The one on the "C" string appears correct. These old Pages were notorious for crumbling, and it's no surprise to see replacements.

I think the cleaning and repair of the seam are as far as you should take the restoration, unless, of course, the luthier finds some other structural problems. If you can find some original pages, that would be nice, but I wouldn't count on it. Most of them fell to bits years ago.

I also think this one has been re-fretted sometime in the past.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 04/09/2020 11:20:12

Apr 9, 2020 - 11:20:29 AM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

Thank you. As soon as it is in hand, i will post better picks and be asking many more questions.

Apr 9, 2020 - 12:51:57 PM
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4648 posts since 3/22/2008

Attached are some Artcraft historic items that you might find to be interesting.
Music Trades magazine June 2, 1928 reported that Wm. Lange furnished the very first Artcraft banjo to one of Lange's most loyal retailers - Birkel Music Co. of Los Angeles. (the Music Trades article is from microfilm so not great quality).
Also attached is a copy of Birkel's newspaper ad May 4, 1928 referred to in the Music Trades article.
The ad text states that the wood was burl-walnut so walnut Artcrafts are apparently the earlier models.
Also attached are some Artcraft photos constructed from what appears to be walnut.
Attached too is the Artcraft description in Lange's 1930 catalog which now states the wood is rosewood.
Your serial number appears to be 12172 which is 1929 manufacture date according to the published Paramount serial number "guesstimate" charts.
The Tsumura collection has a few Artcrafts depicted including a tenor 12084 and a plectrum like yours 12416. These look to be walnut but I'm not sure.
Linked here is perhaps the later 1930's rosewood Artcraft??  http://www.banjoworld.de/High276.htm


Apr 9, 2020 - 1:08:05 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

Wow! Thank you for the history lesson!!! I will be digesting this info as we need to find direction for it. Again, wow!

Apr 9, 2020 - 5:28:47 PM

DSmoke

USA

833 posts since 11/30/2015

Sweet banjo! I'm a huge Lange fan. Please do not overspray lacquer!!! It appears to me all the tuners are not original. I hope the peghead isn't reamed out for that other tuner. If you take it to a luthier for the seam separation they could probably touch up and "refresh" that finish a bit while still maintaining the original finish. Following along on this one.

Apr 9, 2020 - 5:52:14 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I was hoping to find out if orange or lemon oil would be too strong for cleaning? I have no intent of more lacquer.

Edited by - vwfye on 04/09/2020 17:52:39

Apr 9, 2020 - 5:56:13 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I did some converting. $300 in 1929 dollars was just over $4500 today. I'm not sure that many could get away with, "LOOK WHAT I JUST GOT HONEY!" as we walked through the door ;)

Apr 10, 2020 - 5:44:18 PM

65 posts since 10/15/2010

Bill Camp has reproduction Page tuner casings, if you still have the gears. The original casings were, I believe, made out of pot metal and often just crumbled. He may also have complete tuners.

billcampbanjos.com/banjo_parts..._sale.htm

May 9, 2020 - 3:55:06 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

Looks like I will have my hands on the Paramount on the 22nd.

May 30, 2020 - 9:02:27 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I just received the banjo tonight. One of the tuners is locked up solid. So, once I sort out IF I can free it up, I will put new strings on and see what happens. The back is very scratched up, but hopefully it will clean up ok.

May 31, 2020 - 8:02:17 AM

112 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by vwfye

I just received the banjo tonight. One of the tuners is locked up solid. So, once I sort out IF I can free it up, I will put new strings on and see what happens. The back is very scratched up, but hopefully it will clean up ok.


Now the fun starts! Enjoy the journey! I look forward to the progress.

May 31, 2020 - 8:07:55 AM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

The frozen tuning peg is the first oder of biz. Then cleaning

May 31, 2020 - 8:28:47 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

The finish over the rear inlays is really scratched and rough, is there any way to minimize their appearance? I'm a complete wood novice.

Jun 1, 2020 - 7:13:33 AM

12830 posts since 10/30/2008

Re: scratches on the "rear inlays", don't do anything to them. A banjo this age has a right to show its "character" -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Have fun!

Jun 1, 2020 - 8:02:58 AM

5203 posts since 9/21/2007

"Lemon" or "orange" oils= scented thin mineral oil. I don't use "furniture polish" on my furniture, I would not use it on a banjo.

Jun 1, 2020 - 11:34:22 AM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I will try that this week!

Jun 1, 2020 - 2:20:24 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I also have to say that I thought my Recording A was loud. Not compared to the Paramount, at all! Light fingerpicking resonates dynamically in the dwelling, and that was with the string mute installed!!! Wow

Jun 1, 2020 - 3:52:21 PM

DSmoke

USA

833 posts since 11/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by vwfye

I also have to say that I thought my Recording A was loud. Not compared to the Paramount, at all! Light fingerpicking resonates dynamically in the dwelling, and that was with the string mute installed!!! Wow


That's probably just the current setup.  The Paramount line is known to have a slight lack of volume, the Epiphones are generally monsters!

As for the condition, don't do anything if you don't know what to do or have researched it to the point of knowing what to do.  I restore banjos, I practiced on the old student banjos nobody wanted and I've also been a woodworker all my life.  But my 2 main players right now, an Epi A and Weymann 4 are both unrestored.

Jun 1, 2020 - 4:23:28 PM

78 posts since 7/29/2010

I am having a luthier fix the back wher it is separating from having been dropped decades ago, bit nothing else. I just didnt realize how scratched up the back was feom the preview pics I had received and just want it to be as presentable as it can be without any restoration.

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