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Fretless marquetry banjo identification

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Jul 17, 2020 - 5:42:31 PM
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56 posts since 3/19/2009

I would appreciate help in identifying the maker and age of this banjo.
It is fretless, has approximately a 24” scale with bridge just short of the middle the rim, what looks like a mahogany neck with boat heal and an usual head tightening rim that tightens from the rear with screws.


Edited by - strangesprings on 07/17/2020 17:43:48

Jul 17, 2020 - 9:11:07 PM

1154 posts since 3/1/2012

This may or may not help:


 

Jul 18, 2020 - 4:57:32 AM

1092 posts since 5/19/2018

I really have no idea of the maker.

Looks similar to some Teed banjos I have seen, but I’m sure it’s not a Teed. Some of the Marquetry work makes me think it could be British, but it also has some aspects of a NE US builder. In other words, I have no real idea.

A random guess on the age would be early 1870’s to mid 1890’s.

I am no expert on these early banjos outside of owning a few over the years and handling a number more, so hopefully some real experts put their 2 cents in on this one.

Looks like a very nice and interesting old instrument. Obviously pretty good quality. I really like the look of it.

Jul 18, 2020 - 5:21:17 AM

m06

England

9035 posts since 10/5/2006

It's a lovely fretless banjo but, as others have hinted, the devil of a task to try and attribute accurately. Alvin's mention of an earliest date of 1870's seems about right.

My gut instinct on looking at the photos (and that's all it is) is that it's not British. Something about the marquetry places it elsewhere to me. Also that it was clearly made as a 5-string; many 1870's and earlier British banjos were 6 or 7-string. But there is so much information on early and mid-19th century banjos we don't have that who would stick their neck out and say they knew where it was made for sure? Not me.

Edited by - m06 on 07/18/2020 05:31:16

Jul 18, 2020 - 7:50:07 AM

5602 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

Looks New York to me.

But there is one problem, that banjo clearly has frets. In the banjo encyclopedia of terms “flush frets” have historically been called “frets”.

Jul 18, 2020 - 8:19:14 AM

56 posts since 3/19/2009

Dang! You got me on the fretless part. Weird thing is it plays just like a fretless and my intonation is just as bad.

Edited by - strangesprings on 07/18/2020 08:23:25

Jul 18, 2020 - 8:22:06 AM

56 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by IMBanjoJim

This may or may not help:


Yes that patent seems to be almost identical to this banjo's rim- thanks

,

Jul 18, 2020 - 10:26:59 AM

1154 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by strangesprings

Dang! You got me on the fretless part. Weird thing is it plays just like a fretless and my intonation is just as bad.


Graham--are those flush frets, or are they position markers? Try fretting right on them...

Jul 18, 2020 - 10:51:51 AM

56 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by strangesprings
quote:
Originally posted by strangesprings

Good point! Thanks for coming to my defense!


 


Jul 18, 2020 - 2:05:27 PM

1054 posts since 3/21/2013

Ive seen similar marquetry on cubley i think. Bernunzio has one very similar to this without the pot marquetry

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