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Oct 8, 2020 - 7:02:47 PM
12 posts since 1/20/2015

I can’t find information regarding a 5 string B&D Serenader Silver Bell. I am finding 4 string tenors but no 5 strings. Is this modified? Is it a 1940’s? What’s it worth?

Oct 9, 2020 - 12:17:53 AM

Polle Flaunoe


5474 posts since 3/7/2006


Bob - what you have seems to be an all-original example - made by Gretsch late 50s or during the 60s.

If possible do post the serial number as found at the dowel stick inside the pot - and also some detailed pictures of the inside - if lucky I´m maybe able telling you a more precise dating.

Here´s btw. a link to my general database as published - I do also keep an extended version for my on-going research - inclusive of documentation and picture archives. Scroll down to the "POST-GROTONS" - and you´ll find several 5-stringers (RB) like yours.

Oct 9, 2020 - 4:12:08 AM

4821 posts since 3/22/2008

The date of manufacture can have an impact on the value of your Gretsch B&D Serenader to some extent. The serial number stamped on the dowel stick will certainly help. Photos of the tone ring are also essential. The Serenader got two different tone rings over the years - first a flathead - later an archtop. The flatheads are scarce. I've attached photos of what the tone rings look like. To see the serial number and tone ring you'll have to remove the resonator by removing the screws attaching the resonator to the rim. It takes a few minutes but not bad and the resonator goes back on the way it came off and reinsert the screws.

Oct 9, 2020 - 5:29:33 AM

12 posts since 1/20/2015

Thank you for your responses. It is a wealth of information. I do not have the banjo yet and I am waiting for more pictures from the seller. We are looking to trade. I have a 4 string B&D and was wondering if the trade was any good. I have included pictures of my 4 string. He also has a 1990’s Deering Deluxe. I would have to throw in $200 with my banjo for the Deluxe


Oct 9, 2020 - 6:58:05 AM

4821 posts since 3/22/2008

I think Polle Flaunoe has eyeballed the Gretsch 5-string correctly. It's probably going to have a 4-ply rim and an archtop tone ring so it depends on what kind of sound you want and if you want a 5-string opposed to a tenor or plectrum. Even original Bacon Co. B&D tenor banjo folks can definitely hear the difference in sound between the Silver Bells with the flat rings and the ones (Symphonie) with an archtop. Also, the Gretsch Serenader in question is not complete as the mute is missing and the tailpiece is suspect though I don't know if Gretsch had an Oettinger-style 5-string tailpiece but the 4-strings came with them. Polle knows more about your Bacon Co. Silver Bell with the extended fingerboard than me. I just watch Gretsch banjos and Bacon/B&D's made by Gretsch

Oct 9, 2020 - 7:26:49 AM

3600 posts since 3/28/2008

An extra $200 gets you a Deering Deluxe?!? DO IT!

Oct 9, 2020 - 10:21:38 AM

12 posts since 1/20/2015

It’s a 1990’s Deering Deluxe with a slight bow to the neck. Is it worth it?

Oct 9, 2020 - 12:54:10 PM

3600 posts since 3/28/2008

Hmmm--did they change the specs at some point? If this "Deluxe" has the basic Mastertone construction (heavy wooden rim, tone ting, flange, resonator), it might be worth it. Is the "slight bow" just a matter of truss rod adjustment?

Oct 9, 2020 - 7:58:26 PM

12 posts since 1/20/2015

Not sure if they changed the design but it would be nice to know. He said he was as going to try to straighten the neck ( he is a luthier) so I would imagine it is a truss rod issue. He would take my banjo for $900 and take $200 cash. Good deal?

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