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Oct 26, 2020 - 9:55:37 PM
17 posts since 10/26/2020

Greetings to you all! I could really use some help!!! Please see all my pictures. I am trying to identify the Banjo that I inherited from a friend. Since I couldn't find any #'s or stamps, labels, well, except the Paul Vincent metal tag on the side, again no ID/model #. I'm almost positive this 4 string Banjo is Birdseye Maple and I think, I might have been told it was a 'Kay'(?) Banjo. But don't remember... Will try to find out. Oh, I was also told the Banjo is 100yrs old (possibly a little older) early 20th century.
The head(skin?) Looks, feels, (& sounds) like new. You can see use but it has been well preserved and is the original. I was told it is actually pig skin not cow.
I'm not quite sure about the tuning pegs. To me they seem a bit wobbly but maybe that was because the bridge wasn't set up on the Banjo. I don't know.
What I found when I took the resonator(?) back off. It has 6 screws, says, "PRINCESS", & has the # 57 hand written on the side(see picture).
I would really like to know how to clean this baby up. What can I use to clean the bracket hooks & pot? What should I stay away from? If the tuning pegs aren't good, is it worth it to change them to something better? Would this be a good starting Banjo? Any recommendations on insurance value? Looking forward to learning & hearing from you soon!


Edited by - divaTsings on 10/27/2020 19:54:46

Oct 27, 2020 - 3:52:44 AM

770 posts since 5/31/2004

Please post more photos of the peghead and hardware.

At any rate, it was purchased at a shop in Brooklyn, my home town. Funny place for that tag to be nailed, though.

Oct 27, 2020 - 4:36:12 AM
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Bill H

USA

1410 posts since 11/7/2010

If I were to guess, possibly a late teens early 20s SS Stewart made by Slingerland or some other maker. Since there are no pictures or description of the neck, the only clue is the tail piece that suggests it may be a five-string. Not likely to have much value, but could probably make a good player.

Oct 27, 2020 - 5:10:17 AM
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2381 posts since 4/7/2010

Pictures needed; Full front, full back, closeup of peghead, closeup of rim hardware, closeup of the Princess stamp on the dowelstick. If the banjo has a case, make sure you take the instrument out of the case.

Like Bill Huntley mentioned, the banjo is likely a Slingerland manufactured instrument. The additional pictures will help confirm.

Bob Smakula

Oct 27, 2020 - 6:26:14 AM
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beegee

USA

21930 posts since 7/6/2005

I am wondering if it is a Slingerland, why it would be missing the typical Slingerland rim cap? And what kind of resonator was screwed on. It may have been the rim cap was removed(if it ever had one) to install whatever kind of resonator it had. Yes. More pictures are needed.

Oct 27, 2020 - 7:50:09 AM
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3396 posts since 5/29/2011

Measure the rim across the bottom from outside to outside. If it is made by Slingerland as I suspect then it should be 10 3/4". As others have mentioned, we need pictures of the neck and peghead. A picture of the rim from the side would be helpful.

Regarding your last questions; It would be a good starter banjo if it is in decent shape. Since it is a tenor banjo, make sure you want to learn music for a tenor. Bluegrass or clawhammer style players use five string banjos. For insurance purposes, the value should be somewhere around $200 to $250. 

No matter who made this banjo it appears to be a beginner to intermediate level instrument.

Edited by - Culloden on 10/27/2020 07:58:45

Oct 27, 2020 - 8:41:15 AM
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7850 posts since 8/28/2013

Please post more pictures. There is absolutely no way to get accurate information without the photos Bob Smakule and others have requested.

It might possibly be a Slingerland, but the missing rim cap strongly indicates that it could be something else.

Oct 27, 2020 - 5:19:52 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

I took lots of pics but could only post 3...How do I post more than 3 pics 
Originally posted by vintagetenor

Please post more photos of the peghead and hardware.

At any rate, it was purchased at a shop in Brooklyn, my home town. Funny place for that tag to be nailed, though.


Oct 27, 2020 - 7:36:12 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thanks so much for your response!! I posted more pictures. 
Originally posted by vintagetenor

Please post more photos of the peghead and hardware.

At any rate, it was purchased at a shop in Brooklyn, my home town. Funny place for that tag to be nailed, though.


Oct 27, 2020 - 7:40:18 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

Thanks everyone for you quick responses! I've posted more pictures for you.

Oct 27, 2020 - 8:11:56 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thank you for your response! I figured out how to post more pictures if you'd like to take a look.
Originally posted by Bill H

If I were to guess, possibly a late teens early 20s SS Stewart made by Slingerland or some other maker. Since there are no pictures or description of the neck, the only clue is the tail piece that suggests it may be a five-string. Not likely to have much value, but could probably make a good player.


Oct 27, 2020 - 8:18:22 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thank you!  I posted more pictures if you'd like to take a look. I'm really just interested in getting it up and running so I can learn to play. The fact that in 100 yrs I will only be the 2nd owner,  I am interested in getting it insured because of who gave it to me & I would want to replace it. 
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

Pictures needed; Full front, full back, closeup of peghead, closeup of rim hardware, closeup of the Princess stamp on the dowelstick. If the banjo has a case, make sure you take the instrument out of the case.

Like Bill Huntley mentioned, the banjo is likely a Slingerland manufactured instrument. The additional pictures will help confirm.

Bob Smakula


Oct 27, 2020 - 8:19:58 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thank you for your response! I posted more pictures for everyone. 
Originally posted by beegee

I am wondering if it is a Slingerland, why it would be missing the typical Slingerland rim cap? And what kind of resonator was screwed on. It may have been the rim cap was removed(if it ever had one) to install whatever kind of resonator it had. Yes. More pictures are needed.


Oct 27, 2020 - 8:25:16 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote:Thank you so much! I did post more photos if you'd like to take a look. I didn't think it would be worth much because of the slotted screws. Because it is a 4 string would it be more like playing a Ukulele or guitar. If so, then it would be much easier for me to sing & play. Thank again a
Originally posted by Culloden

Measure the rim across the bottom from outside to outside. If it is made by Slingerland as I suspect then it should be 10 3/4". As others have mentioned, we need pictures of the neck and peghead. A picture of the rim from the side would be helpful.

Regarding your last questions; It would be a good starter banjo if it is in decent shape. Since it is a tenor banjo, make sure you want to learn music for a tenor. Bluegrass or clawhammer style players use five string banjos. For insurance purposes, the value should be somewhere around $200 to $250. 

No matter who made this banjo it appears to be a beginner to intermediate level instrument.


Oct 27, 2020 - 8:29:20 PM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thank you for your response! I posted more pictures for everyone to see if you want to take a look. 
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

Please post more pictures. There is absolutely no way to get accurate information without the photos Bob Smakule and others have requested.

It might possibly be a Slingerland, but the missing rim cap strongly indicates that it could be something else.


Oct 27, 2020 - 11:12:08 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24060 posts since 6/25/2005

Peghead looks typical of Slingerland (Chicago), but given the dealer location, it could be from an East Coast maker.

Oct 28, 2020 - 3:45:25 AM
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2381 posts since 4/7/2010

Definitely a Slingerland. In the 1920’s manufacturers were shipping things around the US as much as they are today.

Not a valuable instrument, but they can be set up to play well.

Bob Smakula

Oct 28, 2020 - 7:15 AM
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3396 posts since 5/29/2011

With the additional pictures I can see Slingerland features much more clearly. The birdseye rim veneer is a giveaway. The hex shaped bracket shoes suggest 1930's. Older models had shoe shaped bracket shoes. The skin is more likely calf skin or goat skin. Pig skin would not be flexible enough to make a good banjo head.(Think about a football)
If you want to clean it up just use a piece of cotton cloth like an old T shirt. You can dampen it with water but don't use any cleaning solvents. Definitely don't use vinegar around nickel plated parts.
Slingerland banjos came with many names on them because they were made for music distributors. Even though they made mostly lower level pieces, some higher quality instruments came out of their factory as well. Most of them are still in pretty good shape for being eighty or ninety years old.
Try tightening the screws in the tuners before you replace them. If they won't tighten up to where they quit wobbling then you might check with Bob Smakula. He has quality tuners more reasonably priced than most.
Your banjo is definitely good enough to learn on and will probably last you for a long time.

Oct 28, 2020 - 2:23:25 PM
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7850 posts since 8/28/2013

Slingerland made, for sure, but the hex shoes, one piece neck with no binding, and wooden nut indicate it's one of their lesser products.

Still a decent enough banjo to learn on.

Oct 28, 2020 - 9:35:44 PM
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6 posts since 12/21/2008

Clifton Hicks has a video of one that looks a like yours posted here on the Hangout.

Oct 29, 2020 - 9:59:50 AM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote:  Thank you for letting me know! I'll go check it out! 
Originally posted by bearbanjo

Clifton Hicks has a video of one that looks a like yours posted here on the Hangout.


Oct 29, 2020 - 10:02:18 AM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thanks so much for your help!! I'm definitely going to keep it & use it to learn on! 
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

Slingerland made, for sure, but the hex shoes, one piece neck with no binding, and wooden nut indicate it's one of their lesser products.

Still a decent enough banjo to learn on.


Oct 29, 2020 - 10:05:10 AM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thank you soo very much! I appreciate all the feed back you've given me! I will definitely be in touch w/ Bob Smakula to get it up & running. Very excited to have a banjo that will be good for learning on! Thanks again! 
Originally posted by Culloden

With the additional pictures I can see Slingerland features much more clearly. The birdseye rim veneer is a giveaway. The hex shaped bracket shoes suggest 1930's. Older models had shoe shaped bracket shoes. The skin is more likely calf skin or goat skin. Pig skin would not be flexible enough to make a good banjo head.(Think about a football)
If you want to clean it up just use a piece of cotton cloth like an old T shirt. You can dampen it with water but don't use any cleaning solvents. Definitely don't use vinegar around nickel plated parts.
Slingerland banjos came with many names on them because they were made for music distributors. Even though they made mostly lower level pieces, some higher quality instruments came out of their factory as well. Most of them are still in pretty good shape for being eighty or ninety years old.
Try tightening the screws in the tuners before you replace them. If they won't tighten up to where they quit wobbling then you might check with Bob Smakula. He has quality tuners more reasonably priced than most.
Your banjo is definitely good enough to learn on and will probably last you for a long time.


Oct 29, 2020 - 10:18:04 AM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: Thank you Bob! I here you might have parts if needed. I'm going to check all the hooks, shoes, & nuts this weekend when I have the chance. I think I might need to replace 3 of them but not sure. Is there a way to clean the ones that are good?  And if the tuning pegs don't hold is it because they need to be cleaned or just get new ones?
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

Definitely a Slingerland. In the 1920’s manufacturers were shipping things around the US as much as they are today.

Not a valuable instrument, but they can be set up to play well.

Bob Smakula


Oct 29, 2020 - 10:28:09 AM
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2381 posts since 4/7/2010

If you are going to play it, I highly recommend installing a set of Gotoh planetary tuners. Though you can tune and play the banjo with the original friction tuners (tens of thousands tenor banjo players did exactly that 100 years ago) It really is worth the trouble to upgrade.

Bob S.

Oct 29, 2020 - 10:28:19 AM

17 posts since 10/26/2020

quote: What's Clifton's user name?  Since I'm so new here I haven't quite figured out all the different navigational things yet. Wasn't able to find him by his name... could be my lack of knowing how to truly navigate my way through things just yet.
Originally posted by bearbanjo

Clifton Hicks has a video of one that looks a like yours posted here on the Hangout.


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