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Nov 27, 2020 - 12:50:03 PM
1 posts since 11/27/2020

I need help identifying an old banjo that belonged to my stepfather’s great-grandfather. Not sure exactly how old it is and the only words found on it are: “GROVER PATENT Presto” (found on the tailpiece) and “GROVER PAT.” (found on the back of the tuning pegs. The banjo does have some damage as well as seen in the attached photos.

Nov 27, 2020 - 1:15:24 PM

1285 posts since 3/1/2012

Gonna need photos. The Grover patents are modern.

Nov 27, 2020 - 3:30:52 PM
likes this

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


24240 posts since 6/25/2005

Further, Grover made parts, not banjos—so those parts tell you nothing about the banjos maker.

Nov 27, 2020 - 3:35:13 PM

2442 posts since 4/7/2010

Originally posted by IMBanjoJim

Gonna need photos. The Grover patents are modern.

Grover Patent Presto tailpiece and tuning pegs stamped Grover Patent were first put on banjos in the 1920's. So not exactly "modern".

I've attached a few pictures of some vintage parts I have had in stock.

Colin, you mentioned "attached photos" in your original post. There are no photos. Hopefuly you can post them to the forum to get some good opinions on the manufacturer of your banjo.


Bob Smakula


Edited by - Bob Smakula on 11/27/2020 15:42:10

Nov 27, 2020 - 10:24:33 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


24240 posts since 6/25/2005

(Found the pix)  Just as a guess: possibilities: Gretsch; One of the Midwestern makers: Lyon&Healy (less likely), Stromberg-Voisenet/Kay (good chance), Slingerland, Harmony (reasonable chance), Regal. The Midwestern companies were almost incestuous in their designs for instruments, so its hard to say without getting a look at the inside of the banjo with the resonator off—and even that may not be enough.

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 11/27/2020 22:33:55

Nov 28, 2020 - 12:43:29 AM

4343 posts since 5/29/2004

I believe their was Warwick or Warick Grover who made banjos in the UK before moving to New Zealand and that they were decent instruments?

Nov 28, 2020 - 1:50:08 AM

56460 posts since 12/14/2005

Welcome to the Hangout, Mr. Hatman.

I don't know what kind of banjo it is, but the pictures ( on your homepage) do show it to be a nice one.

Yuo can copy and paste them here, by clicking ATTACHMENTS at the bottom of your screen, then PHOTO, and just follow the prompts.

Nov 28, 2020 - 4:10 AM

4821 posts since 3/22/2008

Your banjo is a Kay. It was made by the Kay Musical Instrument Co., Chicago, Ill. that was established in 1931. Would estimate the year of your banjo as ca. 1935. It is a 19 fret tenor banjo that was very popular in the jazz age 1920's. It's popularity diminished during the 30's. The flange with the decorative sound holes is made of some pretty strong pot metal but I think I see that your flange is broken back at about 5-6 o'clock area that rests on leg or lap when banjo played. Banjo might have been dropped at some point?

Edited by - beezaboy on 11/28/2020 04:11:25

Nov 28, 2020 - 6:50:33 AM

8032 posts since 8/28/2013

The broken flange John Hoft points out may only be a fold of the cloth the banjo is resting on that's covering the flange.

Stromberg-Voisinet, the company that became Kay, is also a possibilty. The Kay would have a screw in the bottom of the neck heel and a metal rod inside holding the neck on. An S-V woudl not have the screw and the neck would be attached with a wooden "dowelstick." In all other aspects, they are the same basic banjo.

Yours is one of their fancier models.

Nov 28, 2020 - 7:38:13 AM

5833 posts since 9/21/2007

More specifically, the Grover Presto tailpiece was announced in June of 1923.

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