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Jan 18, 2021 - 12:35:02 AM
105 posts since 10/11/2019

I don't have possession of this banjo yet but I'm interested in your thoughts on it. It needs a lot of work. Possibly a new fret board. I think it may have originally been fret less? Rather than hook shoes, it appears to have a wood band screwed on around the spun over hoop through which the hooks pass in between the screws. Curious. I've not seen that before? This is not a high end banjo I know but there's just something about it that I like. The handmade wooden case especially. Victorian drawer pull as it's handle. It may have been a one off home built project. What do all of you think? Thanks as always. Bill Benton




 

Edited by - wannabe picker on 01/18/2021 00:39:23

Jan 18, 2021 - 12:38:07 AM
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105 posts since 10/11/2019

Here are a few more pictures.....




 

Edited by - wannabe picker on 01/18/2021 00:41:17

Jan 18, 2021 - 4:29:32 AM
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1728 posts since 6/2/2010

That case really is cool. I wonder if that wood band for the hooks was original to the banjo - hard to tell from the pics.

Jan 18, 2021 - 6:04:11 AM
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1545 posts since 4/25/2007

Hard to tell without better photos Bill but from the peghead shape, which has some similarities to Dallas, I'd say English. I agree with Emil about the case and the wood band also yourself on it having been fretless. Be interesting to see some decent photos when you have it in hand.

Edited by - Stephen John Prior on 01/18/2021 06:06:17

Jan 18, 2021 - 8:12:10 AM
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hbick2

USA

302 posts since 6/26/2004

It's hard to tell from the pics but the back of the neck looks pretty crude for a professionally built instrument. It is flat, like it was made from a piece of lumber. The heel may have been built up with an additional piece of wood. Try to get some better pictures.

Jan 18, 2021 - 9:22:19 AM
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209 posts since 5/25/2015

The profile of those era necks is often a rounded "V" shape right up to where the peghead fans out isn't it? I wonder if someone has shaved the profile of this down to make it thinner and more rounded? That might also account for the state of the finish on the neck. You could think about turning it back into a fretless if the fretboard can be removed cleanly. I like the case as well: it looks like a skilled home-made job. I bet its heavy to carry around though...

Jan 18, 2021 - 11:26:45 AM

105 posts since 10/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by gentrixuk

The profile of those era necks is often a rounded "V" shape right up to where the peghead fans out isn't it? I wonder if someone has shaved the profile of this down to make it thinner and more rounded? That might also account for the state of the finish on the neck. You could think about turning it back into a fretless if the fretboard can be removed cleanly. I like the case as well: it looks like a skilled home-made job. I bet its heavy to carry around though...


I agree. I will definitely take more photos when I get it apart. I should easily be able to see if it ever had hook shoes since the marks will still be there. With THE CHINA VIRUS running wild here, the mail is very slow. I feel bad that so many postman are sick. Some small post offices are even closed. I'll let you all know more after I get it. Thanks for all your comments. Stay safe and well all of you, Bill

Jan 21, 2021 - 12:54:28 PM
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208 posts since 4/17/2015

I have a Dallas instrument, and the peghead shape is the same as this, with the exception of the very top. I would guess the same lad who was handy with a wood rasp could easily made that modification as well. Mine shares the long heel cap (but with a screwed on metal (German silver?) plate), gracefully champhered strut, and pointy neck attachment hardware as well. I have not been around many English banjos, so perhaps those are common features. My Dallas has a very sharp "V" shaped neck from around where the fifth string is, and perhaps someone thought it was a good idea to use a rasp or spoke shave to round/flatten that out? Just wanted to add some comparisons to my own instrument of that make. An astounding and attractive case!

Jan 22, 2021 - 1:13:37 PM

105 posts since 10/11/2019

By the way. I should be getting this banjo sometime next week. In the meantime, after close examination of the sellers photos, I think I'm just going to replace the fret board. Since it has pearl dots all the way down the neck it probably was fretless. What are your opinions about either replacing it with or without frets as would be reflected in the value? Plus any UK sources for un-slotted ebony? Thanks all. Bill

Jan 22, 2021 - 1:42:14 PM
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5942 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by wannabe picker

By the way. I should be getting this banjo sometime next week. In the meantime, after close examination of the sellers photos, I think I'm just going to replace the fret board. Since it has pearl dots all the way down the neck it probably was fretless. What are your opinions about either replacing it with or without frets as would be reflected in the value? Plus any UK sources for un-slotted ebony? Thanks all. Bill


Dots down the side at every position were called "professional frets" and were found on smooth arm banjos.

As long as you maintain the original side dots the replacing the board back to smooth is fine IMHO.

As to "value", there ain't much so do what you want.

Jan 22, 2021 - 3:46:38 PM
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56634 posts since 12/14/2005

"Ahh, yes! I do so enjoy the half-savage twang of the banjo! Sit here, and DO  give us a tune."

HRH Victoria

Jan 23, 2021 - 4:00:09 AM
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1545 posts since 4/25/2007

 
quote:https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BANJO-FINGERBOARD-EBONY-SLOTTED-665mm-SCALE/184391118440? ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649 
Hi Bill. Seeing as you only want the one piece. You could try this guy, he's really helpful. I'm sure he supplied me with an un-slotted ebony board once. If you have no luck get back to me.

Originally posted by wannabe picker
fter close examination of the sellers photos, I think I'm just going to replace the fret board. Since it has pearl dots all the way down the neck it probably was fretless. What are your opinions about either replacing it with or without frets as would be reflected in the value? Plus any UK sources for un-slotted ebony? Thanks all. Bill
Jan 25, 2021 - 10:26:13 AM

105 posts since 10/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by wannabe picker

By the way. I should be getting this banjo sometime next week. In the meantime, after close examination of the sellers photos, I think I'm just going to replace the fret board. Since it has pearl dots all the way down the neck it probably was fretless. What are your opinions about either replacing it with or without frets as would be reflected in the value? Plus any UK sources for un-slotted ebony? Thanks all. Bill


Dots down the side at every position were called "professional frets" and were found on smooth arm banjos.

As long as you maintain the original side dots the replacing the board back to smooth is fine IMHO.

As to "value", there ain't much so do what you want.


Thanks Joel. I didn't pay much, so it's all good, even if it's just for parts.

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:27:15 AM

105 posts since 10/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior
 
quote:https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BANJO-FINGERBOARD-EBONY-SLOTTED-665mm-SCALE/184391118440? ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649 
Hi Bill. Seeing as you only want the one piece. You could try this guy, he's really helpful. I'm sure he supplied me with an un-slotted ebony board once. If you have no luck get back to me.

Originally posted by wannabe picker
fter close examination of the sellers photos, I think I'm just going to replace the fret board. Since it has pearl dots all the way down the neck it probably was fretless. What are your opinions about either replacing it with or without frets as would be reflected in the value? Plus any UK sources for un-slotted ebony? Thanks all. Bill

 

 


Thanks Stephen very much!

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:31 AM

105 posts since 10/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

"Ahh, yes! I do so enjoy the half-savage twang of the banjo! Sit here, and DO  give us a tune."

HRH Victoria


LOL

Jan 27, 2021 - 8:03:02 PM
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Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2583 posts since 3/10/2008

Does the spacing between the frets bother anyone but me? The distance from nut to 1st fret looks smaller than 1st to 2nd fret. The spacing loos almost equal between the frets near the pot. This looks home made, and some have suggested.

Jan 28, 2021 - 11:22:46 AM
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105 posts since 10/11/2019

Thanks Lew. I have disassembled this banjo now and discovered a few things about it that weren't evident in the sellers photos. First the fret markers on the side of the neck are NOT original. Two, The frets are flush set ivory and appear to be original. The wood band around the rim is also original, There is no evidence that there were ever any hook shoes in it's past. It appears to be an amateur construction. The case is made just for this banjo. It's very well made out of solid wood, no plywood. It's very nice. This banjo will have no great value but I shall enjoy restoring it none the less. I'll post more pictures when I have time. Everyone stay safe and well, Bill

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