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Jan 24, 2021 - 2:57:32 PM
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302 posts since 6/23/2013

Pictured are a pair of S.S.Stewart Thoroughbred banjos with metal tags on the dowel stick.
I don't recall ever seeing another Thoroughbred with a metal tag, maybe I just don't remember. These two are nearly identical except one has a cherry neck and the other one has a walnut neck. Both have a veneer on the back of the peghead. The serial numbers are sequential, 5571 and 5572, which is in the serial number range of the "S.S.Stewart 1889" metal tagged banjos. Anyone know of other metal tag Thoroughbred Stewarts?

Jan 24, 2021 - 3:47:22 PM

1729 posts since 6/2/2010

Pretty cool having a pair like that.

Jan 24, 2021 - 4:36:20 PM
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5955 posts since 9/21/2007

Those are very cool!

The Thoroughbred model was introduced in 1888 (the June & July issue of the Journal).

In the attached introduction, it is stated that they come with a metal engraved plate described exactly like yours. So yours are both year one Thoroughbred banjos.

It is also interesting to see them fretted. SSS was still pushing smooth arm banjos at that time for professionals.


Jan 26, 2021 - 9:46:25 AM
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273 posts since 6/27/2011

Joe : Attached is a clearer version of the last third of the above ad, printed in the June 1889 SSS Journal. (I have omitted most of the "Stewart sizzle").

SSS promotes his new Thoroughbred as an exceptionally fine banjo, best quality, (would he add tags to anything less?), plain fingerboard, limited production, sold direct, not available in stores, fair price, no discount (except for cash sale). Basically, he's capitalizing on his brand name and his market built over the previous decade to sell this "boutique" line direct and eliminate the middle man, for higher profit.

This is an 11 1/2 " rim banjo with 19 or 20 frets. A few years later, thanks to virtuoso A. Farland's input, his best banjo for the money is the Special Thoroughbred, with 22 frets and typically a 10 3/4 " rim (shorter scale length to fit 22 frets on a 19 inch neck, and smaller rim to keep the bridge at, or near, the 3rd point of the diameter).

Jan 27, 2021 - 6:36:31 PM

302 posts since 6/23/2013

Thanks for the info Joel and Shawn, I was hoping that someone that owns or knows of one of these Thoroughbred Stewarts would respond. I just don't remember ever seeing another one and surely there are some out there somewhere.
I would really like to find a fretless version.

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