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Jan 25, 2021 - 6:49:04 PM
10 posts since 7/15/2013

Hey everyone! I ended up buying 8 banjos from an antique shop that decided to call it quits due to covid. I've already repaired a few of them. I've kept 2 and will likely sell the rest. Anyhow.

Has anyone come across this problem? All the frets on this banjo are gone and some of the mother of pearl like fingerboard pieces are also missing. The remaining pieces on the fingerboard are all about to fall off so everything would have to come off anyhow. I've only seen a 1920's banjo uke that had a similar fingerboard. Any advice on how to proceed? Is it worth trying to save what's on there? I've noticed that the fingerboard is basically leveled with the body/skin/head. Seems like it might just be easier to remove everything and put a new wood fingerboard on top?

I've got no idea who made this either so if someone can shed some light on that too that would be great.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks.




 

Jan 25, 2021 - 7:09:54 PM
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beegee

USA

22181 posts since 7/6/2005

For an ID you'll have to post better pictures of the entire banjo, inside and out.

The pearloid is difficult to find a match, . I have an old BlueBird 5 string that I have repaired the pearloid with pieces robbed from another banjo. You could install a thin rosewood or ebony fingerboard if you choose not to rescue the pearloid.

Jan 25, 2021 - 7:37:21 PM

10 posts since 7/15/2013

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I'll search ebay for some pieces but I may just put a new fingerboard on it. I've got various ones that I already have on hand.

I had more photos for the ID but the forum only lets me upload 3 photos in the post. :(

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:53:28 AM

rcc56

USA

3327 posts since 2/20/2016

The way I look at it, by the time you find some pearloid that sort of matches, and get it and all the loose stuff glued up, you could probably get the new board on, fretted, and the banjo strung up. Me, I'd probably pull the old board rather than slapping the new one on top of it.

I don't see any great collector's value in the banjo. In this case I'd go for practical rather than authentic.

Don't throw out the discarded pearloid, though. Someone might need some to restore a Gibson with a pearloid overlaid board.

Jan 26, 2021 - 6:00:42 AM

8170 posts since 8/28/2013
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I am inclined to agree with Bob Chuckrow. I'd remove the entire fretboard and start fresh, rather than just removing the pearloid. Simply putting a new board on top of the old will change the geometry of the banjo unless it's as thin as the pearloid. Wood that thin could be very difficult to work with.

Jan 26, 2021 - 9:52:56 AM

10 posts since 7/15/2013

Hi guys, thanks for the advice. I agree with you, Bob. In terms of getting it done, it's a longer job keeping redoing the pearloid than making a fingerboard.

And I could see how my wording would have made you think I would plop a fingerboard on top of the old one. I was calling the pearloid the fingerboard because basically that's all there is. It's the neck and the pearloid straight on top, no other wood/fingerboard on there.

Jan 26, 2021 - 10:37:29 AM

650 posts since 2/15/2015

quote:
Originally posted by meneermalik

Hey everyone! I ended up buying 8 banjos from an antique shop that decided to call it quits due to covid. I've already repaired a few of them. I've kept 2 and will likely sell the rest. Anyhow.

Has anyone come across this problem? All the frets on this banjo are gone and some of the mother of pearl like fingerboard pieces are also missing. The remaining pieces on the fingerboard are all about to fall off so everything would have to come off anyhow. I've only seen a 1920's banjo uke that had a similar fingerboard. Any advice on how to proceed? Is it worth trying to save what's on there? I've noticed that the fingerboard is basically leveled with the body/skin/head. Seems like it might just be easier to remove everything and put a new wood fingerboard on top?

I've got no idea who made this either so if someone can shed some light on that too that would be great.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks.


Do u live around Virginia? There's a similar buyout that occurred  and the local indie music store who made the purchase has alot of old parts,  necks, rims etc...

But I do not know if anything has come out of the warehouse, and I don't imagine rummaging is part of the plan.

Are position markers necessary  on this particular banjo?

The reason I ask is... if you were going to replace a fretboard a blank might be a nice option in that there's no dots except perhaps position side markers. No dots means (a) nothing's going to happen to the dots and (b), I think the fingerboard or fretboard integrity is not compromised by drilling down into the wood and interrupting the grain.

Jan 26, 2021 - 2:38:46 PM

413 posts since 5/29/2015

Vanity hair brushes from the 1920s and 1930s were covered in this same material. You might be able to find one of these with similar yellow pearloid in antique malls or ebay. Likewise, banjo repair shops should have similar tenor banjo necks laying off in some corner that the pearloid could be borrowed from.

Jan 27, 2021 - 7:25:41 AM

8170 posts since 8/28/2013
Online Now

Even the pearl that's still in place appears to be curling and damaged, and may even be shrunken. I would never bother with trying to replace only what's missing. You'll need an entire fretboard to do it right.

Jan 27, 2021 - 4:09:21 PM

10 posts since 7/15/2013

Thanks for the replies.

GeoB - I'm in Toronto, Ontario. I imagine with all the lockdowns there's been quite a few opportunities for grabbing up supplies and instruments! This is my third lot of instruments. They just happen to all be banjos. :)

G Porgie and Banner Blue. For a little while I was contemplating repairing/replacing the pearloid but I'm just gonna put a new fingerboard on there. I've got quite a few nice pieces in the workshop that I can use to make a new one with. It'll be easier and overall look nicer. Personally, I'm not a fan of the pearloid and all of the pieces are coming up and some are curling on the corners as Porgie said. It still seems pliable enough to fix those pieces but it's not worth restoring it to what it was. I'll slap a new board on there and sell it off.

I already too the remaining pearloid off last night and the neck was super easy to clean up. I've got a few other instruments to get to first but hopefully on the weekend I'll get to this. Will post a pic once it's completed.

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