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Feb 25, 2021 - 5:14:12 PM
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74 posts since 2/7/2014

After 20 years playing bluegrass banjo and another 20 learning old time clawhammer, I saw an ad in GC online advertising a 1930s? Paramount Style B located in West LA, a whole country away, condition good. But it had marked down nearly $400 and GC shipping was only $16. What was there to lose, considering GC's return policy? So I should see it early next week.

So I've decided to keep it as is and give Irish tenor banjo a try. I have a friend with a Style A and he loves it. I've been playing mandolin for 40 years, and have owned and played both octave mandolin and mandola.

My only concern is the unknown condition of the Paramount. But as a repairman and tech with much experience, I can handle refretting and/or neck straightening (I own a Stew Mac neck heater).

If the Irish tenor idea doesnt work out, I'll Redneck it into another 5 string.

So here goes.

Feb 25, 2021 - 5:27:28 PM

74 posts since 5/11/2006

I just picked up two 19 fret tenor banjos last week. A Bacon and Day Senorita and a 1924 Vegaphone Professional. Both tuned GDAE. They are a lot of fun to play Irish fiddle tunes on. Anyone with any mandolin experience should give it a try. They are a blast to play. I'm sure you'll love yours.

Feb 26, 2021 - 12:24:28 PM

DSmoke

USA

969 posts since 11/30/2015
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Good thing you have the experience to make the repairs. I've only ever heard bad stories about vintage banjos from GC. I have one in the shop right now with a broken heel, that was previously repaired, and possibly even broken before they shipped it. My customer, and friend, had no clue and he even talked to them about the banjo. I specialize in the repair/restoration of tenors for Irish trad so please reach out if I can be of any help to you. I've tried to buy banjos from GC in the past and couldn't even get them to send me another picture of it. Please let me know how this works out for you.

Feb 26, 2021 - 4:08:41 PM

74 posts since 2/7/2014

I've bought a lot of used stuff from GC and have developed somewhat of a method. I have them shipped from selling store to my local store ( GC internal shipping charges are really low - $16 on this banjo). When item comes in, I go to store and give it a careful exam. If I don't like it, I refuse it and get a refund. If I like it, I take it home. I've probably kept 75%. GC hasn't hassled me about returns yet, and them seem to sell my returns quickly. After all, my returns have provided my local store with new inventory.

So now I wait.

Feb 26, 2021 - 5:00:43 PM

DSmoke

USA

969 posts since 11/30/2015
Online Now

clawgrasser , thanks, I might just give this a try. The last banjo I was after I called the store and after 5 minutes on hold they told me it was in the locker waiting for restoration. I said, so you won't sell me the banjo, and he replied I can't right now. I think I will have shipped to my local store.

Mar 2, 2021 - 9:24:03 PM

74 posts since 2/7/2014

I picked up the banjo today. Looks pretty decent for $600. Doesn't have the original tailpiece. Everything is moderately dirty and dingy; the whole thing needs disassembly and cleanup. But all the original pieces were there (save tailpiece) and whole. And I already had a usable case.

So I've decided to keep the banjo and now about to do some work.

Mar 3, 2021 - 5:02:50 PM

DSmoke

USA

969 posts since 11/30/2015
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quote:
Originally posted by clawgrasser

I picked up the banjo today. Looks pretty decent for $600. Doesn't have the original tailpiece. Everything is moderately dirty and dingy; the whole thing needs disassembly and cleanup. But all the original pieces were there (save tailpiece) and whole. And I already had a usable case.

So I've decided to keep the banjo and now about to do some work.


Good to hear, I might give it a shot.  Just to confirm, if you don't like the item for the price at your local store you refuse it and they refund you your money.

Mar 3, 2021 - 5:45:28 PM

74 posts since 2/7/2014

On vintage pieces the return window is 72 hours.

Only two flaws I notice on disassembly. The heel has a partial crack on one side. Since the crack is limited and on only side of the three piece neck, I'll just repair it. The neck will need some straightening, so I'll have to fire the heater up. All the nickel parts will need Never Dull.

I'll just take it slow.

Mar 4, 2021 - 4:20:55 PM

DSmoke

USA

969 posts since 11/30/2015
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Is your B walnut? I've had to straighten a few of the A's over the years, but I've not had a walnut B in my hands yet. The Paramount's heel design is very fragile, and often found cracked. If one side might be cracked take a look and make sure the dowel is still tight.

Mar 5, 2021 - 7:33:52 PM

74 posts since 2/7/2014

Mine is maple. I'll check the dowel. I'm finding that the fretboard is very fragile. I've had to do some repair. The fret ends are snaggly and I have to careful with the file.

Mar 6, 2021 - 4:22:54 AM
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DSmoke

USA

969 posts since 11/30/2015
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I would be very curious to see yours. I have a maple Paramount B right now, it's a very early model. I am actually putting new frets in today. Here is a link to mine, well it's sold so technically not mine now.

https://tradbanjo.com/collections/sold-banjos/products/paramount-style-b

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:51:35 PM
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74 posts since 2/7/2014

Mine is similar. Yours is cleaner. Mine has certainly has a weathered patina on both finish and metal surfaces. Not deeply tarnished or pitted, but showing its age. Came without a case, maybe explaining the appearance. Although the fretboard was not overly worn, the wood is kind of fragile.

I've heat straightened the neck and leveled and profiled the frets. I hope the neck maintains it's straightness, but I own the neck heater.

Will start to reassemble soon.

Mar 20, 2021 - 7:34:49 AM

50 posts since 2/18/2021

quote:
Originally posted by DSmoke

I would be very curious to see yours. I have a maple Paramount B right now, it's a very early model. I am actually putting new frets in today. Here is a link to mine, well it's sold so technically not mine now.

https://tradbanjo.com/collections/sold-banjos/products/paramount-style-b


Hey CG....did you get it back together? How's she playing? 

Apr 8, 2021 - 6:51:54 AM

4595 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by clawgrasser

On vintage pieces the return window is 72 hours.

Only two flaws I notice on disassembly. The heel has a partial crack on one side. Since the crack is limited and on only side of the three piece neck, I'll just repair it. The neck will need some straightening, so I'll have to fire the heater up. All the nickel parts will need Never Dull.

I'll just take it slow.

Response:  The heel on those vintage Paramounts are notoriously susceptible to cracking, as they are on the thin side. The heel on my Leader broke twice (two differents places) over the 40 years I owned it, and I always treated it with care.

 


Edited by - mainejohn on 04/08/2021 06:52:36

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