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Feb 26, 2021 - 11:05:55 PM
7 posts since 9/1/2020

I’ve owned 8 Farland Artist Grands, 5 of which were#2’s. 5of the eight of them had no lettering left, 1 had obviously homemade attempts at re-lettering, and the other 2 had good original lettering. None of them had etched or ingraved lettering. One of the two I still have I had Renee Karns engrave the original lettering & little ornamentation and then inked. Looks perfect, and will last because of the i gracing. It’s my belief that Farland or any helpers could put whatever he wanted on them. ALL of the ones I had and still have, have very different little ornamentation around the lettering. I have seen a banjo with exact Farland inlays that resembled all of the Artist Grands in every way except for a completely different heel carving that looked more like a Stewart or Bay State style carving. The peghead name inlays had the upper and lower blank, with the name Washburn on the middle inlay. Some custom order? Likely. I always thought it strange that the names on them weren’t applied in a way that would last. If you polish them at all, the names start to fade. Since no other Farland inlays are ingraved, he must have followed suit and just inked as needed. This is my opinion, but based on pretty good observation. Also, I’ve tried many different strings. Steel, gut, nylons too, and in my opinion also, Aguila classical nylguts play the best, tune the best, and clearly sound the best ! J.W. “Luke” Lane

Feb 27, 2021 - 7:37:10 AM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

I have one of the Farland Artist's Grand banjos, and like the detail he brought to the construction of his banjos. Here is the peghead. How do you tell if it is a #1 or #2? I have other photos I can post if they help define it.


Feb 27, 2021 - 8:03:08 AM

1728 posts since 1/13/2012

Most Farlands appear to have been made by Rettberg & Lange, for Farland to resell, ornperhaps Farland was assembling them from R&L made parts. I'd imagine silk screening faux engraved designs on the inlays was just a cheaper way of doing it, vs. actual engraving. Or, perhaps R&L didn't have anyone working for them who could engrave... off the top of my head, I can't remember having seen a R&L-made banjo with engraved inlay.

Edited by - Andy FitzGibbon on 02/27/2021 08:04:11

Feb 27, 2021 - 3:29:08 PM

7 posts since 9/1/2020

As to the identifying the Farland Artist Grands, the distinctions between the #2’s and the Artist Grands would be that the #2’s have more, and slightly more elaborate abalone inlay on the peghead as well as a slightly larger and more elaborate heel carving as well, and that is it. I have never seen or heard of a #1 style. In the two catalogs (reprints) I have, a 1902 & a 1912 I believe, the images of the differences between the two models though fuzzy, show these distinctions quite well. I too have never seen any Farlands or other R & L related banjos with any engraved inlays.Paramounts being the exception I suppose, so no early ones anyway. I was always drawn to the Farland “full relief “ heel carvings. A great style, always beautiful. Although the Farlands were not my best players, I just love ‘em for their beautiful styling and asthetics. They are grand indeed !As I stated, I had the names and little ornamenture around them ingraved on my #2 without the fingerboard extension done to preserve the lettering, someday I plan to have my other one with the fingerboard extension done the same way as well. It’s very barely noticeable and not going to fade away now. As to the harp tone devise, I pieced together a combination of surviving parts to get one working just for the hell of it, and thought it sounded pretty rediculous and removed it straight away! As far as dating them goes, no way to be dead on accurate goes, but if you have one with the ebony wedge for the neck adjuster you can safely assume it’s a 1902 - 1910 or so, and with the metal brace with ebony wedges 1912 on into the teens thereabouts. Anyone ever see or hear about a “Baby Grand” with #2 features ? That’s one I’d like to have ! - J.W.L.

Feb 28, 2021 - 7:09:30 AM
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288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by j w lane

As to the identifying the Farland Artist Grands, the distinctions between the #2’s and the Artist Grands would be that the #2’s have more, and slightly more elaborate abalone inlay on the peghead as well as a slightly larger and more elaborate heel carving as well, and that is it. I have never seen or heard of a #1 style. In the two catalogs (reprints) I have, a 1902 & a 1912 I believe, the images of the differences between the two models though fuzzy, show these distinctions quite well. I too have never seen any Farlands or other R & L related banjos with any engraved inlays.Paramounts being the exception I suppose, so no early ones anyway. I was always drawn to the Farland “full relief “ heel carvings. A great style, always beautiful. Although the Farlands were not my best players, I just love ‘em for their beautiful styling and asthetics. They are grand indeed !As I stated, I had the names and little ornamenture around them ingraved on my #2 without the fingerboard extension done to preserve the lettering, someday I plan to have my other one with the fingerboard extension done the same way as well. It’s very barely noticeable and not going to fade away now. As to the harp tone devise, I pieced together a combination of surviving parts to get one working just for the hell of it, and thought it sounded pretty rediculous and removed it straight away! As far as dating them goes, no way to be dead on accurate goes, but if you have one with the ebony wedge for the neck adjuster you can safely assume it’s a 1902 - 1910 or so, and with the metal brace with ebony wedges 1912 on into the teens thereabouts. Anyone ever see or hear about a “Baby Grand” with #2 features ? That’s one I’d like to have ! - J.W.L.


A Baby Grand with #2 features?!! The few I've seen are pretty plain and no carved heel... #2 features... that would indeed be something to see... and own! It sounds like you have quite a few of the Artist Grands. I have heard that they had no serial numbers on them, but I know that his very first and only model at the time, the Concert Grand, made in 1900 until the 1902 catalogue, did have 3 digit numbers imprinted into the tension hoop and the rim where the neck joins. Mine is 057 another I know of had 047 and recently I had someone who had one search for his number and his was 340 but he wasn't sure about the three as the ebony wedge was in the way. Have you ever seen a serial on yours?

Feb 28, 2021 - 3:54:25 PM
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19 posts since 11/7/2019

A.A. Farland - I have an original scrap book of Farland and Fairbanks pictures and letters . Contains large photo of Phenomenal Banjoist Mr. Alfred A. Farland , and letters from Farland on his letterhead, dated 6-21-02, and 7-22-08. Also , have pictures of endorsers of Fairbanks Whyte -Laydie banjos from early 1900's - and letters from The A.C. Fairbanks Co. , signed by David Day , dated Aug. 30, '07. I will try to post these as time permits -

Feb 28, 2021 - 6:59:12 PM

6096 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by John Brinegar

A.A. Farland - I have an original scrap book of Farland and Fairbanks pictures and letters . Contains large photo of Phenomenal Banjoist Mr. Alfred A. Farland , and letters from Farland on his letterhead, dated 6-21-02, and 7-22-08. Also , have pictures of endorsers of Fairbanks Whyte -Laydie banjos from early 1900's - and letters from The A.C. Fairbanks Co. , signed by David Day , dated Aug. 30, '07. I will try to post these as time permits -


This sounds amazing!  I can't wait to see them!!

Mar 1, 2021 - 8:18:18 AM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by John Brinegar

A.A. Farland - I have an original scrap book of Farland and Fairbanks pictures and letters . Contains large photo of Phenomenal Banjoist Mr. Alfred A. Farland , and letters from Farland on his letterhead, dated 6-21-02, and 7-22-08. Also , have pictures of endorsers of Fairbanks Whyte -Laydie banjos from early 1900's - and letters from The A.C. Fairbanks Co. , signed by David Day , dated Aug. 30, '07. I will try to post these as time permits -


Wow! I look forward to that posting!

Mar 1, 2021 - 8:54:41 AM

6096 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by John Brinegar

A.A. Farland - I have an original scrap book of Farland and Fairbanks pictures and letters . Contains large photo of Phenomenal Banjoist Mr. Alfred A. Farland , and letters from Farland on his letterhead, dated 6-21-02, and 7-22-08. Also , have pictures of endorsers of Fairbanks Whyte -Laydie banjos from early 1900's - and letters from The A.C. Fairbanks Co. , signed by David Day , dated Aug. 30, '07. I will try to post these as time permits -


If you were so inclined to scan the entire work, then you could upload it to the Internet Archive.  If you don't want to bother then I upload it for you.

This way it would be preserved for future generations.  it would also be protected from future loss of fire, flood, or family tossing into the bin when you pass.

This sort of thing is an extremely important historical piece of documentation.

Mar 1, 2021 - 7:34:26 PM

7 posts since 9/1/2020

Back again. I’m not sure if this reply goes out to Joel or Willie, but thanks for reminding me about the early serial #’s on the Farland rims and tension hoops. I had forgotten about them! Of the 2 Artist Grands I still have, the early one with the Ebony wedge and no fingerboard extension, it is # 034 very boldly stamped. Something else I forgot to mention, on the paper Farland label on the dowel stick, it does say “Artist Grand #2”. My other, with the fingerboard extension has a number 3, stamped in the same location. This one has the metal brace with the 2wedges. The others I’ve had are long gone to me and if I knew their #’s, I don’t remember them. The one with the #3 does not have the A.G. #2 on the paper dowel stick Farland label. Also the early one has a 12” rim and the later one with the F.B. Extension has a 13” rim. The info with your letter & pictures sounds most interesting, and I’d love to check that out ! All of this Farland news has been very enlightening to say the least. Hope my observations and input has been helpful also! And yeah, if a baby grand with #2 features ever showed up, I’d dig deep for that one! The 2 I’ve seen were completely plain. Still very cool though!

Mar 1, 2021 - 10:48:04 PM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by j w lane

Back again. I’m not sure if this reply goes out to Joel or Willie, but thanks for reminding me about the early serial #’s on the Farland rims and tension hoops. I had forgotten about them! Of the 2 Artist Grands I still have, the early one with the Ebony wedge and no fingerboard extension, it is # 034 very boldly stamped. Something else I forgot to mention, on the paper Farland label on the dowel stick, it does say “Artist Grand #2”. My other, with the fingerboard extension has a number 3, stamped in the same location. This one has the metal brace with the 2wedges. The others I’ve had are long gone to me and if I knew their #’s, I don’t remember them. The one with the #3 does not have the A.G. #2 on the paper dowel stick Farland label. Also the early one has a 12” rim and the later one with the F.B. Extension has a 13” rim. The info with your letter & pictures sounds most interesting, and I’d love to check that out ! All of this Farland news has been very enlightening to say the least. Hope my observations and input has been helpful also! And yeah, if a baby grand with #2 features ever showed up, I’d dig deep for that one! The 2 I’ve seen were completely plain. Still very cool though!


Well that is interesting. Then maybe those numbers are used just to match the pot to the correct hoop rather than serial numbers because your number was #034 and Farland didn't start manufacturing the Artist Grands until 1902. My Concert grand was marked #057 and was made in late 1900 or sometime in 1901. The peg head inlay was changed on my model in 1902 when the Artists came out and the Concert became the third in line from the top. So my earlier banjo would the have a higher number than your later banjo. So... maybe not really serial numbers... unless they had separate numbers for the different models??? This totally changes what I was thinking.

Mar 2, 2021 - 1:16:08 AM

7 posts since 9/1/2020

Yeah Willie, it does make you wonder what was Mr. Farland thinking. The 3 digit numbers sure seem like serial numbers alright, but my other one with just a number 3, does seem more like a parts match doesn’t it? Will we ever know? I wonder.Anyone have any more light to shine on this ?

Mar 10, 2021 - 5:28:12 AM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

The Artist's Grand I have has a "0" stamped in the tension hoop. I don't remember seeing this stamped in the rim, but will look the next time I take it apart. It has the ebony wedge.

Mar 11, 2021 - 2:13:01 PM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

The Artist's Grand I have has a "0" stamped in the tension hoop. I don't remember seeing this stamped in the rim, but will look the next time I take it apart. It has the ebony wedge.


I can see 05 on one side of my wedge and 7 on the other side so I can see the whole 057 without taking anything apart.

Mar 14, 2021 - 4:23:31 PM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

The Artist's Grand I have has a "0" stamped in the tension hoop. I don't remember seeing this stamped in the rim, but will look the next time I take it apart. It has the ebony wedge.


I can see 05 on one side of my wedge and 7 on the other side so I can see the whole 057 without taking anything apart.


I popped the ebony wedge out, and there is a 0 stamped in the rim on the head side of the dowel stick.

I just noticed that the paper sticker has the letters WG written in outline and shaded in on it.


Edited by - rmcdow on 03/14/2021 16:35:39

Mar 18, 2021 - 9:19:14 AM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

The Artist's Grand I have has a "0" stamped in the tension hoop. I don't remember seeing this stamped in the rim, but will look the next time I take it apart. It has the ebony wedge.


I can see 05 on one side of my wedge and 7 on the other side so I can see the whole 057 without taking anything apart.


I popped the ebony wedge out, and there is a 0 stamped in the rim on the head side of the dowel stick.

I just noticed that the paper sticker has the letters WG written in outline and shaded in on it.


Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!

Mar 19, 2021 - 4:02:34 AM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Edited by - rmcdow on 03/19/2021 04:04:46

Mar 19, 2021 - 5:45:17 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13809 posts since 8/30/2006

I had a small part in Rive's Farland, I loved the backstrap and the carved heel.

The seller couldn't have cared less.

Anything that got Joel Hooks attention is ok by me. It's a birdseye neck. Preserve, protect and play.

Mar 20, 2021 - 7:55:02 AM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Your Artist Grand looks like it could be one of the earlier models between 1902 - 1908ish I have a Farland catalog from 1902 (yours looks most like that year) and another 1915. by 1915 your model had added a  fur de lis to the back of the peghead  I wish there were more.  Yours has the green and red colored layers under the black back strap. I have seen later models where they didnt have that nice touch and the workmanship seemed to be waning by that time. you mentioned that you had the mute (the Farland Harp Attachmennt) mine has a 1901 patent date on the brass lever that disengages the mute. Does yours also have a date?? 




Mar 20, 2021 - 2:01:59 PM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Your Artist Grand looks like it could be one of the earlier models between 1902 - 1908ish I have a Farland catalog from 1902 (yours looks most like that year) and another 1915. by 1915 your model had added a  fur de lis to the back of the peghead  I wish there were more.  Yours has the green and red colored layers under the black back strap. I have seen later models where they didnt have that nice touch and the workmanship seemed to be waning by that time. you mentioned that you had the mute (the Farland Harp Attachmennt) mine has a 1901 patent date on the brass lever that disengages the mute. Does yours also have a date?? 


The mute on mine is incomplete, as pictured before I took the banjo apart, mounted a new head, and gave it a cleaning.  It doesn't have a place to  stamp a patent date, as the handle is bent wire, so possibly it was made before that part that yours has (the spade shaped flat part) was made with the patent date.  It is missing the wooden part that pushes up against the back of the head.  I haven't had the chance to make that part yet, but looking at yours and some other photos and the Farland ad I saw for the mute, I think I can make it and get it to work.  

There are four holes in the back inside of the pot, at the top right of the photo.  I think they must be for eye hooks that the string would go through to the back of the mute, but don't know for sure.  


Edited by - rmcdow on 03/20/2021 14:02:53

Mar 20, 2021 - 7:53:01 PM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Your Artist Grand looks like it could be one of the earlier models between 1902 - 1908ish I have a Farland catalog from 1902 (yours looks most like that year) and another 1915. by 1915 your model had added a  fur de lis to the back of the peghead  I wish there were more.  Yours has the green and red colored layers under the black back strap. I have seen later models where they didnt have that nice touch and the workmanship seemed to be waning by that time. you mentioned that you had the mute (the Farland Harp Attachmennt) mine has a 1901 patent date on the brass lever that disengages the mute. Does yours also have a date?? 


The mute on mine is incomplete, as pictured before I took the banjo apart, mounted a new head, and gave it a cleaning.  It doesn't have a place to  stamp a patent date, as the handle is bent wire, so possibly it was made before that part that yours has (the spade shaped flat part) was made with the patent date.  It is missing the wooden part that pushes up against the back of the head.  I haven't had the chance to make that part yet, but looking at yours and some other photos and the Farland ad I saw for the mute, I think I can make it and get it to work.  

There are four holes in the back inside of the pot, at the top right of the photo.  I think they must be for eye hooks that the string would go through to the back of the mute, but don't know for sure.  


Now that I see your dowel stick I see that it doesn't have the paper label that has AA Farland and the price of the banjo on it that was used on the early banjos. Yours is printed or burned in to the stick so it is a bit later. I wonder if that would be a way to help date them by knowing when he changed from the paper label name to the burned into the wood name??  The holes in the side are actually the holes that would have mounted the same lever as mine for the harp attachment. The Farland harp attachment was sold by Farland in the mid 1890's before he ever made any banjos and was a similar design. He began advertising his first banjos in October of 1900.  That wire lever you have is something not related to the Farland. It may have been a lever different type of mute.

Mar 20, 2021 - 8:08:37 PM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Your Artist Grand looks like it could be one of the earlier models between 1902 - 1908ish I have a Farland catalog from 1902 (yours looks most like that year) and another 1915. by 1915 your model had added a  fur de lis to the back of the peghead  I wish there were more.  Yours has the green and red colored layers under the black back strap. I have seen later models where they didnt have that nice touch and the workmanship seemed to be waning by that time. you mentioned that you had the mute (the Farland Harp Attachmennt) mine has a 1901 patent date on the brass lever that disengages the mute. Does yours also have a date?? 


The mute on mine is incomplete, as pictured before I took the banjo apart, mounted a new head, and gave it a cleaning.  It doesn't have a place to  stamp a patent date, as the handle is bent wire, so possibly it was made before that part that yours has (the spade shaped flat part) was made with the patent date.  It is missing the wooden part that pushes up against the back of the head.  I haven't had the chance to make that part yet, but looking at yours and some other photos and the Farland ad I saw for the mute, I think I can make it and get it to work.  

There are four holes in the back inside of the pot, at the top right of the photo.  I think they must be for eye hooks that the string would go through to the back of the mute, but don't know for sure.  


Here are better shots of my label when I first got it and the Harp attachment.




Mar 21, 2021 - 2:19:25 AM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Your Artist Grand looks like it could be one of the earlier models between 1902 - 1908ish I have a Farland catalog from 1902 (yours looks most like that year) and another 1915. by 1915 your model had added a  fur de lis to the back of the peghead  I wish there were more.  Yours has the green and red colored layers under the black back strap. I have seen later models where they didnt have that nice touch and the workmanship seemed to be waning by that time. you mentioned that you had the mute (the Farland Harp Attachmennt) mine has a 1901 patent date on the brass lever that disengages the mute. Does yours also have a date?? 


The mute on mine is incomplete, as pictured before I took the banjo apart, mounted a new head, and gave it a cleaning.  It doesn't have a place to  stamp a patent date, as the handle is bent wire, so possibly it was made before that part that yours has (the spade shaped flat part) was made with the patent date.  It is missing the wooden part that pushes up against the back of the head.  I haven't had the chance to make that part yet, but looking at yours and some other photos and the Farland ad I saw for the mute, I think I can make it and get it to work.  

There are four holes in the back inside of the pot, at the top right of the photo.  I think they must be for eye hooks that the string would go through to the back of the mute, but don't know for sure.  


Here are better shots of my label when I first got it and the Harp attachment.


It looks like the owner of the Farland I had took off the original harp attachment and tried his own cobbled together mute.  As I said, the wooden mute itself was missing, but it looks like the metal part on the dowel is original.  

I've put together a list of the four banjos discussed here so far, with details about them.  Maybe as other Farland's surface, we could make sense of the evolution and numbering.  


Mar 21, 2021 - 9:57:54 AM

rmcdow

USA

910 posts since 11/8/2014

BTW, the Farland I have had a buzz on the third fret when the fourth string was fretted. The fret was raised a bit on that end, an easy fix.

Mar 21, 2021 - 11:40:39 AM

6096 posts since 9/21/2007

rmcdow , yeah I was thinking that your mute did not look right. See below for an early ad from the SSS Journal. There were two patents for these, and I presume two versions. Both had a metal paddle lever.

For everyone else reading this, the Farland Harp Attachment works the opposite of how a Bacon or Hartnett soft pedal mute works. The Harp Attachment is always on (the banjo is muted in the default position) and requires pressure against the chest to let the banjo sound like a banjo. In his later plectrum tutor he recommended keeping something with a "wide and flat surface" in your breast pocket for pressing the lever for "natural banjo tone".

Farland had his own ideas on how a banjo should sound, and his ideas were not that popular. There was at lease one instance where he got cut from a major concert because he could not be heard and was replaced by Vess Ossman.

He stopped using piano accompaniments because he played too quietly, even with a pick. With his constant use of the Harp Attachment, metal heads and wood rims, he could just not project his tone.

He was slowly loosing his hearing, eventually becoming mostly deaf at the end of his life. I believe this contributed to his ideas on what a banjo should sound like.

When he was first discovered he took the banjo world by storm with his virtuosity. The problem was his choice of music just did not go over well with the public and he struggled to fill concerts.

People loved the idea of Farland but his insistence on playing "classical music" was a snooze fest for most people. Paying customers wanted to hear popular music, marches, ragtime, polkas, "characteristic pieces" (aka, pieces composed to sound like Black music), etc.. Farland's arrangements of violin music with constant tremolo was an interesting novelty. It looked good and fancy in print. Banjoists liked the idea of "serious music". But they liked eating and paying bills better.


 

Edited by - Joel Hooks on 03/21/2021 11:41:11

Mar 23, 2021 - 8:28:06 PM

288 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

Any idea of when yours was made? I heard that the later models had no serial numbers, just numbers to match all the parts to a single banjo. That may be what our 3 digit numbers are as well on our earlier models which all seem to have a three digit number on the tension hoop and the inside of the pot near the neck. . The WG may have been initials of a previous owner!


I don't know when mine was made, and it does seem that the 0 on it is there to match the tension hoop to the pot.  It has a nicely carved heel, and the backstrap connecting the neck to the peghead.  Does anyone know a way to date the Farland's by the design elements?  If the numbers on the pot and tension hoop were used to match the hoop to the pot, the OP has one with a single digit 3, the rest that have been reported are three digit numbers.  One idea would be to line up photos of all these side by side and see if there is any obvious design development that could be linked to the numbers.  I'll ask the OP if he can post a photo of the two he has.  The one I have has the mute that comes up under the bridge, which I don't have installed right now, as there is a part missing I need to make first.    Here is a photo of the heel and the back of the peghead of the one I have.


Your Artist Grand looks like it could be one of the earlier models between 1902 - 1908ish I have a Farland catalog from 1902 (yours looks most like that year) and another 1915. by 1915 your model had added a  fur de lis to the back of the peghead  I wish there were more.  Yours has the green and red colored layers under the black back strap. I have seen later models where they didnt have that nice touch and the workmanship seemed to be waning by that time. you mentioned that you had the mute (the Farland Harp Attachmennt) mine has a 1901 patent date on the brass lever that disengages the mute. Does yours also have a date?? 


The mute on mine is incomplete, as pictured before I took the banjo apart, mounted a new head, and gave it a cleaning.  It doesn't have a place to  stamp a patent date, as the handle is bent wire, so possibly it was made before that part that yours has (the spade shaped flat part) was made with the patent date.  It is missing the wooden part that pushes up against the back of the head.  I haven't had the chance to make that part yet, but looking at yours and some other photos and the Farland ad I saw for the mute, I think I can make it and get it to work.  

There are four holes in the back inside of the pot, at the top right of the photo.  I think they must be for eye hooks that the string would go through to the back of the mute, but don't know for sure.  


Here are better shots of my label when I first got it and the Harp attachment.


It looks like the owner of the Farland I had took off the original harp attachment and tried his own cobbled together mute.  As I said, the wooden mute itself was missing, but it looks like the metal part on the dowel is original.  

I've put together a list of the four banjos discussed here so far, with details about them.  Maybe as other Farland's surface, we could make sense of the evolution and numbering.  


This chart is a great idea!  I found another Farland number. This one was the same  generation as mine, one of the first. They also replaced the missing rim cap and they listed the serial number as 47. Here is the link and if you check out the picture that shows the black ebony pin that hold the neck securely to the rim, zoom in and you can see the 04 just to the left of the pin.

https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/products/c1900-5-string-open-back-aa-farland-banjo-concert-grand-27861

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