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Feb 27, 2021 - 10:19:38 PM
179 posts since 11/27/2017

OK, this seems like a good price for an example of an internal resonator from Bacon. I see that it is sold "as-is," and might need a dowel reset. Is that a dealbreaker, or, if not, does anybody see another dealbreaker in the listing? I might chicken out anyway, but if someone can save me from a painful and expensive mistake, speak now or forever hold your peace. :)

rwf

Feb 28, 2021 - 3:45:36 AM

Bill H

USA

1563 posts since 11/7/2010

That is one of my dream banjos and the price is not stratospheric. I recently purchased a Bay State banjo from Elderly listed "as is." In the description they listed that it needed a nut and fret work and a few other things. It turned out the nut and frets were fine. I replaced the tuners and the head, had a Bay State tail piece on hand that work nicely. I was confused by the "as is" designation because the 130 year-old banjo was in great playable condition with only some minor maintenance.

I wouldn't hesitate to go for it. The dowel stick reset is the only intimidating issue listed. I have several old banjos that I've used shims on and adjusted the bridge height to compensate for high action. I have reset a couple of dowel sticks which is a fair bit of work but well worth it if you really like the banjo. If you are not comfortable tinkering with old banjos then it may be too risky.

Feb 28, 2021 - 5:03:57 AM

carlb

USA

2233 posts since 12/16/2007
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Price is more than reasonable in that I spent almost $1000 for my #3 back in 1979. Still have it, still play it. It might be well worth it to have a professional repair person check it out, if you buy it. Elderly is very reliable.

Feb 28, 2021 - 5:14:43 AM

294 posts since 11/29/2012

Looks great, but did you look at the craters in the fretboard? I trust Elderly. It's a little strange they don't mention that, though, but who am I?

Feb 28, 2021 - 5:28:19 AM
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csacwp

USA

2832 posts since 1/15/2014

I think it's a bit overpriced given the condition and the fact that it is a late one.

On a side note, this is proof that you should trim your fretting hand fingernails before playing!

Feb 28, 2021 - 5:33:39 AM
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1312 posts since 5/19/2018

Price seems fair from a dealer. Elderly is always spot on and fair on pricing and usually detailed on descriptions.

Neck reset may set you back 300-500 depending upon who does it. No big deal. As Mark mentioned above, the condition of the fretboard is a biggie. Looks pretty rough, and that’s not a cheap fix.

I very recently purchased a similar Bacon banjo in what to me looks to be unused 100% original condition from another major dealer for around 1,500. Keep that number in your head when you decide about the banjo in question.

Elderly does have a return policy in most cases, so you may get it and find all the issues are very minor. Give them a call. They will talk and be very upfront on the issues and may even work on the price a bit. That’s why they have been in business for decades.

Feb 28, 2021 - 6:21:33 AM
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6081 posts since 9/21/2007

The neck reset recommendation is likely from ignorance of classic era banjos. With thin nylon (the equivalent of the OEM gut strings) and 1/2” bridge it will probably be just fine.

If you want a modern banjo with steel string action, buy one of those.

Feb 28, 2021 - 6:28 AM
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csacwp

USA

2832 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

The neck reset recommendation is likely from ignorance of classic era banjos. With thin nylon (the equivalent of the OEM gut strings) and 1/2” bridge it will probably be just fine.

If you want a modern banjo with steel string action, buy one of those.


Agreed, its almost always the case when Elderly suggests a neck reset that they are simply ignorant of how these banjos were supposed to be set up and played. 

Feb 28, 2021 - 8:17:56 AM
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2060 posts since 2/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

The neck reset recommendation is likely from ignorance of classic era banjos. With thin nylon (the equivalent of the OEM gut strings) and 1/2” bridge it will probably be just fine.

If you want a modern banjo with steel string action, buy one of those.


Agreed, its almost always the case when Elderly suggests a neck reset that they are simply ignorant of how these banjos were supposed to be set up and played. 


I would not think that Eldery are "ignorant" about banjos just, that they know what most of their customers like !

Feb 28, 2021 - 8:23:06 AM

csacwp

USA

2832 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed
quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

The neck reset recommendation is likely from ignorance of classic era banjos. With thin nylon (the equivalent of the OEM gut strings) and 1/2” bridge it will probably be just fine.

If you want a modern banjo with steel string action, buy one of those.


Agreed, its almost always the case when Elderly suggests a neck reset that they are simply ignorant of how these banjos were supposed to be set up and played. 


I would not think that Eldery are "ignorant" about banjos just, that they know what most of their customers like !


Trust me, they are fairly ignorant about them just like most of the major dealers. 

Feb 28, 2021 - 8:24:49 AM

1113 posts since 1/9/2012

You can phone them and ask the bridge height and action at the 12th fret -- and then decide if you'd be happy with it.

Feb 28, 2021 - 8:50:37 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

9840 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed
quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

The neck reset recommendation is likely from ignorance of classic era banjos. With thin nylon (the equivalent of the OEM gut strings) and 1/2” bridge it will probably be just fine.

If you want a modern banjo with steel string action, buy one of those.


Agreed, its almost always the case when Elderly suggests a neck reset that they are simply ignorant of how these banjos were supposed to be set up and played. 


I would not think that Eldery are "ignorant" about banjos just, that they know what most of their customers like !


Trust me, they are fairly ignorant about them just like most of the major dealers. 


This may be true of course. But there is also another way to look at it. Ever since the 1970s, 1960s probably, players have been using older banjos fitted with steel strings to play clawhammer. Vega being popular. Pete Seeger, e.g. Probably not limited to only urban young people (at that time), but also players who grew up in the tradition of banjo playing. Also, the Fiberskyn head became popular then. A lot of neck resets might have taken place. But this has become some kind of tradition all by itself. Started already long ago now. I do hope, someone will understand what I mean. It's more my kind of old-time banjo tradition than what's predominant nowadays (very mellow sound, big rims, Nylgut strings…).

A tradition by itself. And continuing to more modern times clawhammer playing: Here is, e.g., Gillian Welch playing a 1925 Vega Whyte Laydie with steel strings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sL6OWZSNuI

Feb 28, 2021 - 9:20:48 AM
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carlb

USA

2233 posts since 12/16/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by 35planar

Looks great, but did you look at the craters in the fretboard? I trust Elderly. It's a little strange they don't mention that, though, but who am I?


I repaired my divots in the fret board by using a method that was told me. I made some powdered pear wood, fill the divot with some of the powder and then put in a few drops of Crazy Glue. You have to this a few times until the filled divot is level with the fret board. Then sand until smooth. It's a very functional repair, though it was a bit darker then the aged pair wood fret board.

Feb 28, 2021 - 10:51:42 AM

467 posts since 7/28/2016

I find condition of very good to excellent to be a little misleading.

Peg head has some divots, along with some major divots on the fret board. Along with the neck reset !

If I didn't know how to do the work myself I would at least try to get them down in price.

Feb 28, 2021 - 11:54:13 AM

2060 posts since 2/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed
quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

The neck reset recommendation is likely from ignorance of classic era banjos. With thin nylon (the equivalent of the OEM gut strings) and 1/2” bridge it will probably be just fine.

If you want a modern banjo with steel string action, buy one of those.


Agreed, its almost always the case when Elderly suggests a neck reset that they are simply ignorant of how these banjos were supposed to be set up and played. 


I would not think that Eldery are "ignorant" about banjos just, that they know what most of their customers like !


Trust me, they are fairly ignorant about them just like most of the major dealers. 


Well, I am very surprised to hear that about Elderly but, never having bought a banjo from them I bow to your superior knowledge ! that fretboard is sure in a shocking mess !

Feb 28, 2021 - 5:29:51 PM

179 posts since 11/27/2017

Thanks for all the advice - some great tips there. I probably would use nylon strings on it, and didn't think about the possibility that the neck reset would just be to bring it down for steel string playing. (And of course it is an obvious but excellent idea to get the clearance at the 12th fret and make your own judgement.

I saw the cratering on the fingerboard, but I don't know how unpleasant that would be under one's fingers...

Feb 28, 2021 - 6:55:02 PM

cevant

USA

133 posts since 2/5/2020

What is the plug/screw thing in the side of the neck at the 10th fret? Is that supposed to be there?  Just curious, that's all.

Edited by - cevant on 02/28/2021 18:55:48

Feb 28, 2021 - 7:46:49 PM
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467 posts since 7/28/2016

definitely not supposed to be there

Mar 1, 2021 - 6:20:27 AM

cevant

USA

133 posts since 2/5/2020

My thought was that it was the spot where someone once screwed in an eyebolt to attach a strap. Or it could just be a piece of tape. Might want to get a closer look.

Mar 1, 2021 - 8:59:04 AM

6081 posts since 9/21/2007

I'm going to take a guess that the spot inlayed at the 10th position on the side if the neck was put there because someone was use to playing banjos with the 10th marked and not the 9th.

Perhaps they could not put a simple and removable sticker at the 10th because their claws would chew through it too quickly.

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