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Would like to know as much about this May Bell that I can

Mar 5, 2021 - 8:57:51 PM
1 posts since 3/5/2021

Hello everyone, I have aquired this May Bell banjo and would appreciate any and all info that can be offered. I'm trust curious as heck on where this falls in the history of this brand of banjo. Appreciate any feedback. Uploaded 3 pics are they there for anyone to see?

Edited by - Chadewg on 03/05/2021 21:06:43

Mar 6, 2021 - 2:08:56 AM

467 posts since 7/28/2016

pictures not there

Mar 6, 2021 - 4:35:10 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)


25726 posts since 8/3/2003

There are pictures on his home page.

Mar 6, 2021 - 4:38:21 AM
like this

4918 posts since 3/22/2008

A snapshot:
Your May Bell 4-string tenor banjo (probably a tenor) was made by the Slingerland Banjo Company, 1815 Orchard Street, Chicago, Illinois (this new name 1924) fka the Slingerland Mfg. Co. ( est. ca 1918). The Slingerland Banjo Company was owned by Heanon H. Slingerland, businessman extraordinaire. Slingerland started as a music teacher in 1909, established his own mail order music lessons company, began selling his mail order music lessons by offering a free banjo with the lessons, opened a factory to make the banjos for his mail-order lessons (1917), so by 1918 (tenor banjos) Slingerland was selling mail order tenor banjos through the vehicle of his mail order music instruction. In 1921 Slingerland began to sell his own brand "Professional Tone" banjos to the public sans the music instruction. By 1923 Slingerland was generally known as a banjo manufacturer and in December 1923 advertised his first "May Bell" branded banjo. By April 1924 Slingerland was making a 19 fret resonator banjo. Slingerland registered the "May Bell" trademark July 1924. Now we'll need some photos of your banjo for the authorities here on banjohangout to fill-in the details.

Edit: I didn't see any photos when writing this.

Edited by - beezaboy on 03/06/2021 04:39:45

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:07:50 AM

3946 posts since 5/1/2003

This is my may bell. It differs in that it originally had pearloid headstock and fingerboard and a pressed one piece flange that removes the need for bolts through the rim. It really sounds great tuned down to E.
I had a 5 string Rogue neck attatched and I keep it tuned to E. My poor man’s John Hartford banjo

Edited by - Ks_5-picker on 03/06/2021 07:12:10

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:10:31 AM

3946 posts since 5/1/2003

Here’s my newly repainted Rogue peghead.

Mar 6, 2021 - 1:16:02 PM

247 posts since 2/11/2009
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I'm open to correction, but I believe that particular flange was used on early May Bells. Combined with that headstock style, I think we're looking at a mid '20s instrument.

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