I bought this banjo second hand on a whim in 1989, but realised really quickly that i had no musical talent whatsoever. It languished in the storeroom ever since, forgotten. Life happened & i forgot all about it until recently, when i had to clear the storeroom at my parents place.
An odd shaped box caught my eye & i rediscovered a young man's musical aspirations. Unfortunately, i still have no musical talent... Carpal tunnel didn't help either.
Anyway, I have been googling banjos for days & found this site, discovered how to identify it and feel totally inadequate in terms of knowledge.
What i think i have found out so far;
Its a Washburn B10 5 String banjo with resonator
It was made in 1982, serial number 82031
Was it made by K Nakashima?
I would presume this was made in Japan?
I do have some questions though, thank you in advance for helping with the answers.
I have not seen this sort of mother of pearl inlay on any of the banjos i have seen online, is this a custom or was it modded after purchase?
The 5th string peg is a little damaged, is it easy to find a replacement & would i be able to change it myself?
How much value should i declare for insurance?
interesting, the shape etc looks like a standard asian made asian washburn, but the inlays and handcrafted in chicago label say otherwise. I wonder if this is a prototype or something made for a trade show / one off custom order. Also have to wonder if it was fully made in the us or if it was assembled and decorated here to earn that label. Hopefully someone more knowledgable will chime in. can you get better pictures of the tail peice? It looks old. Anything stamped on the back of it?
Edited by - kyleb on 04/08/2021 07:49:49
I just re read the label on a bigger screen, it doesnt say it was made in chicago, it says handcrafted in the tradition of washburn in chicago. So it would be an asian made instrument which makes sense. I'm still wondering about that tailpeice if its orgirinal to the banjo.
does it have a metal rim? it looks nicer than the b10s ive seen, they are pretty low end. This isnt high end by any means, but its looks like an okay mid grade asain 80s banjo. Wouldnt guess its got much value but might be an okay player.
The modern era Washburn company has never decided what it wants to be when it grows up. As a result, there has been little consistency in product offerings and quality of build. They have made passable stuff, bad stuff, and everything in between, and their product line has changed frequently.
A Washburn banjo from that period would most likely have been built in Japan. The Nakashima signature might be an inspector's signature.
A banjo with similar peg head shape can be found on page 141 of John Teagle's book on Washburn.
Since Washburn was constantly changing their designs, an unusual fingerboard inlay pattern does not surprise me at all.
For help with the fifth string peg, you would have to post a couple of pictures. If it needs to be replaced, the most difficult part of the repair would be removing the peg without damaging the neck, and getting the new one to seat firmly. If you have good mechanical skills, you might be able to handle it yourself. Replacement pegs are available from several sources, including Sullivan banjo and Stew-mac.
Washburn quality in the early 1980's was much better than it is now. If your banjo is in good condition and can be set up to play reasonably, it should be a good instrument to learn on. It is what we might call a "decent quality student grade instrument." The instrument does not have any collector's value, and if you bother to insure it, new instruments of similar quality cost perhaps $400 - $800 in the US, depending on the brand and who's selling it.
Oh, by the way, if anything were to happen to the banjo and it became necessary to replace it with a new instrument, it would be better to buy a different brand. Washburn's current level of quality is poor.
Edited by - rcc56 on 04/08/2021 10:27:07
What's under the hood i.e. what kind of tone ring does it have — if any? Washburn had some innovative designs but from the absence of a skirt, it's likely that this isn't one of those banjos.
Show some pictures from inside where the head meets the top and we'll know more.
It looks to me like it is a Washburn B-10 that was modified with inlay after arriving at the retail customer's home.
It does not have a significant value. Probably $200 or $300 at best.
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