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Jun 6, 2021 - 11:26:52 AM
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5027 posts since 3/22/2008

I'm knee deep in some Slingerland research.
In Oct. 1925 Slingerland published its May Bell Banjo Catalog.
I sure would like to see it if anyone has one or a copy.
This 32 page catalog was printed on heavy stock paper with a green cover embossed with the words "Slingerland's May Bell Banjos". The catalog listed 27 different styles of instruments (banjos and ukuleles) with many front/back views plus descriptions.
I assume the catalog depicts and describes the banjos listed in the attached advertisement taken from Jacobs Orchestra Monthly magazine.

BTW - Has anyone ever seen a May Bell Nightingale or Picardy tenor or plectrum banjo? I've never seen either one and wondered if these might be "ghost" banjos??

Jun 6, 2021 - 11:47:14 AM
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2657 posts since 3/30/2008

John, You might have more success getting catalogs & information from the drum world. There are many enthusiastic collectors & websites just dedicated to Slingerland history & ephemera. It's very common for people to find oddities & items related , but peripheral to their  main interest. ( I became familiar w/ several banjo brands just through my vintage drum business, & reading company histories).

 I don't think the banjo world has a great interest in Slingerland, but drummers sure do.  They may not post much about banjos, but if one were to directly contact individuals or post queries on their forums, you might come up w/ something. 

Edited by - tdennis on 06/06/2021 11:54:17

Jun 6, 2021 - 1:38:27 PM


New Zealand

11194 posts since 6/29/2003

I have collected a bit iof stuff over the years I could send. I don't have that particular catalogue. If you PM me with your email address I can send.

Jun 6, 2021 - 4:11:34 PM

5027 posts since 3/22/2008

Thanks guys. Good stuff. Attached for a little fun is something I found while searching. Hopefully, someone will have the May Bell Catalog so we can see what Slingerland model(s) the Quintet folks are playing

Jun 7, 2021 - 3:51:28 PM



1014 posts since 11/30/2015

Interesting John. All I can say is my experience with Slingerland is that there is absolutely no consistency with their production. You can have what appears to be identical banjos side by side only to discover they have different tone rings, or different inlays, different laminations, etc. I'm still a fan, they are great banjos for Irish trad, even the "student" models with rolled steel tone rings are better than a new Cripple Creek or Goodtime.

I've also have never seen a Picardy, but the Nightingale rings a bell, now to figure out how or why.

Jun 7, 2021 - 4:54:52 PM

5027 posts since 3/22/2008

Thanks for your Slingerland observations.
Wayne Robinson just sent me his materials and in my response to him I used the word "erratic" to describe my experience with Slingerland so far. I was going to say "chaotic" but when I just read your post I think "chaotic" would have been the right word after all. I'm amazed that such a prolific banjo maker could be so "ad hoc" and information about the firm could be so sketchy.

Jun 7, 2021 - 6:20:27 PM

13 posts since 10/21/2008

Hi John
I have an old original Slingerland catalogue but it is not the one you specified.
This one includes guitars, banjos , ukuleles and mandolins. 23 pages.
The banjos described are Troubador, DeLuxe, Recording Songster, Recording Nite Hawk, Queen and Maybell.
I have no idea of the age or whether you have already seen such a catalogue. If I recall correctly I bought it years ago on eBay.
Anyway, if it is of interest to you let me know.
Bob Hutton

Jun 8, 2021 - 4:42:02 AM

5027 posts since 3/22/2008

Hi Bob
Thanks for your offer. I also have that catalog and Wayne Robinson just sent me a similar one so I have that catalog pretty well covered. It would be super interesting to see the 1925 May Bell catalog to read about the the original May Bell banjos and the Picardy and Nightingale models.

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