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Jun 17, 2021 - 11:45:44 AM
57 posts since 6/3/2021

Hello Again, here is another from my dad's friend. Anything you can tell me about it would be great, thanks again everyone.












 

Jun 17, 2021 - 12:18:58 PM

1420 posts since 5/19/2018

I have to say, you are pulling out some of the more interesting banjos that I have seen in a good long time.

I can’t give you any definitive answers on this one other than it has some aspects that remind me of late 1920-early 1930s Vega instruments. But I can say, another absolutely lovely instrument.

Let others chime in with some real answers.

Jun 17, 2021 - 1:00:36 PM

6295 posts since 9/21/2007
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beezaboy might have some info.

Jun 18, 2021 - 9:06:01 AM

8722 posts since 8/28/2013

Souza's Make banjos seem to be a bit of a mystery, although if anyone has any information, it would be Beezaboy (John Hoft).

I find it odd that it appears to have holes in the rim, like the Gretsch Claiphone banjos, but further inspection reveals that they don't actually go all the way through the rim and seem to just be some sort of decorative grommet.

Wht are the dimensions (scale length and head size) on this?

Jun 18, 2021 - 9:24 AM

57 posts since 6/3/2021

Correct they don't go through the rim

Jun 18, 2021 - 1:56:08 PM

8722 posts since 8/28/2013

The only other thing I know for sure is that Souza's Make has nothing to do with John Phillip Sousa.

Jun 18, 2021 - 2:08:47 PM

5027 posts since 3/22/2008

Sorry, I know nothing about Souza's Make banjos except that they were distributed by Oliver Ditson Boston and Chas. Ditson New York City.
Also, I once owned one that had little holes at top of rim.


Jun 18, 2021 - 3:21:44 PM

2659 posts since 3/30/2008
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Souza's make surely is an interesting mystery brand. This is the 8th thread since 2008 attempting to identify a maker, or makers. Mention has been made of a banjo uke, tenors, banjo mandolin & this 6 string. The Ditsons subcontracted w/ different makers, so perhaps several builders supplied them w/ these varied instruments.

Jun 18, 2021 - 7:34:08 PM

8722 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by tdennis

Souza's make surely is an interesting mystery brand. This is the 8th thread since 2008 attempting to identify a maker, or makers. Mention has been made of a banjo uke, tenors, banjo mandolin & this 6 string. The Ditsons subcontracted w/ different makers, so perhaps several builders supplied them w/ these varied instruments.


That would be my guess, too. Every photo I've seen of a Souza's Make has been a little different.  

Jun 18, 2021 - 9:55:49 PM

57698 posts since 12/14/2005

I like the hole in the peghead for hanging it on a sturdy nail.

Jun 19, 2021 - 3:10:08 AM

banjoy

USA

9681 posts since 7/1/2006

I never cease to be historically entertained and mildly educated (not bad for this dimwit) through threads like this.

It seems every banjo you've posted from this collection has had some minor work or modification done to it. This banjo has something going on with the tuners, at some point in its life it's had different tuners on it.

Which makes me wonder -- was your dad's friend a luthier or repairman, or was his friend a friend of a luthier or repairman? I'm just trying to understand the variety that has been gathered into one collection, with all of them having been touched in some way.

One question about those added grommets / holes, it's hard to tell from the photos but it almost appears as if the wood rim is hollow. It looks from the pics that there is more depth to those holes than would be bottoming out from just being a hole drilled in the side. Can you take a close look at those holes and say if they do bottom out (just a hole drilled in the side wall) or if those holes open to a hollowed-out rim / chamber? That might explain why they're there, for more resonance and volume...?

Interesting, nice banjo. It seems to be very well made.

Jun 22, 2021 - 10:18:10 AM
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banjoy

USA

9681 posts since 7/1/2006

ScottStaib

I guess you didn't see my questions above ^^^, I'm still very curious about those added holes in the pot ... if the rim is hollow for some reason ... maybe if you have a moment you could take a look?

Jun 22, 2021 - 11:41:14 AM
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57 posts since 6/3/2021

banjoy

Sorry, I did see your question but ran out of time. Thanks for reminding me.
Here are some pictures of the holes, it does appear that it may be hollow to some degree. The grommets do not bottom out they are about a 1/4" deep or so - also I noticed that the side of the rim is not flat it has an arch to it all the way around.






Jun 22, 2021 - 12:17:56 PM

banjoy

USA

9681 posts since 7/1/2006

ScottStaib

Wow, thanks for taking those extra photos. I tell ya, it still looks like the rim may have a hollow layer. I'm wondering if you put a straw to one hole and blow air in, if it will come out the other holes? Maybe all this is an exercise in futility, but for those holes to be there for decoration only doesn't make much sense to me (but it's a banjo, lots of banjo makes no sense!!) and if it is hollow, well, you have another long BHO discussion on your hands LOL!!! ... because this would be a first, kind of like discovering a new bone in the archaeological dig...

I appreciate your indulging my curiosity, thank you.

Jun 22, 2021 - 2:09:22 PM

57 posts since 6/3/2021

It seems to be hollow to some degree....I used a flexible piece of plastic and put it in the hole and it kept going, there is definitely some kind of space in the ring, just not sure to what extent. I tried to feed the plastic enough to see if I could see it in another hole but could not. There are 2 holes in the side of each main hole. It surely seems as if it is hollow. Will keep trying to figure out more when I have some time. Thank you

Jun 22, 2021 - 2:21:07 PM

banjoy

USA

9681 posts since 7/1/2006

ScottStaib

Very VERY cool. This may be an interesting new / old banjo species you've stumbled upon. I am not aware of any hollow rims ever before.

I suspect that there is some solid blocking added where the actual hook anchor bolts go through the rim, that would have to be solid or it would fail structurally. I'm thinking that the hollow layer is checkerboarded like that, so it's possible the hollowness continues above or below that solid blocking. Blowing air would confirm that.

Is anyone else who is following this thread, as intrigued by this as I am? Is this something previously undiscovered in banjoland?? I mean, a hollowed out rim??

Jun 22, 2021 - 3:23:15 PM

5027 posts since 3/22/2008

The Gibson 1918 TB had a hollow rim carefully made that way
And the Bacon FF had a big hollow rim (internal resonator).
And the Yosco also had a big hollow rim (also internal resonator).
That's all I know, I think.

Jun 22, 2021 - 4:50:07 PM

10966 posts since 4/23/2004

IIRC, some of the early Gibsons, trapdoor era, had hollow, built up rims.

I still have the Yosco I got from you, John.laugh

People have been inventing "improvements" on the banjo since the beginning. I have one with a hollow neck and vent holes underneath the side of the fretboard and thru some of the fretboard inlays.

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 06/22/2021 16:51:34

Jun 22, 2021 - 5:34:27 PM

1122 posts since 7/25/2006
Online Now

If You google American fretted Instruments Makers You will find Souzas Make were in business in the 1920,s Does not give any more information,,,

Jun 22, 2021 - 6:26:46 PM

8722 posts since 8/28/2013

I'd love to dismantle this thing to see if anything shows at the top of the rim or if there's a rim cap like on the bottom.

I also wonder if there are any Souza's make guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, or other instruments with that company's name.

Jun 22, 2021 - 7:00:47 PM

banjoy

USA

9681 posts since 7/1/2006

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I'd love to dismantle this thing to see if anything shows at the top of the rim or if there's a rim cap like on the bottom.

I also wonder if there are any Souza's make guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, or other instruments with that company's name.


I started another thread to inquire about this cool quirky feature, and beegee says he has a Souszas Make banjo-mandolin, so it'd be interesting to see how far they went ... and I'm wondering about the tenor banjo posted above by beezaboy, those little holes on the inside of the rim ... maybe he could do a blown air test thru a straw into one hole to see if air comes out the others nearby ... to see if that rim's solid or hollow ... I wonder if this is a feature of this brand...?

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