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Jun 21, 2021 - 5:00:18 PM
547 posts since 1/15/2005

A friend bought a banjo at a yard sale. She asked me to look at it for her. It’s a Washburn, it’s old. 10 3/4” rim. That exhausts my ability to help her with info. So what do we have here?


Jun 21, 2021 - 5:31:40 PM

272 posts since 2/11/2009

525 is the model, and 8155 is the serial. It dates to roughly 1920-1922.

Jun 21, 2021 - 5:34:48 PM

320 posts since 6/23/2013

It's a Washburn Improved, designed and patented by Bill Bowenburger.

Jun 21, 2021 - 5:50:04 PM

547 posts since 1/15/2005

Thanks guys. Do you know if it had more of a tailpiece originally? All it has now are some little nubs to hand the loop ends on.

Jun 21, 2021 - 5:55:21 PM

272 posts since 2/11/2009

I can't see what's on there now, but that's a pretty good description of the original tailpiece.

Jun 21, 2021 - 5:55:32 PM

6283 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by daypicker

Thanks guys. Do you know if it had more of a tailpiece originally? All it has now are some little nubs to hand the loop ends on.


It used very thin gut strings originally.  Post a photo of the tailpiece and we will assist. It is very common for classic era tailpieces to be destroyed by wire strings. 

Jun 21, 2021 - 6:12:09 PM

320 posts since 6/23/2013

Most, if not all of this model banjo originally had an Elite tailpiece.

Jun 21, 2021 - 6:22:54 PM

547 posts since 1/15/2005

Tailpiece.


Jun 21, 2021 - 6:49:51 PM
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AldenS

Canada

117 posts since 10/23/2017

That's what folks call a "cammed no-knot". Could be original, though it'd be hard to be sure. They're somewhat rare and generally well-regarded depending on your tone preferences.

Edited by - AldenS on 06/21/2021 18:52:44

Jun 21, 2021 - 7:46:02 PM

547 posts since 1/15/2005

Cool, thanks. Knew you guys could help.

Jun 21, 2021 - 7:47:42 PM

6283 posts since 9/21/2007

... and also designed to attach gut strings without needing to tie knots.

Jun 21, 2021 - 8:21:08 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24821 posts since 6/25/2005
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The banjo should be set up with nylon or gut strings. Steel ones would likely damage it.

Jun 22, 2021 - 5:34 AM

1761 posts since 1/13/2012

I'd have to see more photos, but it looks to me like this banjo was manufactured for Lyon & Healy (Washburn) by Rettberg & Lange. Though Lyon & Healy made most of their banjos themselves, I have seen a few other R&L built Washburns (and a few built by Cole as well).

Jun 22, 2021 - 6:23:01 AM

547 posts since 1/15/2005

What would I look for to indicate that it was a R&L or Cole made Washburn?

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