I am trying to get a little more information on this Kasuga banjo: 1) What model is this one? 2) What is the tone ring made of? 3) What price range would one of these sell for?
A friend dropped this off for me to research. It looks like it never was played very much, and actually really sounds good. The neck plays nice with no buzzing or any problems. The tone ring has a metal tube with holes sitting on top of the main metal tone ring, creating an arch-top. The tailpiece has a deer's head design. Also, this banjo is pretty heavy.
I've seen that banjo with Epiphone, Lyle, Aria, Alvarez, Ibanez and other names on the headstock—my buddy's has no name. Kasuga made them all.
The one that John and Yoko had with them during the Bed-In was an Alvarez, I think, but I'm not finding the picture.
This website on Asian Banjos may help. Brand names are listed alphabetically.
Don't believe I've ever seen an archtop Kasuga.
Looks like someone soldered a "tone tube" to the flathead tone ring.
RioStat I agree; the tone tube must’ve been an after market add on. Someone also installed 2 Keith tuners and 2 Gibson tuners.
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