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What do you think about this Bacon C Super 5 string at Elderly?

Jul 22, 2021 - 7:52 AM
14091 posts since 10/30/2008

Bacon experts, what do you think about this original 5 string Bacon C Super at Elderly, marked down to $800 due to high action? It "looks" nice enough, and the old 5 string case is very tempting too.

Just curious.

elderly.com/collections/on-sal...uper-1926

Jul 22, 2021 - 7:56:01 AM
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2602 posts since 12/31/2005

I've always wondered, with the great shop that Elderly has, why it doesn't just do what is needed and sell the instruments at a little higher price. It make me think that their experts believe the problem may not be worth fixing money-wise. Maybe they're just swamped, but if they can't fix inhouse, how much would it cost the rest of us to do?

Jul 22, 2021 - 7:57:48 AM
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6299 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Bacon experts, what do you think about this original 5 string Bacon C Super at Elderly, marked down to $800 due to high action? It "looks" nice enough, and the old 5 string case is very tempting too.

Just curious.

elderly.com/collections/on-sal...uper-1926


This is an excellent example of how an informed buyer can take advantage of the dealer's ignorance.

The action is likely just fine for period correct nylon strings (Labella or lighter).  It might be perfectly inline with the factory setup but one would need it in hand to find out.   Use a proper 1/2" bridge and you are all set!

Jul 22, 2021 - 8:04:52 AM
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1422 posts since 5/19/2018

Joel is most likely on point with this.

For the price, I’m sure it’s a good player. If you have to have a higher bridge than 1/2”, then a little adjustment could make that happen.

If the action is high because the neck is bowed, that’s a different matter and would kill the deal. A quick phone call to Elderly with all your questions would give you better info and take a few doubts out of your mind.

The price as is, from a recognized retailer is more than fair. Heck, I’ve paid more than 200.00 for a case like that. It’s a basic Bacon. But a solid instrument from a good vintage commercial builder.

There are some great deals out there right now for Vintage, non-Gibson five strings.

Elderly and Bernunzio have some real values right now for solid players.

Jul 22, 2021 - 8:41:54 AM
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11552 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
This is an excellent example of how an informed buyer can take advantage of the dealer's ignorance.

The action is likely just fine for period correct nylon strings (Labella or lighter).  It might be perfectly inline with the factory setup but one would need it in hand to find out.   Use a proper 1/2" bridge and you are all set!

 


Agreed. Start with a 1/2" bridge and see if there's still a problem. 

I had one in maple—otherwise identical except for a Waverly tailpiece that was cracked so I installed a Kershner. Surprisingly loud — blew away my Tubaphones in that regards. Like many Bacons, the flange is attached to the resonator — converts to open back in a few seconds. I hated the Waverly friction pegs and bought a set of 5 Star planets but never got around to installing them.

Every once in awhile, I hear a track that I recorded on it. The sound was a bit darker than my other banjos. I used a heavy set with a wound 3rd that matches Vega Mediums from the '60s. Had Nylgut existed, this would have been a great banjo for those. I sold it to Marc Silber in 1995 along with a B plectrum in a large horse trade.

Jul 22, 2021 - 9:43:34 AM

csacwp

USA

2873 posts since 1/15/2014
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It's just a Style C, not a Super. No Silver Bell tone ring. The action looks correct for gut/nylon strings, which are what this banjo should be strung with anyway.

Edited by - csacwp on 07/22/2021 09:44:27

Jul 22, 2021 - 12:14:04 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24842 posts since 6/25/2005

If Elderly is like Gryphon, they are far too busy with customer repairs to find time for a lower-priced stock banjo, assuming it really needs repairs.

Jul 22, 2021 - 4:06:28 PM

2602 posts since 12/31/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

If Elderly is like Gryphon, they are far too busy with customer repairs to find time for a lower-priced stock banjo, assuming it really needs repairs.


I'm sure you are correct, but there has to be a market opportunity there for someone.  When I was a kid, I would have pitched them the idea of letting me do it and paying me just for the jobs or the difference between the "as is" price and the price fixed up.

Jul 22, 2021 - 4:35:40 PM
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Alex Z

USA

4380 posts since 12/7/2006

I believe the mark down from $1000 to $800 was not because it being sold "as is", but rather that it didn't sell at $1000 "as is".

Elderly makes the repair or no repair decision up front.  So if it was offered at $1,000 it would either have been already repaired or decided not to repair.

The market is the market.  It didn't sell at $1,000 as is.  Someone thinks it's a desirable banjo at $800, buy it.  Someone thinks someone else should buy it at $800, that's not the market -- that's idle conversation. smiley

Jul 22, 2021 - 8:07:19 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24842 posts since 6/25/2005

Far as I know one difference between Elderly and Gryphon is that Gryphon does not sell “as is” instruments directly—only via eBay. Elderly, of course, does.

Jul 22, 2021 - 10:28:23 PM

11552 posts since 10/27/2006

For "original", this leaves a bit to be desired. The "patent pressure tailpiece" is gone. Having owned one with a cracked tailpiece, no surprises there.

The presence of the resonator should make it a C Special but the catalog says those have "internal gear reduction tuners". Ok, my B Special plectrum had friction pegs, too, so again, no surprises.

I do quibble one point, however: Any "original condition" instrument should have its original finish and this clearly does not. Like all Bacons (and Vega) of the era, this should have a French polish. I bet that one can't just remove the supposed overspray to reveal the French polish underneath.

As to gut vs metal strings, yes this was originally gut strung as were all Vega and Bacon 5s and Plectrums of the era. That said, David Day was in charge and Vega necks of the period and 20 years earlier stand up to metal strings pretty well. I don't recall the bridge height of a banjo I sold 26 years ago but again, David Day ran the joint—was he a sudden convert to 5/8" bridges at Bacon or was he still, spec'ing 1/2" as he did at Vega and Fairbanks before that?

In any case, these are OK but this one appears to be nothing to write home about. All these years later, I miss the plectrum more than I miss the 5 string.

If I was interested in this one, I'd be offering less to test the waters.

Edited by - mikehalloran on 07/22/2021 22:30:00

Jul 23, 2021 - 3:48:07 AM

Bill H

USA

1652 posts since 11/7/2010

I purchased a 19th century Bay State banjo "as is" from Elderly a while back. They described it as needing a new nut and several other issues. I replaced the tuners, installed nylgut strings and had a beautiful and very playable banjo. I recently passed it on to a fellow Hangout member who was equally thrilled with the banjo as I was. Even the warning that it is possibly over sprayed may r may not be the case. Some don't realize that French polish can have a fair amount of gloss.

Jul 23, 2021 - 6:53:51 AM

Bart Veerman

Canada

4980 posts since 1/5/2005

From the picture, that Grover bridge looks like a half incher

Jul 23, 2021 - 7:07:18 AM

14091 posts since 10/30/2008

Thanks everyone!

Jul 23, 2021 - 7:10:36 AM

14091 posts since 10/30/2008

Regarding the comment about dealers not wanting to invest in fixing up low dollar instruments, I had an experience sort of related. I wanted to trade an approx. $1000 banjo toward a much more expensive instrument at a fairly well known brick and mortarvintage dealer who I shan't name. They told me they didn't want to bring anything into the store that they couldn't price for at least $2000 due to limited wall space!!

So I can understand not wanting to tie up very valuable luthier time fixing instruments that sell at relatively low prices. Probably a backlog in the luthiery all the time...

Jul 23, 2021 - 11:12:24 PM

11552 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Bill H

I purchased a 19th century Bay State banjo "as is" from Elderly a while back. They described it as needing a new nut and several other issues. I replaced the tuners, installed nylgut strings and had a beautiful and very playable banjo. I recently passed it on to a fellow Hangout member who was equally thrilled with the banjo as I was. Even the warning that it is possibly over sprayed may r may not be the case. Some don't realize that French polish can have a fair amount of gloss.


You must not have looked at the pictures. This has a flat or satin finish without a hint of gloss. Elderly claims "possible overspray".

Without having in hand, I would say, "possible refinish" — the other choice being, "definite refin". It was well done but there are no signs of the original finish on this banjo.

As I wrote, the issue is the "all original" claim, not that it isn't a good banjo nor that it may or may not be worth $800 — and I've owned one (and liked it).

The OP has considerable experience with vintage banjos as do I. I don't believe for a second that I was pointing out anything Dick didn't already know — but he isn't the only one reading this thread.

The C Special was next to the bottom of the line—only the C was lower. The last time these came up, Polle questioned my C being maple instead of 'hog like the catalog pages—then he did some research and confirmed that it had existed once upon a time.

I don't see the catalog 1/2 page — thought I had attached it. Trying again. This is unlikely the same year — or the descriptions are wrong enough as vintage catalogs so often are. Since the resonator of the B Special is similar, I'll upload that page, too. Both my B & C had the same Waverly tailpiece shown on the C page.




Edited by - mikehalloran on 07/23/2021 23:15:30

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