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Sep 27, 2021 - 9:52:37 PM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

I bought this Bacon Blue Ribbon banjo this morning and it's on the way here. I can't seem to find much info on the five string version of this model. There are a bunch of four strings and even some conversions out there, but this one seems stock. Was this a custom order, or were they more common than I am seeing? In any case, the seller accepts returns if it's not up to par. Plenty of photos in the listing. Any info would be appreciated. Serial number is 18737. I think that puts it around 1924.  I am wondering what the original tailpiece might've been too.  Would it have had an arm rest originally?

ebay.com/itm/313689282215?hash...675.l2557

Edited by - cevant on 09/27/2021 22:02:55

Sep 28, 2021 - 1:09:47 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25217 posts since 6/25/2005

It should be about as good a clawhammer banjo as you could find.

Sep 28, 2021 - 4:34:18 AM
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8990 posts since 8/28/2013

That probably is the original tailpiece.

Sep 28, 2021 - 5:07:54 AM
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1538 posts since 5/19/2018

1350? I would say that was a fair price for that instrument.

I also would not worry about that tailpiece or be too quick to change it out. It’s worth at least 1/4 to 1/3 of what you paid for the entire banjo.

I’m not going to make any judgement on if the banjo is all original or not as I am no Bacon banjo expert, but I have never seen any Bacon With that particular type of heel carving and highlight. I do like the way it looks.

I will say it looks like you have a very nice quality instrument that should be a fine player for a very decent price. When it arrives and there are no issues, hold onto it and enjoy.

Sep 28, 2021 - 5:55:53 AM
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csacwp

USA

2929 posts since 1/15/2014

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news,, but it isn't Blue Ribbon. The neck has been modified, and the pot is from a lower grade Bacon. Unless you absolutely fall in love with it, I'd return it seeing as you overpaid for what it is. 

Edited by - csacwp on 09/28/2021 06:00:44

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:19:20 AM
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6476 posts since 9/21/2007

It looks like the 5th string nut has been removed or was never there?

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:39:31 AM
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esmic

Canada

289 posts since 6/27/2011

John has it right. The Blue Ribbons were issued earlier than the B&D Silver Bell and typically have 4 digit serial numbers, between about 6xxx and 9xxx. The early BR pots have an exterior spunover with small, regularly spaced sound holes ; the interior has matching holes drilled through the rim. The later BR pots have a Silver Bell tone ring inside and sound holes on the exterior. Your banjo's pot has none of these features.

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:05:40 AM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

Ah, oh well. Thanks John and company for letting me know. It will likely be going back.  You can see where the fifth string nut was, but the banjo was being used as a tenor.

Edited by - cevant on 09/28/2021 07:09:52

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:18:59 AM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

Strange, but I found a very similar banjo on Reverb. Check this one out.

reverb.com/item/28108760-1929-...=28108760

Is there a chance that this could have been put together at the factory?  The seller claims the serial number is stamped on the dowel rod, and I can see the matching number on the inside of the rim.

Edited by - cevant on 09/28/2021 07:25:41

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:19:41 AM
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344 posts since 4/14/2014

Weird thing to notice, but did anyone else see that the tension hoop is on backwards? It makes me wonder about the seller's banjo knowledge.

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:30:59 AM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Nic Pennsylvania

Weird thing to notice, but did anyone else see that the tension hoop is on backwards? It makes me wonder about the seller's banjo knowledge.


Yeah, it's not the first time I've seen that.  

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:05:54 AM
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csacwp

USA

2929 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by cevant

Strange, but I found a very similar banjo on Reverb. Check this one out.

reverb.com/item/28108760-1929-...=28108760

Is there a chance that this could have been put together at the factory?  The seller claims the serial number is stamped on the dowel rod, and I can see the matching number on the inside of the rim.


Regarding your banjo, I don't think so. The one on Reverb could have been a factory floor sweep. It has a later pot and early neck, but the pot is of a higher grade than the one on your banjo. The neck also doesn't appear to have been modified like yours.  

Edited by - csacwp on 09/28/2021 09:08:09

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:07:32 AM
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esmic

Canada

289 posts since 6/27/2011

The Bacon Blue Ribbon was discontinued late 1923, around SN 10xxx and replaced with the Blue Bell. Very few authentic BR's were made after that. I've seen only one that was legit.

The Reverb "Blue Ribbon" with much later SN has been listed for ages, sometimes on ebay, and the HO Classifieds. The rim exterior spunover does not have the characteristic Blue Ribbon sound holes. No pictures are ever posted of the rim interior or the dowel stamps. An authentic looking BR neck has been married to a much later and lower grade rim, most likely done post-factory. It's certainly not worth the asking price.

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:38:37 AM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

Thanks again guys. So, I will probably be returning this banjo once it arrives. However, there is a chance I could like it and could negotiate the price with the seller, especially armed with the above information. Then I would just keep it as a player. What would you think a fair offer would be? Again, thanks so much for your help gentlemen. John what neck modifications are you seeing? I realize the fifth string pip has been removed but that is fixable. Anything else?

Sep 28, 2021 - 10:24:11 AM

Jbo1

USA

1050 posts since 5/19/2007

Another strange thing is this banjo has been relisted on eBay by the seller. Same serial number.

Sep 28, 2021 - 10:27:18 AM
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cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

The seller was really honest that he didn't know the history or particulars of this banjo, and when I showed him the above info he issued a full refund right away as he hadn't shipped yet. Thanks again guys, and I am glad I got your help early on this one. Whew!

Thanks for the education too. Today I was feeling a little stupider, but now also a little smarter.... and will be more careful going forward.

Sep 28, 2021 - 10:28:53 AM
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cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Jbo1

Another strange thing is this banjo has been relisted on eBay by the seller. Same serial number.


Yeah, he cancelled the sale and gave me a refund after I sent him the above info.   They will probably make some adjustment to the listing soon.

Edited by - cevant on 09/28/2021 10:32:33

Sep 28, 2021 - 11:37:56 AM
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csacwp

USA

2929 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by cevant

Thanks again guys. So, I will probably be returning this banjo once it arrives. However, there is a chance I could like it and could negotiate the price with the seller, especially armed with the above information. Then I would just keep it as a player. What would you think a fair offer would be? Again, thanks so much for your help gentlemen. John what neck modifications are you seeing? I realize the fifth string pip has been removed but that is fixable. Anything else?


The painted heel carving is wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the neck was refinished. Fifth string tuner is wrong. 

Edited by - csacwp on 09/28/2021 11:38:11

Sep 28, 2021 - 5:07:58 PM
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esmic

Canada

289 posts since 6/27/2011

Charlie : weren't you lucky to deal with an honest vendor and have things work out so well. Doesn't always happen like that. Next time, you might want to post your discussion/questions before pulling the trigger.

Edited by - esmic on 09/28/2021 17:08:19

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:19:15 PM

922 posts since 2/17/2005

It looks like an original neck to me...despite the non-original pot. Any theories about the heel carving?

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:48:39 PM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

quote:
Originally posted by esmic

Charlie : weren't you lucky to deal with an honest vendor and have things work out so well. Doesn't always happen like that. Next time, you might want to post your discussion/questions before pulling the trigger.


Absolutely!  

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:53:07 PM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Pigeontown Banjo Co

It looks like an original neck to me...despite the non-original pot. Any theories about the heel carving?


Also, a coincidence that the heel carving on this one is so close in design to the one on Reverb.  Maybe done by the same person?

Sep 30, 2021 - 5:01:29 AM
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esmic

Canada

289 posts since 6/27/2011

Re : Heel carvings :

The Reverb neck is from a top of line BR Deluxe, which featured bound peghead, stained neck and standard heel carving.

The ebay neck is from a middle grade BR A1, which featured a holly neck, natural finish and the same standard heel carving. It appears this heel carving has been left in its original natural finish and the rest of the neck has been stained to match the rim and resonator.

Sep 30, 2021 - 9:51:09 AM
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11757 posts since 10/27/2006

The eBay pot is from an A, B or C. The flange is screwed onto the resonator making an easy conversion to open back on removing the center screw.

My B plectrum was probably the loudest banjo I ever owned.

The original tailpiece would be one of a couple Waverly models that sometimes break.

Oct 1, 2021 - 1:40:48 PM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1597 posts since 10/11/2004

I have a Blue Ribbon sn # 8345, 11-1/2" pot, 28 brackets, Style A, with a flush inset resonator on the rim. Tenor (till I can make a new 5 string neck) , BACON in single letters , not script, same inlays, curly neck but not carved, window tailpiece came with it when I purchased it.
Tom

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