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Dec 1, 2021 - 3:45:18 PM
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14443 posts since 10/30/2008
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Seen this in current BU? Anyone out there know about Ralph playing a Mastertone (two piece flange) with Style 3 diamonds and a Coke bottle peghead?


 

Dec 1, 2021 - 5:49:14 PM

2796 posts since 12/31/2005

I can't tell but is it possibly this one?

Dec 1, 2021 - 6:19:55 PM
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RioStat

USA

5680 posts since 10/12/2009

Dick, I've seen a lot of pictures of Ralph, with a lot of different banjos, but I've never seen that photo or that banjo. It is a "head-scratcher" for sure.

Brian, pretty sure that the banjo pictured is not the "All American". If you enlarge the photo that oldtimer posted, you can clearly see that the neck has the "coke bottle" headstock and early Style 3 inlays.

As a side note, the guy that wrote that BluegrassToday article, Chris Smith, is a well known Bluegrasser from here in Northeast Ohio, played with the Bluegrass Mountaineers for years, and then his own band, Caney Creek.

Edited by - RioStat on 12/01/2021 18:22:39

Dec 1, 2021 - 6:48:32 PM

518 posts since 4/1/2009

Very interesting… I’ve not seen that banjo or that photo either and I’m stumped as well. Ralph had a many a banjo though… there was a live Stanley album released a few years ago with a photo of Ralph holding a strange banjo. I believe me and Ivor (Bluegrassbuzzbomb) speculated that it was most likely borrowed and in that set on the album Ralph breaks a string or something mid song. Seems like Ivor researched it more later… but he would be the one to ask. But I’ve seen a many a photo of the Stanleys too and I have no idea other than maybe it’s one he had that he didn’t hold onto very long or maybe just a borrowed banjo… maybe something happened to his own banjo that particular day…?

Dec 1, 2021 - 6:54:27 PM

518 posts since 4/1/2009

But upon more observation the strap is hooked at Ralph’s usual position on the banjo and no other strap is mounted on it. The banjo he had in the other photo I mentioned had two straps on it… so I’m bettin this is one he probably horse traded for and didn’t have long… the banjo seems to be missing a thumbscrew as well and this is the only photo I’ve seen with Ralph playing that style of bridge that’s on this particular banjo. Hard to see if it’s a raised head or not too for me..?

Edited by - Pick1949 on 12/01/2021 18:57:06

Dec 1, 2021 - 7:29:53 PM

14443 posts since 10/30/2008
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I've never seen ANY Mastertone with a Coke bottle peghead.

Dec 1, 2021 - 7:30:17 PM

14443 posts since 10/30/2008
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BTW, anybody recognize that fiddler?

Dec 1, 2021 - 7:35:24 PM
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RioStat

USA

5680 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

BTW, anybody recognize that fiddler?


...or the bass player?

Dec 1, 2021 - 9:07:46 PM

518 posts since 4/1/2009

Me neither Old Timer…. But are we sure it is that? Could it be that there is something behind the peg head that gives the illusion that it is a come bottle peg head? I had that thought about that but it’s hard to tell… maybe it’s something else like a flap on Carters shirt pocket maybe? Just a thought….

And I’m curious about the band mates too…. Aint the bass player Shuffler? That's who I would have said... guy in the back with the mandolin has a wide brim hat and looks a little short... maybe Pee Wee? Or Curley Lambert maybe?

Edited by - Pick1949 on 12/01/2021 21:23:35

Dec 2, 2021 - 4:23:17 AM

179 posts since 1/7/2019

Looks kind of like this one except it has the square block at the base of the fretboard.

earnestbanjo.com/wp/gibson-rb-1-9527-6/

Jeff

Dec 2, 2021 - 4:46:52 AM
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58637 posts since 12/14/2005

And I clicked on here, hoping to see that someone had somehow made a banjo neck out of plastic bottles.
I recall seeing a video where somebody used his shop press to make a mallet head out of milk bottles.
Wondered if this would be a similar.

Still, learned something more about the late great Mr. Stanley.

So, thanks for the info.

Dec 2, 2021 - 7:13:46 AM

2252 posts since 1/4/2009

it could be a conversion neck. Ralph played a lot of banjos, he also sold them. If we could figure out when and where this was taken that might be a better place to start.

Dec 2, 2021 - 7:41:35 AM
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Emiel

Austria

10043 posts since 1/22/2003

Looking at the enlarged picture, I would say it's probably an archtop.

Dec 2, 2021 - 8:29:57 AM

14443 posts since 10/30/2008
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Jeff M that's a fine photo of an RB 1 coke bottle with Style 3 inlays, for sure!

Significant difference is Ralph's banjo is a two piece flange.

Could be a swapped or repro neck of course.

The fiddler is none other than Pete Kuykendall!

The mandolin player has a blonde mando, like Curly Lambert played, except it's an F hole mandolin, not a round hole. I believe Curly always played a round hole blonde mandolin, more or less.

The bass player's face has a slight resemblance to George Shuffler, but I haven't known George to wear a comedy get up. He knows the material well enough to be singing baritone though. I hope we find out for sure.

Dec 2, 2021 - 8:57:56 AM

518 posts since 4/1/2009

I sent an email to Gary, the writer of the article… maybe he can shed more light on the picture!

Edited by - Pick1949 on 12/02/2021 08:58:14

Dec 2, 2021 - 8:58:18 AM
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4021 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Jeff M that's a fine photo of an RB 1 coke bottle with Style 3 inlays, for sure!

Significant difference is Ralph's banjo is a two piece flange.

Could be a swapped or repro neck of course.

The fiddler is none other than Pete Kuykendall!

The mandolin player has a blonde mando, like Curly Lambert played, except it's an F hole mandolin, not a round hole. I believe Curly always played a round hole blonde mandolin, more or less.

The bass player's face has a slight resemblance to George Shuffler, but I haven't known George to wear a comedy get up. He knows the material well enough to be singing baritone though. I hope we find out for sure.


Gary Reid, who wrote that BU article, says, "Pete Kuykendall on fiddle, Bill Napier on mandolin, and Al Elliott on bass -- photo taken at New River Ranch in Rising Sun, Maryland on September 7, 1958".

Dec 2, 2021 - 9:13:03 AM
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518 posts since 4/1/2009

Thanks Ira! I think we must’ve been typing at the same time! Had I seen that I wouldn’t have bothered Gary… but its nice we got the info now!

Dec 2, 2021 - 11:13:27 AM

14443 posts since 10/30/2008
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Thanks Ira. Can you get Gary to volunteer anything about the banjo?

Dec 2, 2021 - 1:38:26 PM

20 posts since 9/4/2020

I love coke bottle necks, and I’ve definitely seen them on mastertones- conversions I’m sure, but mastertones nonetheless. Maybe the neck is a replacement. Coke bottle necks are the coolest.

Dec 2, 2021 - 2:22:01 PM
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20 posts since 9/4/2020

I thought I would add this pic of a little project I’ve got going on right now. I’ve taken some liberties here. Original coke bottle necks did not have binding around the peg head (I think)


Dec 2, 2021 - 6:37:41 PM
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RioStat

USA

5680 posts since 10/12/2009

1929 TB1....."no-cut-the-rim" Blaylock archtop tone ring.....


 

Dec 3, 2021 - 6:22:57 AM

4021 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Thanks Ira. Can you get Gary to volunteer anything about the banjo?


I'll ask. Not being a banjo player or a serious instrumentalist, he's probably not as knowledgeable about such things as most of us here are.

Dec 3, 2021 - 6:28:57 AM

4021 posts since 3/28/2008

No, Gary doesn't know about it.

Dec 3, 2021 - 7:41:28 AM
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363 posts since 2/14/2013

I'm thinking that's an original RB-1 neck mounted on the tube and plate pot. As the link from Earnest's site that Jeff posted shows, there was at least one other RB-1 coke-bottle neck with early style 3 inlays in existence; could have been more. In 1958, I don't think it was likely that anyone was making repro necks in that configuration

Dec 3, 2021 - 7:52 AM

20 posts since 9/4/2020

The banjo shown on this link was claimed to have been purchased in this form in the early 60's. Look at the neck. It's a coke bottle neck with banding around the peghead. It also says mastertone at the bottom of the neck. I'm guessing the neck isn't a "real" Gibson coke bottle neck because I haven't seen binding around the peghead in other "real" coke bottle necks, and I also don't think "real" coke bottle necks usually have the mastertone block That would mean that someone, in the late 50's or early 60's, probably made this coke bottle neck.

collectorsweekly.com/stories/4...one-banjo

Dec 3, 2021 - 9:41:49 AM
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11934 posts since 10/27/2006

For years, I dragged my students to the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco telling them, "You'll be able to tell your kids and grandkids that you got to see Earl and Ralph play." And then they were gone.

Those kids are grown now and some of those students now have kids of their own. Will the circle be unbroken?

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