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Seeking information on a 19th century banjo

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May 11, 2022 - 7:11:37 AM
1654 posts since 12/26/2007

A friend bought this banjo. I'm doing some restoration and would like to find out more information on the banjo. It has no maker's marks. Details from initial inspection:
• Total length 35 7/8", weight 3 lb 11 oz.
• Neck 24", fingerboard 18"
• Neck at nut is 1 1/8" wide by 5/8" deep
• Neck at heel is 2 1/8" x 2 3/4"
• Brass heel plate: total 5 3/8", extends 3" over head.
• Minstrel figure at heel = 8 1/2", swan figure at peghead is 3 3/4"
• Pot 11 3/4" dia by 2 3/4" deep. Pot consists of a brass band and a galvanized metal band, held together by brass tabs at the shoe locations.
I'm posting photos of the banjo and restoration process (reproduction shoes, hooks and nuts; mahogany dowel; etc.) and some notes on Google Drive at: drive.google.com/drive/folders...p=sharing

Thanks in advance for any comments that people may have on the banjo, such as probable age, possible maker, locality, comparable instruments, etc.








May 11, 2022 - 7:55:55 AM

69 posts since 1/7/2021

For anyone feeling déjà vu, the previous threads:

banjohangout.org/topic/382511/

banjohangout.org/topic/382630

May 11, 2022 - 8:00:33 AM

1654 posts since 12/26/2007

Ian - tnx........ I had forgotten about the owner's previous posts here on BHO. So this post counts as a "bump" with more pictures on Google Drive.

May 11, 2022 - 10:22:51 AM

6940 posts since 9/21/2007

My thought, based on nothing and without any reason or proof, is that this was a homemade banjo inspired by the existence of Joe Sweeney.

I can see this as an entry in a county fair or other such contest.

May 11, 2022 - 10:27:03 AM

2332 posts since 1/4/2009

it could be a sweeny, it could not be a sweeny, it could have been made for sweeny, it could have nothing to do with him. we have no way of knowing. eitherway its a fantastic piece and im glad its in your hands for the restoration. The tea cup handle on the headstock is facinating, i wonder what the signifigance of that is?

Edited by - kyleb on 05/11/2022 10:27:44

May 11, 2022 - 11:26:48 AM

Fishcoy

USA

18 posts since 12/23/2021

Google search has a way connecting unrelated information. That being said, if you search swan and Netchez, MS. You get a famous opera singer known as "Black Swan."

facebook.com/101427513238306/p...8/?type=3

Maybe the banjo is a homage to playing the banjo like Sweeney and evoking the renown and precise voice of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield?

This comment is complete speculation.

Edited by - Fishcoy on 05/11/2022 11:32:28

May 11, 2022 - 11:49:34 AM

Fishcoy

USA

18 posts since 12/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Fishcoy

Google search has a way connecting unrelated information. That being said, if you search swan and Netchez, MS. You get a famous opera singer known as "Black Swan."

facebook.com/101427513238306/p...8/?type=3

Maybe the banjo is a homage to playing minstrel music like Joel Sweeney and evoking the renown and precise voice of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfieloff 
This comment is complete speculation.


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