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Jun 25, 2022 - 11:35:37 PM
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427 posts since 10/8/2018

Well, I got the unknown banjo today (Sat.) and it is indeed a Farland! It has the metal head and all the fancy fretboard inlay of an “Artist Grand #2”, but the heel has no carving and a different shape than most I’ve seen with a cool pearl inlay set in the heel cap.

Has anyone ever seen a Farland with binding around the peg head and fretboard??!!

It has a very old exact fitting case, though not a hard shell. When I opened the storage compartment… surprise! A slew of old (mandolin?) picks, two different hand written playlists, some old strings and old rubber bands. Any ideas on an approximate date on this beauty??
Head 11 3/8, 27 inch scale, 32 hooks, nuts and shoes all original and there.
Thanks for all the help on previous posts!


Jun 26, 2022 - 5:22:25 AM
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lapsteel

Canada

799 posts since 8/13/2015

Thanks for posting the pictures! It’s a real treat for me to see your banjo.

Jun 26, 2022 - 5:57:38 AM

1905 posts since 5/19/2018

Absolutely beautiful instrument. Never seen a Farland with that level of inlay and binding work. What is also very interesting is that it looks as if you also have the original bridge on the instrument.

Also a good score is all the case candy you appear to have. If you could, please take a detailed photo of the playlists. They would be interesting to see.

Those flat picks look to be real turtle shell. Also a very nice find. If you play mandoline or guitar, nothing plays like real TS. Please keep in mind that those picks were most likely made 50-100 years before anyone reading this post was born. I do not advocate on any level using recently made TS picks.

Please also post a picture of the case.

Really nice instrument. I’m sure you will get a lot of feedback on it.

Jun 26, 2022 - 6:14:56 AM

rmcdow

USA

1171 posts since 11/8/2014
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What is the nut width?  

It looks like there may have been a Farland mute attached at one time.  Beautiful banjo.

Edited by - rmcdow on 06/26/2022 06:24:40

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:10:40 AM

6999 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Absolutely beautiful instrument. Never seen a Farland with that level of inlay and binding work. What is also very interesting is that it looks as if you also have the original bridge on the instrument.

Also a good score is all the case candy you appear to have. If you could, please take a detailed photo of the playlists. They would be interesting to see.

Those flat picks look to be real turtle shell. Also a very nice find. If you play mandoline or guitar, nothing plays like real TS. Please keep in mind that those picks were most likely made 50-100 years before anyone reading this post was born. I do not advocate on any level using recently made TS picks.

Please also post a picture of the case.

Really nice instrument. I’m sure you will get a lot of feedback on it.


That is not the original bridge (see attached for the Farland pattern).

That playlist looks like you are ready to put on your styrofoam skimmer and red sleeve garters for your Shakey's Pizza job.


 

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:26:16 AM

427 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Absolutely beautiful instrument. Never seen a Farland with that level of inlay and binding work. What is also very interesting is that it looks as if you also have the original bridge on the instrument.

Also a good score is all the case candy you appear to have. If you could, please take a detailed photo of the playlists. They would be interesting to see.

Those flat picks look to be real turtle shell. Also a very nice find. If you play mandoline or guitar, nothing plays like real TS. Please keep in mind that those picks were most likely made 50-100 years before anyone reading this post was born. I do not advocate on any level using recently made TS picks.

Please also post a picture of the case.

Really nice instrument. I’m sure you will get a lot of feedback on it.


That is not the original bridge (see attached for the Farland pattern).

That playlist looks like you are ready to put on your styrofoam skimmer and red sleeve garters for your Shakey's Pizza job.


Joel I thought the same thing about the play lists (there are two)... I was surprised it still was set up as a 5 string! I have the Farland style of bridge on my 1901 Concert Grand thanks to your info a few years ago! This has steel strings on it and I was wondering if this was made around 1920 if it my have been built for steel or should I put some nylguts on? I remember that Farland hated the sound of steel strings... but then he came up with the steel head! Go figure.

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:37:28 AM

6999 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Absolutely beautiful instrument. Never seen a Farland with that level of inlay and binding work. What is also very interesting is that it looks as if you also have the original bridge on the instrument.

Also a good score is all the case candy you appear to have. If you could, please take a detailed photo of the playlists. They would be interesting to see.

Those flat picks look to be real turtle shell. Also a very nice find. If you play mandoline or guitar, nothing plays like real TS. Please keep in mind that those picks were most likely made 50-100 years before anyone reading this post was born. I do not advocate on any level using recently made TS picks.

Please also post a picture of the case.

Really nice instrument. I’m sure you will get a lot of feedback on it.


That is not the original bridge (see attached for the Farland pattern).

That playlist looks like you are ready to put on your styrofoam skimmer and red sleeve garters for your Shakey's Pizza job.


Joel I thought the same thing about the play lists (there are two)... I was surprised it still was set up as a 5 string! I have the Farland style of bridge on my 1901 Concert Grand thanks to your info a few years ago! This has steel strings on it and I was wondering if this was made around 1920 if it my have been built for steel or should I put some nylguts on? I remember that Farland hated the sound of steel strings... but then he came up with the steel head! Go figure.


Farland would absolutely not have gone for steel strings.  Even in the 1920s quality 5 strings were made for gut... Vega was still shipping 5 strings in the mid 20s with "true strings" (rectified and varnished gut). 

Jun 26, 2022 - 8:30:52 AM

427 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
Farland would absolutely not have gone for steel strings.  Even in the 1920s quality 5 strings were made for gut... Vega was still shipping 5 strings in the mid 20s with "true strings" (rectified and varnished gut). 

Thanks Joel! As I suspected, though I always like confirmation!

Jun 26, 2022 - 11:31:52 AM

rmcdow

USA

1171 posts since 11/8/2014
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Farland would absolutely not have gone for steel strings.  Even in the 1920s quality 5 strings were made for gut... Vega was still shipping 5 strings in the mid 20s with "true strings" (rectified and varnished gut). 



I have a Farland string I bought on ebay, I think others here have them also.  It is silk, twisted.


Edited by - rmcdow on 06/26/2022 11:35:37

Jun 26, 2022 - 12:18:43 PM

6999 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

Farland would absolutely not have gone for steel strings.  Even in the 1920s quality 5 strings were made for gut... Vega was still shipping 5 strings in the mid 20s with "true strings" (rectified and varnished gut). 



I have a Farland string I bought on ebay, I think others here have them also.  It is silk, twisted.


If you had it tested I bet you would find that it is some version of Viscose or Rayon.

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Jun 26, 2022 - 12:26:53 PM

rmcdow

USA

1171 posts since 11/8/2014
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

Farland would absolutely not have gone for steel strings.  Even in the 1920s quality 5 strings were made for gut... Vega was still shipping 5 strings in the mid 20s with "true strings" (rectified and varnished gut). 



I have a Farland string I bought on ebay, I think others here have them also.  It is silk, twisted.


If you had it tested I bet you would find that it is some version of Viscose or Rayon.

 


I did the burn test, which smelled like burning silk, not burning Rayon.  I thought the string must be rayon or some other derived synthetic, but as far as I can tell from burning a bit, it is silk, or at the very least some organic material, not a derived synthetic.  I just did the burn test again, and this time also burned, for comparison, some 100% silk beading thread I have in the same size as the string.  They both burned the same, with the carbonized ball forming at the end of the string as silk is prone to do when burning it.  The smell was the same, only the Farland string (as you can see in the photo is browned from age) smelled a bit like old clothes.  I unraveled the silk to see if there was a core of some different material, and didn't find one.  There are multiple individual strands of bundled silk fibers that make up the string, and they all start to come apart when I untwist the string.  I would say with pretty high certainty that this is silk.

Edited by - rmcdow on 06/26/2022 12:42:16

Jun 26, 2022 - 12:40:44 PM

6999 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

Farland would absolutely not have gone for steel strings.  Even in the 1920s quality 5 strings were made for gut... Vega was still shipping 5 strings in the mid 20s with "true strings" (rectified and varnished gut). 



I have a Farland string I bought on ebay, I think others here have them also.  It is silk, twisted.


If you had it tested I bet you would find that it is some version of Viscose or Rayon.

 


I did the burn test, which smelled like burning silk, not burning Rayon.  I thought the string must be rayon or some other derived synthetic, but as far as I can tell from burning a bit, it is silk, or at the very least some organic material, not a derived synthetic.  If you have another test I can try, I would be happy to undertake it, as it would be good to know for certain what the material is.  


If you are serious about this I have a great testing lab that I use for product testing at my day job.  I figure it would cost about $50 to $60 to have a fiber analysis done.

The lab is Modern Testing Services but I could PM you the person that I contact directly when I need a test done.

Jun 26, 2022 - 12:49:50 PM

rmcdow

USA

1171 posts since 11/8/2014
Online Now


I did the burn test, which smelled like burning silk, not burning Rayon.  I thought the string must be rayon or some other derived synthetic, but as far as I can tell from burning a bit, it is silk, or at the very least some organic material, not a derived synthetic.  If you have another test I can try, I would be happy to undertake it, as it would be good to know for certain what the material is.  


If you are serious about this I have a great testing lab that I use for product testing at my day job.  I figure it would cost about $50 to $60 to have a fiber analysis done.

The lab is Modern Testing Services but I could PM you the person that I contact directly when I need a test done.


I just did the burn test again, and compared the smell to a size F 100% silk beading thread I have (see the post I edited above after doing the test).  I don't believe I'd need to pay for testing the fiber, as I have much of the lab setup to do testing myself; high powered microscope to look at the fibers, solvents to see what the fiber might dissolve in, etc.  I will track down some Rayon and Viscose to see what those fibers look like under the microscope (I'm willing to bet they are smooth on the surface, unlike silk which has a texture) and do a burn test on them to see what they smell like.  

I don't know if you noticed the conflicting information on the packaging.  Farland is saying on the front that this is a 3rd for finger playing, 2nd for pick playing, and on the back it says it is a 4th.  

Edited by - rmcdow on 06/26/2022 12:51:43

Jun 26, 2022 - 12:57:57 PM

427 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

I did the burn test, which smelled like burning silk, not burning Rayon.  I thought the string must be rayon or some other derived synthetic, but as far as I can tell from burning a bit, it is silk, or at the very least some organic material, not a derived synthetic.  If you have another test I can try, I would be happy to undertake it, as it would be good to know for certain what the material is.  


If you are serious about this I have a great testing lab that I use for product testing at my day job.  I figure it would cost about $50 to $60 to have a fiber analysis done.

The lab is Modern Testing Services but I could PM you the person that I contact directly when I need a test done.


I just did the burn test again, and compared the smell to a size F 100% silk beading thread I have (see the post I edited above after doing the test).  I don't believe I'd need to pay for testing the fiber, as I have much of the lab setup to do testing myself; high powered microscope to look at the fibers, solvents to see what the fiber might dissolve in, etc.  I will track down some Rayon and Viscose to see what those fibers look like under the microscope (I'm willing to bet they are smooth on the surface, unlike silk which has a texture) and do a burn test on them to see what they smell like.  

I don't know if you noticed the conflicting information on the packaging.  Farland is saying on the front that this is a 3rd for finger playing, 2nd for pick playing, and on the back it says it is a 4th.  


Very interesting, I also have one of those Farland Strings and I think the guy is still selling them, at least last I checked. I'm waiting for one of my strings to break so that I can use it...... Just kidding!

Jun 26, 2022 - 1:06:43 PM

6999 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

I did the burn test, which smelled like burning silk, not burning Rayon.  I thought the string must be rayon or some other derived synthetic, but as far as I can tell from burning a bit, it is silk, or at the very least some organic material, not a derived synthetic.  If you have another test I can try, I would be happy to undertake it, as it would be good to know for certain what the material is.  


If you are serious about this I have a great testing lab that I use for product testing at my day job.  I figure it would cost about $50 to $60 to have a fiber analysis done.

The lab is Modern Testing Services but I could PM you the person that I contact directly when I need a test done.


I just did the burn test again, and compared the smell to a size F 100% silk beading thread I have (see the post I edited above after doing the test).  I don't believe I'd need to pay for testing the fiber, as I have much of the lab setup to do testing myself; high powered microscope to look at the fibers, solvents to see what the fiber might dissolve in, etc.  I will track down some Rayon and Viscose to see what those fibers look like under the microscope (I'm willing to bet they are smooth on the surface, unlike silk which has a texture) and do a burn test on them to see what they smell like.  

I don't know if you noticed the conflicting information on the packaging.  Farland is saying on the front that this is a 3rd for finger playing, 2nd for pick playing, and on the back it says it is a 4th.  


Not conflicting, the back is an advertisement for his 4ths.  The discrepancy on the front is that pick players were using heavier strings than for fingerstyle.   This has to do with the wearing of the string (picks are very hard on them) and the "snap" that comes from fingertips opposed to a pick.

Farland was playing with a leather pick for his tremolo passages. 

It becomes quickly evident to anyone attending an ABF rally that thinner ("period sized") strings are much louder and crisper than the thicker strings in fashion today like the polyester strings sold as "nylgut".

One could look towards the Spanish guitar for something similar.  Once Segovia popularized nail playing strings got thicker.

I am sure there is a real scientific reason for this that has to do with energy lost in torque by the larger diameter string rolling more than the thinner strings when plucked by a finger tip, where a pick (or fingernail) would provide a clean snap with minimum torque of the string. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 1:01:25 PM

427 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Absolutely beautiful instrument. Never seen a Farland with that level of inlay and binding work. What is also very interesting is that it looks as if you also have the original bridge on the instrument.

Also a good score is all the case candy you appear to have. If you could, please take a detailed photo of the playlists. They would be interesting to see.

Those flat picks look to be real turtle shell. Also a very nice find. If you play mandoline or guitar, nothing plays like real TS. Please keep in mind that those picks were most likely made 50-100 years before anyone reading this post was born. I do not advocate on any level using recently made TS picks.

Please also post a picture of the case.

Really nice instrument. I’m sure you will get a lot of feedback on it.


I spent some time playing it with some of the picks last night and now I want to use them with the mando and guitar! They are very thin, but have a great sound when picking the strings!  I was shocked to find all that stuff in the case as the guy I bought it from on eBay never mentioned any of it. 
Took some pictures of the case today so here they are. It has an old style leather handle.


Edited by - TriMD180 on 06/27/2022 13:05:10

Jun 27, 2022 - 1:15:48 PM

59236 posts since 12/14/2005

Steel head??
Not skin, not plastic?
As in, a magnet would stick to it??

Jun 27, 2022 - 1:29:56 PM
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427 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Steel head??
Not skin, not plastic?
As in, a magnet would stick to it??


Yes indeed! Just tried it with a magnet. Farland patented it around 1915 or so and used them as an option in his banjos. It has an interesting sound with these steel strings on it (a little bit of a guitarist ring to it)... haven't changed them out for nylon yet. It looks like they have used steel string for quite a while on this judging from the old wound strings and packaging in the storage compartment in the case.

Jun 27, 2022 - 2:05:13 PM
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59236 posts since 12/14/2005

Fridge magnet mute and tone  experiments maynow begin!

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