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1927 Bacon & Day Silver Bell Tenor Banjo - need help from the experts.

Oct 4, 2022 - 1:20:44 PM
4 posts since 10/4/2022

Hi there, new to hangouts as well as banjos in general. I'm a country blues, early jazz guitar player and am looking to up my arsenal of tricks on stage with a tenor banjo.

I've been looking around and researching and found lots of positive feed back about the B&D Silver Belle.

I found this for sale on kijiji close to where I live and was just hoping some of the experts and current owners could help me out.

In my estimation it's a No. 1, it looks as though the tailpiece has been replaced but I'm not sure.

What other things should I be looking at and asking about while considering the purchase?

Really, any feedback is helpful.

Here' is what the seller wrote about it:
1927 Bacon & Day Silver Bell Tenor Banjo
Expertly restored
New quality tuners
Fishman pick installed
Huber professional leather strap
New Goldtone Case

Hopefully I posted the pictures properly.

Oct 4, 2022 - 2:46:36 PM

14999 posts since 10/30/2008
Online Now

Well that armrest and tailpiece arent original or even proper reproductions of the originals. Tuners also replaced, non-original.

You need to be sure the guts haven't been tinkered with. You also need a detailed definition of what was done in the "restoration". It appears that "collector value" has been lost by parts substitutions at least. That price might be a good price for a pristine original #1. Not so sure it's correct for an altered #1. Of course I'm thinking in US dollars, not Canadian, so it might be reasonable for Canadian funds.

There are B&D experts here who can probably point out the playability issues you need to check for like integrity of the heel dowel stick and dowel stick "yoke" hardware. Have you played this banjo? Seen it in person? Even a guitar player knows the neck needs to be uncracked (hopefully never cracked and never repaired too), straight, with string action that neither buzzes nor is way too high.

Take care, and hope you find something that suits you. Good luck. In general it's a good rule not to jump at the first banjo you run across...there are plenty more of them out there.

Oct 4, 2022 - 4:51:29 PM

4 posts since 10/4/2022

Yes that all makes sense, thanks for the reply.
I think it's probably best if I keep on looking.
Haven't had a chance to play it, I of course know what to look for as far as intonation, neck straightness, etc goes - but the more I think about it the more I think it may be best to grab from a reputable dealer, there's a few good ones around where I live.
Thanks again.

Oct 4, 2022 - 5:39:25 PM
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7227 posts since 9/21/2007

"Expertly Restored" translation: "I took it to a guitar shop with a 'luthier' on staff and he changed the strings and smeared oil all over the fingerboard. Possibly rubbed the frets with steel wool first."

Oct 4, 2022 - 6:03:13 PM
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10144 posts since 8/28/2013

It doesn't look expertly restored to me. Actually, judging by the marred resonator it doesn't look restored at all.

One does not expertly restore anything by using the wrong parts.

It's difficult to completely ruin such a high quality banjo, but it is quite easy to patch one up with bogus parts and attempt to sell it at a somewhat inflated price.

Oct 4, 2022 - 9:51:40 PM
Players Union Member



16074 posts since 8/30/2006

Asking too much $

Maybe 1k

B&D are some of the finest made

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