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Nov 26, 2022 - 5:18:59 AM
6 posts since 11/26/2022

Hi all,

I'm looking to buy my first banjo, and I've seen this used Stromberg Voisinet in a local music shop. Does anybody have any opinions on these banjos, and this one in particular? They're asking £500 for it. Their description:

A Pre-Owned USA made Stromberg Voisinet tenor banjo in good playing condition. It has a beautifully crafted metal frame with plantlife imagery worked into the metal.The back also has an incredibly well crafted design matching the natural metalwork theme.

This instrument has been professionally repaired, the current flange is also not the orginal as the first had to be replaced. It does have marks and scratches over the surface from general use but this does not effect the playing at all, some on the skin as seen in the pictures as well.

Would I be better off buying a new beginner banjo? Looking at Goodtime Two's.

 

Cheers




 

Nov 26, 2022 - 6:02:10 AM
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6018 posts since 12/20/2005

I have never seen a SV banjo, although they do not appear to be especially rare.
I’d have to see and play it to give a definite answer.
I’m inclined to think that amount of money would be better spent on a different banjo

Nov 26, 2022 - 6:59:41 AM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2801 posts since 3/10/2008

SV made a big array of banjos from no tone ring to the "cup-a-tone", or "cop-a-tone" tone ring model" (not sure which spelling!). The upper end model had a complicated arrangement of copper tubes supporting a metal rod beneath the head. I have no idea what these sounded like. I don't know where in the array of models this banjo fits. You will need to look inside the pot to see what this is--or maybe someone else on BHO can advise you more.

The Kay company took over the SV line of banjos and guitars, and over the years thereafter the quality declined steadily.

Nov 26, 2022 - 7:25:05 AM

2624 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Pink Eric

 

Would I be better off buying a new beginner banjo? Looking at Goodtime Two's.

 


The pictured banjo is a four string 19 fret tenor. Are you looking for a tenor or a five string like the Goodtime 2?

Nov 26, 2022 - 7:32:18 AM

6 posts since 11/26/2022

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by Pink Eric

 

Would I be better off buying a new beginner banjo? Looking at Goodtime Two's.

 


The pictured banjo is a four string 19 fret tenor. Are you looking for a tenor or a five string like the Goodtime 2?


Hi Graham, thanks for replying. I'm after a 4 string tenor, I think the goodtime 2 is available as such? https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/goodtime-2-19-tenor.banjo?pv=6439

Nov 26, 2022 - 8:40:38 AM

2624 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Pink Eric

Hi Graham, thanks for replying. I'm after a 4 string tenor, I think the goodtime 2 is available as such? https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/goodtime-2-19-tenor.banjo?pv=6439


Yes you're right. While the one at Hobgoblin looks overpriced so does the Goodtime 2. Considering the open back version is available for as low as £399

https://www.promenademusic.co.uk/deering-goodtime-banjo-19-fret-tenor

that means you're paying £250 for a resonator and flange. And the flange and resonator kit costs £120 at Eagle Music. Admittidley with Eagle you get a setup but there isn't really a lot to do besides making sure the head is tight and the bridge is in the right place which everyone needs to be able to do. As the Goodtime lacks a truss rod there are no neck adjustments that can be made.

A secondhand Goodtime tenor open back is available for £320 (inc postage)

https://reverb.com/uk/item/61024462-deering-goodtime-19-fret-tenor-banjo

A secondhand full fledged and heavy tenor with a flathead tone ring is availble for £555. These Japanese made made banjos are fairly well thought of. Perhaps a light Deering would be a better idea for now.

https://reverb.com/uk/item/62272959-maya-tenor-bow-tie-banjo-1979-mahogany

Nov 26, 2022 - 9:43:17 AM
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12477 posts since 10/27/2006

Whatever that is, it never left Kay looking like that. SV resonators have a hole for the center bolt to attach it to the dowel stick; Kay resonators like this do not. There are a lot of Kays made between 1930–'35 with the SV label (that I'm betting this doesn't have) before Kay moved to the new factory in 1935. 

Anyway, that's a Gibson type flange: 24 brackets is the giveaway—with what appears to be a Kay resonator. Kay pot or not? You won't know till you pull the resonator and look inside. Kays have an 11" pot so this isn't hard to do.

Does it have the Kay neck adjuster or a pair of co-rods? What kind of tone ring? I'm guessing 1/4" steel rod but no one will know without looking.

Kay used this headstock shape through the 1960s on private label banjos so that tells you nothing. The fretboard design does say 1930s.

Value? Whatever someone is willing to pay.

Nov 26, 2022 - 10:33:44 AM

3063 posts since 3/30/2008

SV/Kays of this type are decent intermediate banjos, but only at a certain price point. This particular instrument is way overpriced.

Nov 26, 2022 - 12:04:14 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26689 posts since 6/25/2005

It appears to have Gibson-style tone ring. If so, it might well be worth the price—and better than a Goodtime.

Nov 26, 2022 - 3:55:24 PM

6 posts since 11/26/2022

Thanks for all very much for replying. I went into the shop today and had a play of the instrument in question. It had old strings and was out of tune, but felt nice to play to me, nice action compared to a guitar. They said they thought it was late 20's-early 30's, so could be either side of the Kays's takeover. I asked if it had a tone ring and they weren't sure, but it was quite a bit heavier than I was expecting, so possibly? Apparently the model is 'the rose' which I can't find much about. They were keen to state that they were open to offers, so I reckon I could get it for £250-£300. Would this still be too much, and would I be able to get more value elsewhere? I am tempted because it looks so nice. Another few photos attached. There is a lot of wear and tear on it, so I'm leaning towards not buying it, but at the same time, I think I'd prefer vintage to new.




 

Nov 26, 2022 - 4:29:30 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26689 posts since 6/25/2005

I think it’s a modern pot, probably Asian, that someone fancied up with decorative metal strips and a resonator decal, then mated with an old S/V or Kay neck.

Nov 26, 2022 - 8:27:35 PM

beegee

USA

23156 posts since 7/6/2005

THe tension hoop is vintage kay, the flange is a non-original Gibson-style. This is obviously a mucked-over hybrid something or other. Unless it’s really low-priced, I’d look elsewhere.

Nov 28, 2022 - 2:49:54 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

16373 posts since 8/30/2006

Get the price you want

Bring this girl to the dance, she’ll wake up again
Parts are parts and are meant to help make music

I had one of the SV Cup O Phones in my shop for an Eastman 5-string conversion

I got to play it alongside my golden spoons

I would describe the sound as Rampant

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