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Dec 9, 2023 - 6:00:36 AM


America Samoa

7 posts since 9/20/2023

A friend of mine is thinking of bidding on this. Is this worth the effort?

Dec 9, 2023 - 7:14:12 AM
like this

4776 posts since 3/28/2008

Typical low-end beginner instrument. These can be fine to learn on, especially if they're well set up, but don't pay more than about $150--and only then, IF it's in good condition.

Can you go check it out in person? Do you know enough about instruments to assess its condition? If you don't, can you bring along a friend who does?

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 12/09/2023 07:14:27

Dec 9, 2023 - 7:53:09 AM
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529 posts since 11/29/2012

My humble advice: save your money, borrow a banjo if you have to, until you can buy an actual banjo. That thing will sound like a Coke can on a stick--which would be free to build.

Dec 9, 2023 - 2:55:48 PM
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2345 posts since 2/9/2007

Well, it was NOT made by the National that is known for their superb US-made resonator guitars, etc. The logo on the peghead was likely added, either by the US distributor or the banjo's owner.

That particular early (~1960's) Asian design, with a plain cylindrical aluminum rim and hex shoes, is IMO (potentially, at least) better sounding than the similar-looking ones with thin wood or cast-aluminum "bottlecap" rim. If nothing's broken, the neck is straight, and the truss rod functional, it will make a perfectly good starter banjo, well worth $100-$150. It looks in good shape, but if you can't get hands on it before bidding (and/or have to pay to have it packed and shipped!) it's probably too much of a gamble to bother with.

Dec 9, 2023 - 3:06:50 PM
likes this

467 posts since 2/11/2009

The original National brand ended with the bankruptcy of Valco in 1968. The name was picked up by a distributor called Strum & Drum shortly after, and they started importing National-branded instruments from Japan until sometime in the mid '70s. This is from that period.

The Dopyera brothers, the folks behind the original National brand, did make some National tenor banjos in the '20s and then some electric banjos around 1939, but this one isn't their work. There were also a handful of National-branded banjos built at the Kay factory after it was acquired by Valco, but again, this is later.

Edited by - OldFrets on 12/09/2023 15:08:00

Dec 10, 2023 - 9:08:52 AM


America Samoa

7 posts since 9/20/2023


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