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Feb 27, 2024 - 6:24:56 PM
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591 posts since 1/8/2005

Appears hardly used, I am keeping it original, Irish tuning.


Feb 28, 2024 - 2:28:46 AM
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335 posts since 12/19/2017

That is a beautiful instrument. It is very hard to find something half that age without a bunch of wear marks. I wish anything I owned that age looked half as good. Enjoy it and make it ring.

Feb 28, 2024 - 6:00:52 AM

3365 posts since 9/5/2006

I've got one just like that and very similar in condition. They are killer for Irish music.

Feb 28, 2024 - 9:40:36 AM
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13079 posts since 10/27/2006

Professional Artist 12" (advertised—actual size of the head is 11 13/16") Style M with resonator and flanges is one of the rarest Vegas I know.

The 1925 year is someone's guess. This is closer to 1930 as this appears to have a machine carved, maple neck. That it has 17 frets clear is another indicator. If the resonator is original, that it is 2-piece instead of 8 (pieplate ) is the clearest indicator of all. If the case appears to be original, then the likelihood of the resonator being original increases significantly—wicked cool. The resonator for the 11 13/16" pot with flanges is extremely rare since the unit for the 10 15/16" Professional fits this without flanges.

What is the nominal scale? Measure from the inside of the nut to the 12th fret and multiply x2.

Feb 28, 2024 - 10:40:01 AM

591 posts since 1/8/2005

Scale appears to be 20.5" The serial number of the banjo is 78319. Doesn't this place it in 1925?

Feb 28, 2024 - 1:10:51 PM
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5649 posts since 5/29/2011

Originally posted by frankabr.

Scale appears to be 20.5" The serial number of the banjo is 78319. Doesn't this place it in 1925?

According to the site I have used numerous times, no. The last serial number for 1925 was 67500 and the last one for 1930 was 95000. So your banjo is from somewhere between those two years.

That's the Mugwumps site. Other sites could have completely different information.

Edited by - Culloden on 02/28/2024 13:13:07

Feb 28, 2024 - 1:55:40 PM
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3524 posts since 4/7/2010


Even when Mike Holmes, the founder & owner of Mugwumps magazine and website, was alive, the site was outdated. Myself and some friends would send him properly researched updates periodically and he never responded, let alone use the information to update the site. A good example is on his listing of musical instrument makers from pre Civil War to World War 2. Under J. French banjos he lists them as having been built from C 1870 to 1880. The research that Andy Fitzgibbon and I did came up with a range of 1873 to 1900. Mike Holmes was well aware of that research and even wanted Andy to move the J. French website to Mugwumps. But he couldn't be bothered to do a minor correction on his own page.

I don't mean to hijack this page, but If I didn't bring up the inaccuracies of the Mugwumps site, certainly Joel Hooks would.

The current accepted Fairbanks and Vega serial number list was created by, if I am remembering correctly, Peter Corfield. his research and statistical analysis puts serial number 78319 at 1925.

I will finish with my admiration of frankabr. s banjo. What a nice, yet unusual combination of features. Though I don't really play tenor banjo, I play many instruments tuned in fifths. I bet that one is a dream to play.

Bob Smakula

Edited by - Bob Smakula on 02/28/2024 13:58:07

Feb 28, 2024 - 2:21:15 PM
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28 posts since 3/17/2019

Thanks for the share! To me they are as loud as any other banjo and the flat neck back is especially comfortable. Congrats

Feb 28, 2024 - 5:16:19 PM

591 posts since 1/8/2005

Thanks for everyone's comments!

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