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Mar 3, 2024 - 11:37:11 AM
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2 posts since 3/3/2024

I inherited this old banjo, probably a late 1800s - early 1900s Lyon and Healy from my parents who grew up in Southern West Virginia. I was just trying to learn anything and everything about it if I could. I play it quite often, and after doing extensive repairs it actually sounds pretty good. I want to make or purchase a new bridge to better accommodate nylon strings. One interesting thing about it is that the first four frets are either intentionally filed down, or if it's even possible, it's been played so much that they've worn down. When I got it originally, it had a very old skin head on it of some kind, but it was torn so it's been replaced  with a white calfskin. Pot is 11".


Edited by - zitchen on 03/03/2024 11:42:21

Mar 4, 2024 - 12:30:31 PM


New Zealand

11999 posts since 6/29/2003

I suspect it COULD be a British made one, possibly John Alvey Turner or something similar. I have repaired an old banjo a while ago with similar inlays. This is just a guess on my part. Are there any markings on the inside of the rim or the dowel stick?

Mar 4, 2024 - 9:14 PM

161 posts since 2/4/2010

Made by Lyon & Healy / Washburn

Mar 5, 2024 - 2:41:18 AM
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2028 posts since 1/13/2012

As Jim said, it's a Lyon & Healy.

An old fiddler I knew (now deceased) who grew up in Mingo county said that folks down that way would file the frets down on factory banjos because they preferred the sound of a fretless.

Mar 5, 2024 - 5:13:50 AM
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740 posts since 6/26/2004

Hiram Stamper said the same thing about filing down the frets on banjos. He was holding my banjo at the time. I took it back quickly.

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