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Mar 4, 2024 - 6:01:48 PM
29 posts since 4/29/2009

... I've got a Great Sounding Banjo that I bought a few years back, and have no idea who built it. It has a Pat pending stamp inside rim along with the number 603-9 . It is equipped with a solid no hole tone ring of unknown history. I was told that it was made in 1936, and it had been authenticated as original, by Curtis Mcpeak years earlier.It has a Mastertone label which is not correct. The neck is aftermarket. Am not sure of the hardware as to period. The instrument is loud and clear as rain up and down the neck. Need help figuring out what I've got. Thanks. I've enabled my settings today . "Pictures are shown at bottom of page".

Member Name: Banjo Vision

Edited by - Banjo Vision on 03/11/2024 09:27:18

Mar 4, 2024 - 6:03:23 PM
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29 posts since 4/29/2009


Edited by - Banjo Vision on 03/04/2024 18:18:33

Mar 4, 2024 - 6:04:35 PM

29 posts since 4/29/2009

Here's the photos of rim

Mar 4, 2024 - 6:32:47 PM

5640 posts since 5/29/2011

I just checked Banjophiles for the serial number. The closest one I could find is 606-1 which was made in 1936. It was a style X. The numbers all around yours are a lot of different types of banjos so it's hard to say what model it is.

Mar 4, 2024 - 6:46:45 PM
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1250 posts since 7/25/2006

FON 603 does not show up in my list of numbers. old twanger is your best source for info...

Mar 4, 2024 - 8:44:24 PM
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GStump

USA

562 posts since 9/12/2006

I was going to send you a msg but you have private messaging disabled. I tried everywhere I could think of to look at pics of the rim, on your home page, media, etc. can't find any pics but 4. one of a banjo, one of a micrometer, two of a thumbpick. Am I missing something? ALSO PLEASE enable private messaging so people can send you messages!!

Mar 5, 2024 - 5:32:53 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

6260 posts since 10/12/2009
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Spann's book has FON 603 for1936, listed as "L-30" which are archtop, f-hole guitars. Spann also has FON 603 for 1937 listed as "Black Special" and Black Special #4" which were "economy model" archtop guitars, stained / painted black. 

The number 603 is fairly scarce in the Spann book listing of FON's, as opposed to some other numbers from the mid-'30's to early '40's, which were often used more than once, in different years.

Spann does state that the FON listings in his book are not "all inclusive" and that are some series of numbers are not accounted for in Gibson historical paperwork.

Just for some "thread drift", while looking at some photos of, and reading about Gibson archtop guitars from the 1930's, it was interesting to note that some guitar models had variations of inlays more common to Gibson banjos. I saw pictures of an L-10 guitar with "wreath" inlays, and some other guitar with a semi "leaves and bows" inlaid fretboard !

Edited by - RioStat on 03/05/2024 05:34:33

Mar 5, 2024 - 8:55:45 AM

1522 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Bib Rodgers

FON 603 does not show up in my list of numbers. old twanger is your best source for info...


I have no record of  FON 603 series banjo production.
There are no FON 603 banjos in the excellent Joe Spann book as listed by RioStat Scott Yates.

Mar 5, 2024 - 6:28:22 PM

29 posts since 4/29/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

I just checked Banjophiles for the serial number. The closest one I could find is 606-1 which was made in 1936. It was a style X. The numbers all around yours are a lot of different types of banjos so it's hard to say what model it is.


Mar 5, 2024 - 6:29:18 PM

29 posts since 4/29/2009

Hello Culloden, what's a style X 606-1 ? Thanks...

Mar 5, 2024 - 6:38:29 PM

5640 posts since 5/29/2011

Style X was a non Mastertone model that was introduced in 1936. It had a pie wedge style resonator veneer with alternating colors. There is one example shown on Greg Earnest's website.

Mar 11, 2024 - 9:31:34 AM

29 posts since 4/29/2009

Here's the Photos of the Pot in Question. I will be contacting Curtis Mcpeak as to his thoughts on his original assessment. At this point I am trying to figure out more about the origin of the pot. The remainder of the instrument is made up of assorted parts it appears. Once figured out, I am considering selling it as I have far too many banjos at this time. Photos shown below.

Mar 11, 2024 - 9:37:28 AM
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RB3

USA

1983 posts since 4/12/2004

If you hope to contact Curtis McPeake, you're going to have to find a medium who can conduct a seance.

Edited by - RB3 on 03/11/2024 09:40:10

Mar 11, 2024 - 2:38:59 PM

O.D.

USA

3861 posts since 10/29/2003

The first six in the sequence looks a bit like an 8
E

Mar 11, 2024 - 3:49:08 PM

14936 posts since 1/15/2005

It's difficult to think that an original flathead ring would be put in a banjo that did not have a pre-war Gibson provenance, but I guess stranger things have happened. Usually if someone finds one of these orphaned flathead rings, and heaven knows where all of them came from, they are usually going to put them in a cut pre-war archtop banjo. I would not go by "Curtis said", but rather an appraisal signed by him, which would carry a lot more weight. Of course there are others now, like Steve Huber, that would be a good source, so you might want to consider giving him a call.

Mar 11, 2024 - 8:02:05 PM

29 posts since 4/29/2009

Had no idea Mcpeak had passed. I will try to send photos to Huber and try to scout around on who else out there can shed some new light on this one. Thank you for the update. Banjo Vision, Rick

Mar 12, 2024 - 6:42:48 AM

14936 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Vision

Had no idea Mcpeak had passed. I will try to send photos to Huber and try to scout around on who else out there can shed some new light on this one. Thank you for the update. Banjo Vision, Rick


I doubt that Steve or anyone else can identify a prewar tone ring from photos, but I guess it could be a possibility.  Obviously the best way would be to send it to him.  If it isauthentic, it would be well worth the money to have him look at it.

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