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Apr 20, 2024 - 5:50:25 AM

Bigmon

USA

11 posts since 4/19/2024

Howdy to all. I am new to this sight so please be patient with me. I have a long history in BG music, but have never played the banjo. Just started about 3 months ago and have a decent enough banjo to work with, But recently aquired the banjo that was at one time owned by a former band mate.
A Fender Concert Tone manuf, we believe in the late 60's. As it is visible on several album covers from the early 70's.
Is there anyway to actually determine the true year of manufacture. It would be interesting to know.
Thanks to all, I look forward to visiting this web sight in my banjo learning journey.

Apr 20, 2024 - 6:47:28 AM

3567 posts since 4/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Bigmon


Is there anyway to actually determine the true year of manufacture. It would be interesting to know.
Thanks to all, I look forward to visiting this web sight in my banjo learning journey.


According to Scott Zimmerman, former employee of Fender, there is no way to determine the manufacture date of Fender banjos by the number found on the label inside the banjo. Scott says those numbers were used for accounting and had no correlation to any date of manufacture. So, aside from an original bill of sale, there is no way to know for certain when a particular banjo was built. There are some subtle differences in manufacture that might indicate which decade, 60s or 70s, a particular banjo was built, but those differences are not 100% either. 

Apr 20, 2024 - 7:02:50 AM

Bigmon

USA

11 posts since 4/19/2024

Thanks for the reply and information. This is a well used and worked banjo. Still in pretty good condition. Other than a repaired neck. Somehow in eons past it was broken and repaird. It isn't a good looking repair but it is solid and has held up a long time.
There has been a lot of good music played on it, but I think those days are over. I am not grasping this very fast.

Apr 20, 2024 - 9:12:38 AM
likes this

2 posts since 3/4/2023

It's a bit of work to access, but my 70s Fender Allegro has a date stamp on the heel of the neck. Yours might be similar if you really want to know the date.


Apr 20, 2024 - 9:30 AM

15219 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Bigmon

This is a well used and worked banjo. Still in pretty good condition. Other than a repaired neck. Somehow in eons past it was broken and repaird. It isn't a good looking repair but it is solid and has held up a long time.


Welcome to the Hangout.

I've seen two or three tremendously ugly repairs on Fender Artist necks (same era as your banjo). Both were in the heel area and used a lot of dark epoxy or other substance. One even used big screws from the fretboard side with their heads as visible as inlays.

Anyway, in case you don't get a lot of replies here you might want to search the Hangout or the web in general for discussions or information on dating American made Fender banjos. The Hangout search tool is the magnifying glass icon in the persistent navigation column at the left of every page. Google actually does a better job searching the Hangout. To do that, go to Google, enter your search phrase (such as determine date of Fender Concert Tone banjo) then follow that with: site:BanjoHangout.org      Google will then search only this site to find what it can.

Apr 20, 2024 - 3:47:24 PM

banjoez

USA

2800 posts since 7/18/2007

Welcome Aboard Brad!

Old California Fenders are pretty awesome banjos. The best way I've found to approximately date an old Fender (there's no way to be exact as mentioned) is if it has round thumbscrews and a super thin neck (front to back) those are usually the early ones from the 60's. They have that early Bill Emerson clarity and power. The later ones usually have a thicker profile neck and arguably sound a bit more subdued IMHO.

Edited by - banjoez on 04/20/2024 16:00:09

Apr 20, 2024 - 6:22:12 PM

Bigmon

USA

11 posts since 4/19/2024

Hey thanks to all, I really appreciate it. I think it would be great to know. I have a photo of an album which this banjo is on, and it is dated 1970 as the release.
The man I got it from says he feels it is late 60's. I guess it would about have to be if the album is dated 1970? Just Like Old Times, Mac Martin.
Also, it has that really thin neck I keep hearing about.
And it sounds pretty good to me when it's played by someone that knows how.
Thanks again to all.

Apr 21, 2024 - 10:24:51 AM

Bigmon

USA

11 posts since 4/19/2024

I took a few photos. Are these the resonator screws you are referring too? Also, sure is an ugly repair, but it is solid.
Would it be worth having it professionally repaired?

Apr 22, 2024 - 6:48:11 AM

Bigmon

USA

11 posts since 4/19/2024

I am not sure that I was able to attach any photos? Are they visible?

Apr 22, 2024 - 6:58:37 AM

3567 posts since 4/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Bigmon

I am not sure that I was able to attach any photos? Are they visible?


They are visible on your profile page. The flat-topped thumb screws were more often seen in the 70s. The 60s thumb screws had rounded tops. But again, that isn't a 100%. The cool thing is the "Ottengier" style tailpiece. I think that might have been an upgrade to the standard "Nashville" style tailpiece. Once in a while, you'll see a Concert Tone neck for sale. You might luck up and get a replacement for yours. If the repair is holding, I wouldn't worry about replacing the neck. 

Apr 22, 2024 - 8:08:22 AM

5435 posts since 11/20/2004

Only you can decide if the repair is worth it to you. It should look much better, but still sound the same. Some people value appearance more than others. Having owned one for 50 years, I am partial to them.

Apr 22, 2024 - 12:09:05 PM

15679 posts since 10/30/2008

Your resonator thumbscrews appear to be the "later" type, of more or less traditional Gibson shape. The initial Fender thumbscrews were SPHERICAL globes, and a pure D b**** to tighten or loosen with your thumb and fingers as you couldn't get a purchase on them.

Every Concertone I saw back in the day had the Oettinger tailpiece.

Only method of dating I've ever heard was based on the resonator thumbscrews.

Apr 22, 2024 - 1:08:23 PM

13128 posts since 10/27/2006

A lot of keystrokes have been wasted by those trying to date USA Fender banjos, especially a few who keep insisting that their way is accurate for one reason or another.

The 1968 catalog shows Concert Tones, Allegros and Artists with both the rounded and flat-topped resonator bolts plus arch and flat topped tone rings. PM me for a scan and I'll attach it to email.

Like everyone else, Fender had more than one supplier for hardware. Waverly and Elkington (Elton) were two of them. By the late 1960s, Fender was using Grover and Schaller tuners on their guitars in addition to Kluson.

My Allegro long neck had a Waverly tailpiece with an embossed Fender F on the cover and Elton pancake tuners. I never pulled the neck to check for a date, however. 

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