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Apr 21, 2024 - 5:43:32 AM
2 posts since 4/2/2024

Hello,

I recently bought this zither banjo off ebay. It was sold to be circa 1895- I assume based on that it looks very vaguely like the last banjo on this link- 12fret.com/sold/windsor-zither-banjo/.

I have spent some time on google and this forum and the closest match I have found looks to be the one in this thread- banjohangout.org/archive/192235.

In particular I haven't been able to find any matches for the detail around the tuners- I was initially wondering if it was taken from a guitar and added but it looks to be designed especially for have 5 tuners. Also the 'shoulder' looking parts at the neck joint is not something I have seen before.

I am not particularly hopeful for exact details on the maker, but it would be nice to know roughly if the date it was sold as is correct?

Also, I would like to put a full set of nylon strings on it- has anyone got any recommendations for sets where the 5th string will be long enough?

I look forward to hearing from you all,

Luke


Apr 21, 2024 - 7:42:07 AM

1958 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by wylh

Hello,

I recently bought this zither banjo off ebay. It was sold to be circa 1895- I assume based on that it looks very vaguely like the last banjo on this link- 12fret.com/sold/windsor-zither-banjo/.

I have spent some time on google and this forum and the closest match I have found looks to be the one in this thread- banjohangout.org/archive/192235.

In particular I haven't been able to find any matches for the detail around the tuners- I was initially wondering if it was taken from a guitar and added but it looks to be designed especially for have 5 tuners. Also the 'shoulder' looking parts at the neck joint is not something I have seen before.

I am not particularly hopeful for exact details on the maker, but it would be nice to know roughly if the date it was sold as is correct?

Also, I would like to put a full set of nylon strings on it- has anyone got any recommendations for sets where the 5th string will be long enough?

I look forward to hearing from you all,

Luke


1895 is a fair guess. I've not seen the detail at the heel before either, do you think it original ? I have a Matthew with identical tuners so most likely Birmingham made. You can buy zither banjo strings from Clifford Essex. They also sell a good range of nylon strings. 

Apr 21, 2024 - 7:48:13 AM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2949 posts since 3/10/2008

I can't help with the ID, but I think all banjos, especially for oldtime music with all the changes in tuning, should have these "heel shoulders." I think they would reduce the problem of all the strings going out of whack when you shift to a different tuning. They would add some lateral stability to the narrow heel and possibly a tiny bit loose joint of the heel to the body.

Apr 21, 2024 - 1:40:09 PM

8253 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

They were likely added as low end zither banjos tend to self destruct, especially if stored in a “loft”.

Apr 21, 2024 - 3:32:22 PM

2034 posts since 1/13/2012

Looks to me like they may be reinforcing a crack in the body where the neck attaches. The strap of wood connecting the heel to the body was probably added at the same time.

Apr 23, 2024 - 5:11:12 AM

2 posts since 4/2/2024

Thanks all for your replies- have had a better look at it now- the heel cap and shoulder bits are a *very* subtly different wood to the neck, so I do think that they were a later addition. I have also taken top of the head off and there are some metal plates around the crack, which I assume were added at the same time.

@Stephen John Prior if it is possible would you be able to share some pictures of your Windsor, I am just curious as I haven't seen any other banjos with the same tuners and would be interested :).

Thanks all.

Apr 25, 2024 - 3:26:35 AM

1958 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by wylh

Thanks all for your replies- have had a better look at it now- the heel cap and shoulder bits are a *very* subtly different wood to the neck, so I do think that they were a later addition. I have also taken top of the head off and there are some metal plates around the crack, which I assume were added at the same time.

@Stephen John Prior if it is possible would you be able to share some pictures of your Windsor, I am just curious as I haven't seen any other banjos with the same tuners and would be interested :).

Thanks all.


That style of tuner was quite common. 




 

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