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Jun 7, 2024 - 9:11:39 AM
22 posts since 10/26/2006

This nice little Dobson is on my bench for clean-and-setup. It has a 10" pot and 25.5" scale. The heel profile is not the typical full rounded shape I see on most old Dobsons and most modern copies. It more resembles a classic Fairbanks shape but heftier.

Does that shape go with a particular date range or is it a shape that was made all along but less common? Also would you call this a Ladies banjo or a Pony banjo?

Jun 7, 2024 - 9:21:51 AM

22 posts since 10/26/2006

Jun 7, 2024 - 10:10:02 AM

8368 posts since 9/21/2007

Keep in mind as you make cleaning choices that polishing the rim will remove nickel plating. All "polishes" are abrasive (even when they claim they are not). Also, all "polish" makers do not recommend using their abrasive slurry paste on plated metal.

Jun 7, 2024 - 10:40:35 AM

22 posts since 10/26/2006

It's amazing what an ever-so-slightly damp rag and some elbow grease will do.

Jun 7, 2024 - 11:53:53 AM



3381 posts since 1/15/2014

Yes, a damp rag is usually all one needs, and polishes should never be used.

To answer your original question, yes, the heel shape of your banjo indicates a later manufacture date. I'm not an expert in Dobson Silver Bells, but I'd wager that this example is from the 1890s or late 1880s.

If those are steel strings on it, you might consider replacing them with light nylon strings. Steel strings will damage the neck over time. It looks like the original tuners were already swapped for modern geared tuners, which really are unsuitable for this banjo.

As far as setup is concerned, keep in mind that the action should be quite high, as high as 4-5mm at the 12th fret. The neck angle should be zero degrees or very close to it. The original bridge would have been 1/2'' tall.

Edited by - csacwp on 06/07/2024 11:54:42

Jun 7, 2024 - 12:10:19 PM

22 posts since 10/26/2006

Thanks for the info!

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