This tenor banjo is short scale (19 3/4") with a smallish head, set into a wooden shell rim in "zither-banjo" fashion. It also has a slotted headstock with geared tuners... and all of this is typical of French and Italian (as well as some German) banjos of the c.1920s-30s. I'd guess that this banjo is later, however, probably at earliest 1940s and more than likely built around the 1950s-60s or so, which makes it (more than likely) Italian.
Fun headstock, plastic nut. These geared pegs make tuning a cinch compared to the usual friction pegs found on most American tenor banjos.
I dressed the frets and the neck is quite straight. Rosewood fretboard.
Gotta love the top-tension rim. Keeps the rim nice and comfy against your lap and belly (no hooks to gouge you). Also, that resonator-style rim means the sound comes forward as opposed to splish-splashed everywhere. The tone on this banjo is sweet, warm, and very woody. It's not at all like a more brash and bright "regular" style banjo. This kind of tonality is typical of this pot design, though, as I've heard the same thing out of a banjo mandolin of the same type as well as an earlier zither banjo of the same style.
Bridge is lower than a typical 1/2" style, and I've repurposed an old 1920s mandolin bridge, which sounds just dandy.
Resonator back has a big crack that's been glued up, and I had to glue up a couple major seam separations. There's one minor seam separation left that I didn't address, though, that's stable and not an issue at all.
Cool brass-plate tuners. In good order, as well. This banjo originally had a "zero fret" but like most European zero frets, it was taller than all the rest of the frets, which meant playability suffered. I removed it and moved the nut up. Now the action's nice and low and the playability is spot-on.
Not sure what the wood is on this instrument, but it's stained a deep red mahogany color.
The tailpiece is really grungy and the brackets are pitted and rusty on their tops as well, but everything functions well. The skin head's in great shape. A lot of these show up with torn heads and are quite frustrating to re-head.