2/29/2012

c.1930 Slingerland-style "Princess" Tenor Banjo





This is a good, mid-grade, resonator tenor banjo from around 1925-30. The vast majority of this style tenor banjo (with its distinctive headstock shape) were labeled with the Slingerland brand and many others can be found with Lyon & Healy marks and any number of random brand names (Concertone, Princess, etc.).

Whatever the case, they're apparently Chicago-made, probably by L&H themselves or Regal, who had some patents for a similar-looking headstock design and overall build.

This is a nice loud and crisp instrument that plays great as well. Its neck is 3-piece maple, the rim is durable laminated maple and it has a hoop style tonering for added punch and zing.


While all the hardware is original, the head is a replacement synthetic Remo Renaissance type (the best kind of synthetic head) with a very "skin like" tone but louder and not susceptible to weather changes.


Note the pearl star headstock inlay. The tuners have ivoroid buttons and are a nicer type of friction tuner for the time, having a bit more grip than others.


My work on this banjo was a light cleaning, fret level/dress (the frets were pretty divoted!), and setup.


Note the adjustable tension tailpiece and also the original Grover non-tip bridge.



The resonator has gorgeous birdseye maple veneer on its rear. This whole resonator assembly comes off very quickly with the removal of the center bolt.


Ivoroid buttons, 3-piece (for strength) maple neck, "Princess" stamp.


The resonator sides have a cool decal on them that looks like marquetry inlay. Check out how good the finish is on this one!



The resonator "flange" is attached to the resonator itself which makes for a very clean-looking conversion to openback if desired. All the rim hardware is good and heavy-duty stuff.




Tailpiece with adjustment screw.


Detail of the flange.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a "Orpheus Special" in decent playable condition. Not as clean as the Princess pictured but it looks identical. Any idea of what it is worth?