11/10/2010

c.1925 Ludwig Columbia Tenor Banjo


Ludwig banjos are quite nice quality instruments... this 23" scale Columbia-model tenor, probably c.1925-1930, features a full flange with turned flamed walnut resonator, walnut neck, and thin walnut pot. The head rests right on the thin wooden rim, but because of the resonator and flange, this banjo is quite loud, percussive, sustained, and poppy. I've set it up as a GDAE-tuned "Celtic" tenor banjo and it's definitely got the warm bottom end and precise tone that's perfect for that stringing.

Fretboard is ebony with nice pearl inlays... there's a veneer of (ebony?) on the headstock, and also at the heel cap area. Resonator back has tortoise binding and the banjo has all of its original hardware save a new adjustable tailpiece and new Grover bridge, both of which are near-enough original that you don't notice their newer provenance.


Sure is pretty! Oh, and don't forget that original skin head.



The rim/flange is slightly out-of-round in an oval fashion, which meant that I had to shim the neck at the pot join to get it better aligned with the tailpiece.




Original bone nut.


I also gave this banjo a fret dress which means I was able to set it up with slick action.




Tuners are planetary types with ivoroid buttons. My guess is that either they're original or period. They're 4:1 and in super shape -- and look sweet.


Neck has some curl in it, too.


Really gorgeous one-piece back resonator!





If you zoom in on this photo you can just make out the little "planet" and "Planetary" inscribed on the tuner housings.


Nice tortoise binding.



It comes with a case, though both hinges are broken and will need replacement. It's a nice hardshell one, though, with faux-alligator covering. Everything but the hinges is ship-shape, including felted purple interior.

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