3/13/2011

c.1930 Harmony Tenor Banjo


While this banjo has a new Remo Renaissance head and new bridge, everything else is entirely original. It's in really nice shape as well, plays fantastically, and looks great with restrained and tasteful styling. The scale length is 22 1/2" which is close to the "long scale" 23" but the stretch is slightly less so it plays faster than a typical long-scale tenor (the narrow neck also helps for fast melody playing). It is unfortunately missing its bolt-on resonator backplate, but serves quite well as an openback tenor.

This 'jo was made by Harmony around c.1930-1935 or so. The headstock matches some of their upper end tenor shapes (I've worked on a few of them) and the original bridge that came with the banjo (which wasn't the right height anymore) actually bore the Harmony stamp... so it's pretty conclusive. I have nothing bad to say about their tenors from this time, by the way... they feel excellent and "handle" great.


I have it setup for CGDA (standard) tuning at the moment, but it would work just fine for GDAE tuning, too, as I've cut the slots in a triangular cut to accommodate thicker strings.


MOP dots on the fretboard. It's an ebony board, as is the headstock veneer. Board is bound, too, which is a classy touch.


11" rim, nice Waverly adjustable tailpiece, new Grover ebony-topped bridge, all-original good-quality hardware... and a nice comfy arm rest!



Classy but spare armrest.


Check out the nice inlaid marquetry band on the rim. The rim itself is made in a bent "block" style mahogany sections with thin mahogany veneer on both the inside and outside.



Original friction pegs work great.


Three-piece mahogany neck with (rosewood?) middle section. Good, strong, slim, and fast.



These neck braces are the best... easy to tighten and adjust.




This is a real looker with great feel... weight is distributed evenly and while it's lightweight, the strong mahogany rim coupled with a thicker rolled tonering give it great power with a nice "chirp" and tight bottom end.






PAF Waverly tailpiece which is adjustable.

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