c.1963 Epiphone EB-44 Longneck Banjo

This is a friend's Epiphone longneck, c.1963 and made by Gibson, and is essentially the same as a Gibson RB-175 save for the headstock (these were made at the Kalamazoo Gibson plant). Apparently the model name was "Campus." This one's in pretty good shape... my work was a setup and cleaning, and aside from a new Grover 1/2" bridge, this thing is all-original.

If you're not in the know, longneck 5-string banjos are "3 extra frets" long, with an open E version of the open E tuning, so it's down a minor third from standard pitch. With various capos that means a traditionally two (or three) key instrument can get around in just about any key which is super convenient if you play with fiddlers, mandolin players, or guitar players... eh... which means just about anyone you'd be playing with in a folkie band!

Note the two extra holes -- funk-tastic home-made "Scruggs" tuners used to be there.

Brazilian rosewood fretboard, one-piece mahogany neck... and the 5th peg tuner button (and one of the tuner buttons at the headstock) is from my parts bin. The original metal Grover button for the 5th peg has been popped in the case. Who doesn't like a matching set?

Head is a lightly archtop idea with a rolled brass tonering as far as I can tell. Original Remo style head is just dandy but looks ussssseeeed.

New Grover bridge, nice adjustable tailpiece.

"Pancake" geared tuners work great.

Gotta love the 'hog neck.

The rim is laminate mahogany, stained super, super dark, but you can see the grain where some of the finish has chipped here and there.

Scale length is a whopping 32" -- a huge stretch for even an average-limbed person.

1 comment:

oldfolkie said...

My wife bought me one of these, used, for Christmas in 1972. We were married 3 months later and I've still got both her and the banjo, going on 40 years now. And,,, I continue to love playing with both of 'em.