4/02/2011

c.1920 Gretsch-made "Columbia" Tenor Banjo


Here's a good, solid, practical tenor banjo from the height of tenor banjo fascination in the US. It was made by Gretsch and this model and its extended Gretsch family sold under many different names in many different catalogs and small stores throughout the country.

It's a nice short-scale tenor, 20" scale length, with a good 5-piece maple neck, maple pot with double-spunover rim construction (with integral "tonering" on the top edge), and 11" head. It has almost all of its original hardware save a new Remo Renaissance head and Grover bridge.

Plays nice, sounds nice, can't complain!


Headstock veneer has a couple hairlines but poses no structural issues. Very typical. Nut isn't bone but is rather celluloid? I think.


Fun MOP in the board. The fretboard itself is, I think, some sort of ebonized hardwood.



Check out the very minimalist tailpiece. Always liked this design... very clean. The new Renaissance head has the tone you'd expect -- snappy, responsive, but good deep bottom end, too.



Original ivoroid-buttoned friction tuners.



Good looking pot! The hardware has a little tarnish and spotting here and there but is overall in good shape.



The neck brace is almost late 1800s in function -- three screws going into the heel. Works great except one has to be careful not to overtighten them.


"Columbia" brand.



J-hooks and good heavy-duty shoes.



Ball-end load on the tailpiece, though you can fit loop-end strings over the center three prongs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I picked up a little beauty just like this one with the Bell brand piece that holds the strings. It's in excellent shape! I love the little banjo but the tuners (that appear original) don't hold the tuning anymore. I want to change them but need to know what size to get. I refuse to drill out the holes. Any help with finding tuners for it would be greatly appreciated. Please email me at dilligaduck@gmail.com with any information that would help. Thanks