4/09/2011

c.1930 Lyric by Gretsch Tenor banjo


This is a sweet tenor! 11" head, full resonator backplate (though converts easily to openback), 22 3/4" scale length, bound ebony fretboard with fancy pearl inlay (I love the "leaf" shape and floral-ish diamonds), good solid maple rim, rosewood-veneered resonator back, three-piece, flamed maple neck, and pearloid headstock veneer. It's like the definition of a jazzy tenor.

To top it all off, this one has a slightly more "old timey" (read: warm but precise) tone via its simple hoop tonering mated to that thick maple rim. I actually prefer the volume level and sound of these vs. the high-flight dandy tonerings on Langes, B&Ds, etc.


Gotta love the headstock.

My work on this banjo was: cleaning, tear-down, re-build, fret dress, setup, etc.


Forgot to mention it also has a moon inlay as well. Nice.



The only replacement parts on the banjo are: tailpiece (adjustable), Grover Non-Tip bridge, and Remo head. The only part I added was the bridge, the rest was there before.


Light 28w, 22w, 12, 09 strings for CGDA tuning feel quick and sound nice and poppy.



See the flame? Good-quality ivoroid friction pegs, too.


Harder to see the flame on the neck with the finish warn down, but it's there. Looks like either a rosewood or mahogany "third piece" in the neck's center.



Cute rosewood resonator back.




Good solid hardware, grooved tension hoop (so those hooks don't dig in your arm). This banjo also has an armrest, too.



The "flange" and backplate come off with one bolt, which makes this a perfect "conversion" banjo especially for old-timey players who like the jazz or big band tone of the resonator and also the old-timey openback tone for folkier music.


Good heavy-duty neck brace.


I love that the inside of the rim is finished natural so you can see that lovely maple.


...and it has its original, brown, hardshell case, too... worn out, but plenty sturdy for the road.

1 comment:

Diehl Moran said...

This is a delightful banjo! I have one exactly like it, but I play Irish music, so I do G-D-A-E on a 12-36 set.

I wanted to put a pickup under the head and a jack on the brackets, but there's no way to run the wire. The flange goes tightly all the way around the rim except for a tiny notch under the neck. Fortunately, it sounds great through a mic!

-Diehl