5/20/2011

c.1905 Lange-made 5-String Banjo


Another nice old Lange-built banjo! This one is a cherry-necked, dyed-pearwood fretboard, cherry double-spunover rimmed, beaut. It's had its share of hard times, but it's still going strong. The original skin head imparts a woody, sweet tone... and like all of these old Langes... I love the neck feel -- quick and comfortable.


Nice Slingerland-ish looking headstock shape, ebony nut, with an ebonized headstock veneer toting some nice pearl inlay.


Pretty MOP/abalone inlay all down the fretboard. There's a couple pieces missing and substantial wear to the board at the 1st through 3rd frets, but after a fresh fret dress, this plays nice.


I like the "banner" inlay at the bottom. Harkens back to late 1800s inlay styles.


Original skin head is in fine shape. If the player decided to go with a modern head, this would be a somewhat louder, brighter banjo.


Bridge is a cut-down relatively recent Grover two-foot type.


Hardware was horribly grungy when I got it in. Now it's just grungy...! ...though I have cleaned it up a heck of a lot.



Has a nice "figure" to it. These Langes balance nicely and are pretty lightweight (though, this one has 24 hooks so it's a little heavier on the rim side than most).


Tuners are all-original to the banjo though I replaced all the buttons with a matching black set of plastic ones.


Good looking double-spun rim!


All that was left of the 5th-string tuner when I got the banjo was the shaft and the ribbed friction-held insert. I added the rest of the parts (one is made from an old tuner ferrule but looks the part of these vintage style pegs) to get it going again.


Typical Lange-style heel. Note the ebony shims for the neck brace -- these are original.


Most of the rim hardware is original, too -- only two hook/nuts are replacements.





Pot has a little bit of crumpled cladding towards the tension hoop but all is in good order. This thing was filthy when it came in!



The tailpiece was missing and I didn't have much suitable on hand, so I decided to go with an old mandolin tailpiece from my parts box and drilled a new hole in it so it'd attach simply with the dowel bolt. This actually works really nice and the wider string spacing one gets from having so many hooks to choose from gives almost straight string pull from the tailpiece over the bridge, which is always a nice thing to have.

Admittedly, though, a nice simple upgrade would be an adjustable Presto (for folks who like a little downpressure) or simple No-Knot style tailpiece (would essentially have the same tone as this).

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