5/05/2011

c.1930 Beltone 5-String Banjo


Looking vaguely like a Slingerland-made banjo, but also looking vaguely like a Stromberg-Voisinet (Kay)-made banjo, who knows who really made this?

At any rate, it probably dates to around c.1925-30 or so, and at some point was refinished (though whoever refinished it did a good job!). At the same time the neck attachment was changed from a straight dowel/friction neck brace to a bolt-style brace like on a Gibson, but in conjunction with the dowel. This was installed the correct way... meaning the bolt is sunk deep into the heel and "locked" in... thus no big old split down the middle of the heel from a too-tight screw.

This 'jo plays great, has good volume, and also has a nice mellow/rich voice, with plenty of clarity.


Frets may also be new, but not sure. It has a long, 27" scale length, which means lower tunings work well, and at standard pitch the strings can be really, really low as they're at higher tension.


Has a replacement (new) maple/ebony bridge, 5/8", an 11" head (replacement '60s/'70s? Remo), and a maple pot with simple hoop tonering.



Neck looks like poplar.


Fun original friction pegs, newer bone nut, cute oval-ish MOP inlay.


5th string peg looks relatively new. I changed the button to black to match the others.


When the neck bolt was installed, the installer hid the work with a big old MOP dot. Well done!



Birdseye veneer on the pot.


Original bakelite pegs.


Waverly tailpiece accepts loop or ball-end strings. This banjo has (apparently) all its original rim hardware.





Simple neck brace bolt works wonders. This is a heck of a lot simpler than some of the dowel-based neck-brace gizmos... but... is also unoriginal.

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