7/16/2011

c.1910 Lange-made Supertone 5-String Banjo


Here's a Supertone (Sears brand) branded 5-string banjo, made by Lange, and probably made around c.1905-1915 or so. This is one of the best-sounding, best-playing, lightest-weight "catalog" openbacks I've played for its "price range" then, or now. The rim is a very thin maple one, with a "single-spunover" pot design (spunover on the bottom edge but bare wood on the top edge) for added strength. It has 16 hooks and is more or less original (new Renaissance head, tailpiece, and 5th-string peg).

I've totally refretted this banjo as the original frets were half-missing, so it essentially plays like a new instrument with good, even tone up and down the board.


New bone nut. Cool inlaid star in the headstock.


MOP dots on the board. One is a replacement. The board itself is "ebonized" pearwood. The neck is... maple, maybe? Poplar, maybe? Some sort of medium-stained hardwood with good strength. It's good and straight, too.


These Renaissance heads have a tone somewhere between a good, quality skin head and a a typical frosted-top Remo head.


New Grover ebony/maple bridge.


Hardware is a little grungy but perfectly useful.



Good, practical friction tuners. I luckily had an identical-style button in my parts bin which I used on the replacement 5th string tuner (which is a geared type that I used to replace the missing original).


Typical dings/bumps along the back of the neck.




There's the Sears-applied "Supertone" brand label on the inside of the rim.






Replacement simple tailpiece. If I find a more vintage one somewhere in my parts that will work I may add that but this works and looks just fine as-is.

1 comment:

Mamacita said...

My husband bought one of these this morning and we were wondering how to tell what year it was made.