7/16/2011

c.1920 Unmarked High-Grade Tenor Banjo





This is the strangest, coolest tenor banjo I've ever worked on... and heck... I'm keeping it!

At any rate, the peculiar parts are as follows: first off, the neck is a 2-piece Brazilian rosewood affair (with rosewood dowel, too!) with a 3-stripe lamination down its middle. Add to that a heavy heastock "veneer" of ebony and maple and multi-slab heel cap, and top it off with an ebony board, and just in the wood you have deluxe appointments.

Next up, there's a sweet floral pearl inlay in the headstock and diamond-ish pearl inlay down the board, complete with binding and nice (tiny) fretwork.

And last, the pot is a heavy, one-piece cast(?) plated-brass type. From a distance it looks like a more cheesy 60s/70s Japanese-style aluminum pot, but this one is "the real deal" and sounds it, too with snap, zing, and non-breakup, good round solid tone. Feels like a battleship! The neck attachment also features a dowel angle adjuster and heavy adjustable neck brace design.


Gotta love the folksy inlay. I scraped a bunch of yellowed varnish off of the pearl so it could be freed to "shine." Bone nut.


Good ebony board. Did a fret dress on this one. There's also a small amount of replaced binding.


The head is one of those Stewart-Macdonald "Elite" branded Remo Fiberskyns in an 11" format. I figured this would give the big heavy metal rim a bit more of a rounded, sweeter tone -- and it does.


Ebony/maple standard bridge and no-knot style tailpiece.


Check out the glorious rosewood in that neck!


My pickup isn't the prettiest-looking thing on this but it sure does work well. I have it attached with a simple foamed-up brace.


Good, heavy-duty neck brace. This looks almost British in origin.


Here's that simple dowel-angle adjuster.


Gleaming!


Gotta love that headstock lamination. Note that there's also "strapping" on the back of the headstock in ebony as well.





Simple no-knot style tailpiece works well and looks elegant, too!

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