8/04/2011

c.1960 Kay-made Silvertone Tenor Banjo





Simple, practical, sturdy, good volume, good tone -- the perfect student or take-anywhere tenor banjo! This one was made by Kay for Sears (hence the Silvertone name) around 1960 or so and, after a fret dress, setup, and very light cleaning, turned out swell.

It's 100% original except for the bridge and also has its original tennis-racquet gig bag.


While the head shows some use-wear, it's in fine order. Note the holly shim at the neck/pot join -- this is to help the Kay-patented neck adjuster (which had been in use on their banjos since the 1930s) keep the neck at a proper back angle. I find that if these aren't shimmed up at all the adjuster can loosen up a little over time and then you have to readjust the angle.


Guitar-style tuners are a great help to the uninitiated tenor banjo player -- older banjos with friction pegs can be a real pain until you learn how to use them.


Good, wide, brass frets. I had to do a fret dress on these but they're now all good to go.





The body and neck of this instrument are possibly maple, but it's awful hard to tell with the black finish. The resonator definitely is maple -- solid on the sides, bound on the lower edge, and ply flamed maple on the rear.







The resonator pops off to make this an openback banjo with two thumbscrews. I like this attachment better for ease-of-use than the older-style screwed-on types.



Simple tailpiece but it gets the job done.


Funky faux-leather case feels like you're going to the gym!

3 comments:

Nathan Saydyk said...

Great tenor banjo. I am researching a tenor that a patient of mine wants to sell to me. I want to make sure I am not taking advantage of her. Is there a way I can send you some pictures of it and you may be able to point me in the right direction?

tpfliss said...

I'm not sure that Jake does appraisals, but the Banjo Hangout has plenty of people who will chime in.

Antebellum Instruments said...

Exactly what tpfliss told you. :)

Thanks for asking, though!