12/07/2011

c.1925 Lange-made Langstile II Tenor Banjo





The Lange factory made some of my favorite banjo models from the teens and '20s, and this mid-grade (for their line, meaning pro grade compared to most catalog 'jos) Langstile II model is no exception. It has it where it counts: medium 22" scale, big 11.5" rim, nice big round-hoop tonering, a fast and very comfortable neck, and even some fancy trim in the way of inlaid marquetry on the rim and gorgeous MOP markers on the fretboard.

This banjo is 100% original except for new strings and one suspect hook (though the hook's nut is original). My work included a fret dress, cleaning, repair to the original Jos. B Rogers head (a small stable patch to a section torn at the flesh hoop), take-apart, and put-back-together.

It plays like a dream and I've strung it for normal (CGDA) tuning, though with such a big head I'll bet GDAE would sound nice, too.


Cool MOP in the headstock with nickel-plated inlaid metal banner.


Vaguely "arts and crafts" MOP inlay. Nice stuff! The fretboard and headstock veneer (as well as heel cap) all appear to be dyed pearwood.



Nice-looking, played-in original skin head.


And an original maple/ebony bridge as well.


Engraved, hinged, adjustable Lange-patent tailpiece. These are really cool and work great.


Good quality hardware.





The neck is two-piece maple with a thin center strip of contrasting hardwood. The pot is laminate maple with birdseye veneer.



See how the finish has UV-darkened everywhere except where the instrument was played? Fun.



Ivoroid-buttoned friction pegs work just fine.


Original neck brace with original ebony wedges.


Judging by the mark at the center of the dowel, this may have had a bolt-on resonator at some point, probably aftermarket.


The rim cap with inlaid stripes is starting to crack here and there but it's all there.


Overall, this is a really attractive, nice-feeling, great-playing, excellent-sounding tenor banjo.

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