3/14/2012

c.1925 Gretsch "Twenty-Five" Tenor Banjo





Here's a nice, full-scale (23") Gretsch tenor banjo, labeled in pearl "Twenty Five" at the headstock. It's lightweight, with a good straight maple 3-piece neck, plays really fast, and has a good warm, sweet tone -- but with focus. The rim is 11" in diameter and is a multi-laminate maple design with no tonering -- just a raised area for the head to mount on.

I've always liked these late-teens, early 20s Gretsch designs (usually found under various other brand names) because of the good feel and good looks. The tone is always pretty nice as well.


My work included cleaning, a fret level/dress, new bridge and tailpiece, and setup. I also popped on a neck brace from my parts bin since the original was missing.


Simple pearl dots in a (what seems to be) real ebony board. The majority of these Gretsch-made instruments tended to have dyed pearwood but this seems to have the real deal.



This was a spare 5/8" old bridge from my parts bin that I've recut for this banjo.

Note the grungy older Remo head -- I've cleaned it a bit, but it still has a nice tone and is holding up just fine, so I reused it.



Ivoroid-buttoned friction pegs. Note the "volute" at the headstock bottom -- typical of Gretsch instruments from the time.


The rim has mahogany veneer on its outer edges.



Good sturdy neck brace.




All the rim hardware is original with the exception of a couple nuts.



New No-Knot tailpiece and also note the nice arm rest. It seems like a small thing -- but arm rests really do make a difference when you're playing for a long period of time.

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