6/06/2013

c.1922 Bacon Orchestra Tenor Banjo


This simple, short-scale (20"), openback tenor was (presumably) made by Bacon in Groton, CT per the serial number on the dowel. This is a customer's instrument and I finished up work on it today, which included: fret level/dress, new head and bridge, replacement tuner parts, cleaning, and setup.

Great tone comes forth from this fellow in that sweet, mellow, and balanced sort of way typical of earlier Bacons. It's got good sustain and a lot of warmth without a lot of mucky overtones. It's also held up really well and no shimming was necessary to get proper back-angle on the neck when I tightened it up to the pot.


The owner of the banjo is more into old-timey sort of tone so I used a slightly heavier Taiwanese Remo frosted-top head to give it a nudge in the sweeter vs. brighter realm while still keeping that cluck that an openback tenor really needs to have an authentic sound.


Really simple appointments: the fretboard and headstock overlay are both dyed maple. The "Bacon" badge is inlaid celluloid.


Pearl dots.


Two good tone-enhancers: a nice tailpiece and a good ebony/maple bridge. This one is 5/8" so the player has a lot of head clearance.


The hardware was a little dirty when this came in but upon "teardown" and cleaning, shined right up.





Nice ivoroid-buttoned friction pegs -- but like all friction pegs -- they take a bit to get used to. The maple used in the neck is good stock, as evidenced by the perfectly-straight condition of the neck itself.


I love the look of the rounded-off heel cap in use on these Bacons. The simple bolt-adjustable neck brace also helps!


No comments: