The serial number points to 1941, though my guess before lookup was late 30s and made by Gretsch under the Bacon name. I worked on this for a customer and, despite not having a tonering, this is a loud-as-heck, gutsy, and punchy tenor banjo. These old fellas were built well!
While it was in overall decent shape, it did have warp in the neck that I addressed by refretting and then leveling/dressing the frets. Still, even after work, the neck adds a little relief when tuned to pitch. Fortunately, it's not crazy like it was before and action got down to "spot-on" at 1/16" at the 12th fret.
The owner of this banjo plays old-fashioned jazz on it and I thank the gods he's doing it that favor. That's what these sound best at!
The banjo is all-original hardware-wise save for the head and a new 5/8" bridge. This has an 11" head.
Pearloid looks great but it is fussier to deal with for neck work. Note the new medium frets. I managed to get them in without having to strip the edge binding -- which is crumbling!
Hah! I love the look of the cream/brown "edgeburst" on these old tenors.
The neck is mahogany with a center strip of maple. Geared tuners are a nice perk.
I forgot to mention -- this is a long-scale 23" tenor.
Someone installed the tension hoop 180 degrees off and so I had to jack the tailpiece up a bit with a wood shim to get it off the head.