Featured Antique Banjo

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Brubaker50, May 15, 2019 at 2:29 PM.

  1. Brubaker50

    Brubaker50 Well-Known Member

    6CE53F22-F55F-4CBF-B297-943F420468BB.jpeg BE89AA02-5279-4072-8FEA-61A7E0223FA5.jpeg Picked up this old Banjo and know nothing about them looking some help to date the instrument or a maker maybe .
     
    Figtree3, antidiem, judy and 4 others like this.
  2. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

  3. charlie cheswick

    charlie cheswick Well-Known Member

    Looks darn cool, those metal decorational pieces on it look art nouveau, a picture of the head stock (where strings are tuned might help with identifying
     
    antidiem, judy, Christmasjoy and 2 others like this.
  4. Brubaker50

    Brubaker50 Well-Known Member

    1102D189-8F7C-4E28-B24B-D8699A0E7158.jpeg Thank you for looking here’s the headstock. 54333196-4CA4-459D-8BEB-8501C6B405D2.jpeg
     
  5. charlie cheswick

    charlie cheswick Well-Known Member

    Although I can't find any info on a Joseph Mann, I take it that would be the maker.

    And looks to be a fretless banjo, could be early like 1890s/ turn of the century
     
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  6. charlie cheswick

    charlie cheswick Well-Known Member

    Ps it's ruddy cool, I'd have definitely bought it as well !!
     
  7. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Joseph Mann is not a known banjo maker, so far as I've been able to determine, and it is possible the plate refers to an owner, rather than the maker. There are a number of non-standard features, including the headpiece shape. Banjos are more mechanical than most musical instruments, and it is fairly easy to take the pot or drum from an older banjo, and attach a new neck. This could be such a hybrid, or could have been converted from an old tenor or plectrum banjo (4 strings) neck. I note the multiple string-notches in the nut, so that may well have been taken or converted from another instrument.

    The head appears to have a "Belfast" stamp, another hint.
    Some of the tuning pegs are nice and fancy, but being push-pegs, will be hard to tune, and limit the value.
    Some genealogy research might turn up a possible owner.
    Many of the details point to a date of around 1900, would be my guess.
    There are no frets, right? That would be rare, to say the least, for a commercial instrument from that time period, and points to it being a home-made neck, as a conversion from a tenor or plectrum banjo.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 4:10 PM
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  8. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Useful resource, though there are many others; it doesn't list a Joseph Mann however: http://www.vintagebanjomaker.com/#/about/4594323592 This is certainly a cool instrument, and there are a number of modern players who like fretless banjos; mostly not playing bluegrass, of course. One nice thing about banjos is that it is rather easy to adjust the action (height of strings above fretboard). On a guitar, you'd be talking an expensive visit to a luthier; take the neck off, make some tricky changes; hundreds of dollars, don't try this at home.....on a banjo, try a higher or lower bridge, or some shims where the neck is attached, and Bob's your uncle.
    I'll never forget, years ago my college roommate bought an expensive Wasburn banjo, circa 1894; when I got home, he'd taken it entirely apart, and the floor was littered with hardware; nuts and bolts and brackets; neck and hoop and skin head. An hour later, it was back together, action perfect. On a guitar, you could only achieve that degree of disassembly through unfortunate accident, or by jumping up and down on the instrument.
     
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  9. Brubaker50

    Brubaker50 Well-Known Member

    Will have a look thank you very much as I didn’t know where to start looking all the best.
     
    antidiem likes this.
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