View Full Version : Period Banjo
04-12-2007, 05:58 PM
I have what may be a period banjo, or at least a "transition" instument. It has a wooden pot, and the "fretboard" has no frets but slots cut as markers for the fret positions. There are eight eagle motif brackets, four with wings up, four with wings down. It has a old calf skin head, most likely late replacement. (a similiar one is in the Atlanta History Center). A metal plate has been placed over the first four frets. I took it off and found that the neck had been nicely lowered to accomodate the plate. I have been told it is period, and some say it is later. The plate, I am told, is something occassionally seen that aids in left hand work for "old time" music. (I play a distant cousin of this style). If anyone out there can help me place this instrument relative to time frame, I would apprecate it.
04-12-2007, 06:03 PM
How about a picture? Sounds like it may be a newer banjo (Eagle Brackets and such).
04-12-2007, 06:23 PM
That banjo is probably a post war -- with the eagle brackets and fitted fretboard insert. Marked fret positions were around but were more common post war. Apparently a number of pre-war banjos were fret marked with pencil, slots or even had wirefrets installed in later years. Do the fret slots on your banjo have the look of being added later? If eagle brackets were available as hardware after the war, those also could have been added to a pre-war or wartime older banjo in later years.
If those things were added post-war, there's still a chance the banjo itself was pre- or during war vintage.
If you want to stretch it, there isn't any construction materials problem with claiming the banjo as wartime. Who can say if somebody in some little god-forsaken town wasn't making a few dozen eagle brackets before they became a factory item? There were metal tuning gears available and they were used on banjos of CW vintage, so I put them on my slot-head period banjo reproduction.
Google the name "George Wunderlich" and make the connection with him to get an expert opinion (he visits this forum occasionally).
I imagine a photo of the bracket would quickly pin down if it matches a known factory pattern or not. Attach a photo to your next response here, or you can upload a photo to the Minstrel Banjo supplement site listed below.
- Dan Wykes
04-12-2007, 10:44 PM
I will post a photo soon.
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