Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Named for the card game "All Fours," a very popular trump game and favorite of George Devol.

This is a composite banjo made from an old Bob Flesher kit rim that Terry Bell expertly built and fitted a neck to.

The Flesher kit was my first "early style" banjo. I put it together with less of the little knowledge that I have now.

It was trying to be a Boucher, but failed. When I got "Harriet" from George Wunderlich, the kit banjo went into a case and stayed.

Thinking I'd sell it, but not wanting to stick anybody with it, I sent Terry a wire asking for a neck.

We corresponded back and forth about details, measurements and I sent him some photos of originals that I liked. Then I sent him the rim.

Just before the Early Banjo Gathering, I received this-- a perfect neck. Ebony pegs, hard as a rock cherry, and a perfect fit to my hand.

I used it to play in the concert.

Views: 111

Albums: "Old Sledge"
Location: Pepperell, MA

Comment by Strumelia on July 5, 2013 at 10:06pm

That's a beauty!  The bridge is pretty impressive too- tell us about that.

Comment by Joel Hooks on July 6, 2013 at 10:12am

The Bridge was July 4th morning fun.  The design came from a 1880s "George Dobson" catalog (really Bruno & Sons music jobbers).  The catalog lists it as "imitation ivory;" I used maple.  I liked the design.

Turns out it sounds good!  So I made a spare.

Comment by Strumelia on July 6, 2013 at 10:22am

Wow, you made that?- nice!

Comment by John Masciale on July 6, 2013 at 2:55pm

The bridge is beautiful!  Mine are far more utilitarian.

Comment by Dave Vinci on July 6, 2013 at 10:50pm

Really nice work Joel.

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