Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

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Comment by Rob Morrison on May 19, 2013 at 11:57am

Jerry--Ive restored several banjos similar to this one over the years.  This one is unique in my experience in that most banjos with this type of eagle bracket shoe have fewer shoes.  Also It's the first in my experience with a metal clad rim with eagle brackets.  I would keep the metal cladding as it definitely improves the tone.  I would also keep all the eagle brackets to make it as original as possible.  It looks like a Buckbee factory product, 1870's or 1880's, but it's probably impossible to determine conclusively.  As for a tailpiece, similar banjos were illustrated in the 1890's Pollman mail order catalogue.  A page from the catalogue can be seen in Robert Lloyd Webb's book "Ring the Banjar."  It's still available on the internet.  It has great color plates and history. That will give you a good idea of what the original tailpiece looked like.  They were simple.  With the added weight of the hooks and brackets, I can just about guarantee that this banjo will sound very good with a nice resonance.  At least the ones I have restored that are similar to yours do.  Good luck with it.--Rob

Comment by jerry mc hugh on May 19, 2013 at 4:26pm

Rob thanks for the input.I put a new skin head on it this morning. It has 24 brackets.I'm keeping all of them and the clading.I don't have the proper hooks but i have ones to use.The other fretless i posted the other day seems to be made about the same period.

Comment by jerry mc hugh on May 24, 2013 at 7:34am

Rob i received my "Ring the banjar" book yesterday and i can see what your talking about with the tailpiece.When i get this project finished i will post a picture. Thanks for the information on this banjo.

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