Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Just got this restored banjo on ebay. Wyatt Fawley, in Pennsylania, restored it. We both believe it to be from the 1860s, based on the hand made hooks and nuts, and the way they are attached to the wooden pot. Wyatt had to steam the wooden pot back into round, and one of the hooks/nuts is a replacement. Original black paint is still on rimstick. Pot is hand sawed maple and neck is tight grwined walnut.
I haven't gotten this in the mail yet, but was wondering what the consensus is as to the date. Any help appreciated!
Jim Jacquet


Views: 310

Comment by razyn on December 2, 2015 at 1:53pm

I admire the design of those bracket shoes, elegant solution to the stress problem without going all heavy-gauge on the brass part.  And the wood grain that's bearing it is strong in the direction of the pressure.  If it had about 30 more brackets (the way they did later), all those slits in a line would weaken the hoop too much.

Very nice instrument.  Do you know if the tailpiece is original or restored?

Comment by Jim Jacquet on December 2, 2015 at 2:50pm

Tailpiece is not original. Agree that the bracket set-up is very elegant.

Comment by Jim Jacquet on December 2, 2015 at 2:54pm

Here are some pre-restoration photos:

Comment by Jim Jacquet on December 2, 2015 at 3:13pm

After restoration:

Comment by Chris Prieto on December 2, 2015 at 4:42pm

Wow, very cool stuff. Would love to hear an audio sample sometime

Comment by Tom Taggart on December 2, 2015 at 4:59pm

Very nice looking banjo.  Looks like you got a good deal on it.


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