Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

  1. #1

    Default Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2313.jpg 
Views:	71 
Size:	1.14 MB 
ID:	179406

    I was gifted this banjolin (not sure of proper terminology here, and don't really know if this is a banjolin, mandolin banjo, banjo mandolin, or if there's even a difference). I'm not having any luck finding out anything about it on google, and was wondering if anyone here could tell me anything. The back of the resonator is solid. Headstock has a "W" on it, and is square. All of the inlays are looking like mother-of-pearl but I'm not much of an expert on that. There is an inlay of what looks to me like a wyvern on the head, but I got no satisfaction googling that. The tuners are geared.

    The whole instrument looks and smells like it's older. It's in good shape and plays pretty well. The head is some kind of paper, not skin. The case is home made, and isn't any help in any kind of identification.

    Thanks for reading, and for any info that you might have.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    You have not shown us the tuners but I assume they are the worm under the gear style which would put this instrument into the 1920s although supplies of that tuner type seemed to last into the 1930s. The tailpiece is a cloud style item- these were made for decades. All these bits of hardware suggest it is US made for some third party that used that beast and had a brand beginning with a W.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Dig the griffon. Calfskin can be very thin as when used for snare side drum heads. It looks like calfskin, which is what this would have come with originally.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Yes the tuners are worm under the gear. Thank you for the information!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    Dig the griffon. Calfskin can be very thin as when used for snare side drum heads. It looks like calfskin, which is what this would have come with originally.
    I don't think it's a skin head, but it is rather old looking and pretty well worn. I will not swear that it's not, but I don't think so. Skin heads that I've seen before have a different feel to them, and I can usually see some kind of remnants of pores or hair follicles or something. Obviously, though, I'm no expert. Thanks for the reply!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Those large marker dots and the griffin make make me wonder if they have been done later. Of course, it may all be original but those dots and the overall headstock shape somehow do not conjure up the 1920s, to my eye. I just wonder if it has been modified at some point.

  7. #7
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,291

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    ... marker dots and the griffin make make me wonder if they have been done later...
    Hmmm... In the photo, the W and grifffin suggest some shell material with depth, like mother-of-pearl or abalone, while the dots seem less elegant, maybe plastic or the old Fender "clay" material. Or the difference might just be the lighting angle.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  8. #8
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,329

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Whoever made it sure didn't want anybody taking it apart on a whim. I don't think I have ever seen that many fasteners.

    I am guessing it is English, but only on very weak evidence -- a) I haven't seen one like it and I am more familiar with American banjos; b) top tension suggests, but does not prove, European origin; c) I know there were some top tension banjos made in England, (but also elsewhere).

    And it must be a skin head. Sure looks like one to me.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  9. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,795

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    ...I am guessing it is English...
    I would say that as well. The inlay on the headstock most likely isn't original and it's one of thousands made that can hardly ever be identified.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Newb here - coincidentally I was looking for info about banjolins the other day and was reading this old thread, hope the link works:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...n-odd-Banjolin

  11. The following members say thank you to Flutes for this post:


  12. #11
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,329

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flutes View Post
    Newb here - coincidentally I was looking for info about banjolins the other day and was reading this old thread, hope the link works:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...n-odd-Banjolin
    As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure the banjo mandolin in that thread is the same instrument as the one in this thread. Check the stains on the head. Good catch, Flutes.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  13. The following members say thank you to HonketyHank for this post:


  14. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,846

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Hmm... Looks British, kinda/sorta; "W" could be "Windsor," British maker, though I've not seen a Windsor with an inlaid "W." The brackets holding the resonator are similarly formed to those on some Windsor banjos, and the top-tension set-up was one frequently used by that maker.

    Some similar features, anyway.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  15. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  16. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,795

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Hmm... Looks British, kinda/sorta; "W" could be "Windsor," British maker, though I've not seen a Windsor with an inlaid "W." The brackets holding the resonator are similarly formed to those on some Windsor banjos, and the top-tension set-up was one frequently used by that maker.

    Some similar features, anyway.
    Pretty much what you said the last time it was up here.

    Some day I'll remember this was here before.


    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...n-odd-Banjolin
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  17. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  18. #14

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    If it was made by Windsor, somebody has replaced the tailpiece- which is currently an American made cloud. We have not seen the tuners, which I assume are American. Most Windsor made instruments had the Windsor Whirle badge on them but that may have been removed. Arthur Windsor used his Windsor Castle trademark- not a Griffin which I tend to think is some personal emblem as is the W. It would be good to see a photo of the back of the headstock and neck/heel area.

    Here is the headstock of a Windsor instrument. The tuners are replacement but the badge is present- as is an impressed model number etc. This instrument may well be a doctored Whirle with some American fittings but as yet, I am not convinced unless it can be clearly seen that the tailpiece is a replacement. I cannot seem to upload the photo- here is the link:

    https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...dsor-248457033Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandolin-banjo-banjolin-windsor_360_c69bdc942566d4b0ad886f4a174fcf37.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	37.3 KB 
ID:	179423
    Last edited by NickR; Sep-01-2019 at 2:49am.

  19. The following members say thank you to NickR for this post:


  20. #15

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flutes View Post
    Newb here - coincidentally I was looking for info about banjolins the other day and was reading this old thread, hope the link works:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...n-odd-Banjolin
    Well heck, that's the exact same instrument with the exact same hand-made case! Thank you for pointing that out, I'll give that thread a look also. Also thanks to all for the interesting comments here on this thread.

  21. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Can’t quite tell from the photos but TJ might have been the person who put all those mis-matched cross head screws in it - they’ve go to go!

  22. #17

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    Looking at the original thread- the tailpiece appears different- this suggests the cloud is not original. We get a glimpse of the tuners- which are probably not American so this may well be a Windsor, shorn of its ID.

  23. #18
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,795

    Default Re: Can anyone tell me anything about this banjolin?

    They most likely replaced the parts with what they had. The only mandolin banjos that sell for less than the generic US made mandolin banjos are the ones from the UK. Those markets just aren't strong. The known brand name US made models are a little more attractive but most of them end up with a 5-string neck where possible. The last two Vega Little Wonder mandolin banjos I sold were renecked immediately. I've owned a few of these banjos and good luck on keeping them tuned no matter what brand name they are. Just play it and enjoy it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •