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Thread: antique banjo mandolin restoration

  1. #1

    Default antique banjo mandolin restoration

    I inherited my great grandfathers banjo mandolin, and being a player myself I would like to restore it to be played. I am located in the Hudson Valley, NY. I am searching for someone to do the whole restoration.

    The mandolin (I'm told) is roughly circa 1900. It seems to have no makers mark of any kind. Any leads or information on how to get it playing will be helpful!
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  2. #2
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwmeade View Post
    I am located in the Hudson Valley, NY. I am searching for someone to do the whole restoration.
    Jake Wildwood does lots of restoration work out of Rochester, Vermont: https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/
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    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    Do bear in mind that it’s value lies in the fact that it belonged to your great grandfather. In financial terms, it’s restoration is likely to cost far more than it’s retail value.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Do bear in mind that it’s value lies in the fact that it belonged to your great grandfather. In financial terms, it’s restoration is likely to cost far more than it’s retail value.
    True. But it looks like with a new bridge, replacement head, fret level/dressing and assuming the tuners work, it could be an enriching learn-as-you-go project.

    The hardest part would be the skin head replacement, but that's learnable.

  5. #5

    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    Actually it is a nice project as you said, all the moving parts are working, what kind of skin/animal hide am I looking for?

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    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwmeade View Post
    Actually it is a nice project as you said, all the moving parts are working, what kind of skin/animal hide am I looking for?
    There was a discussion on heads a couple of days ago here - https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...s-for-Banjolin

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  8. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    That is a pretty thin shell for a mandolin-banjo. I would use light-gauge strings on it or start by stringing with only four strings.

    If you decide to have a luthier do the work, I would recommend Lyn Hardy in Woodstock and Pat Cummings in Cold Spring. Both have done excellent work for me.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: antique banjo mandolin restoration

    The thin shell, and the low number of brackets, pretty much ID it as an entry-level instrument. Doesn't mean it can't be restored and play fine, just that its value is predominantly family-heirloom-sentimental.

    I'd seek out at least professional evaluation and advice, if not turning over the project to experienced hands. And, I'd plan to have the instrument put back into playable condition, but retaining the "patina" of years of service, rather than going for "showroom" cosmetics.

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