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Thread: Barnes and Mullin London W banjolin age and information

  1. #1
    Registered User Mandolincelli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Davis, California

    Default Barnes and Mullin London W banjolin age and information

    Hi Vintage Instrument fans:

    Last night I got a Barnes and Mullin banjolin off craigslist. The headstock has a round label that says: "Barnes and Mullin W London." The neck has a stamp on it by the body of the resonator that says: "Barnes and Mullin." The guy who sold it told me that there are new tuners on it and a new goat skin drum. It's otherwise in pretty well-used condition but I bought it for use, not as a collector's item. It SCREAMS with volume! The seller says it's from the 1920's.

    Here are my questions:

    1.-How can I find out what vintage this is?
    2.-Where would I find a serial number?
    3.-Would flatwound strings tone the scream down to a moderate roar?

    Thanks for your comments,


  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Barnes and Mullin London W banjolin age and information

    This guy has the best site on the subject of British banjo makers. Here is his listing for B&M:

    Samuel Bowley Barnes and Edward Mullins were boyhood friends in their home town of Bournemouth As young men they decide to join forces to become dealers in musical instruments; mainly selling, and mandolins in which they were particularly interested. Being- players of no mean ability. their public appearances helped them to sell their goods and soon they were despatching instruments all over the country because of their advertising and the launching (in February 1894) of their monthly fretted Instrument magazine called �The 'Jo." ("The 'Jo" title was changed to �The Troubadour" after a couple of years.) They started to sell their "own" make of banjo but these were made for them by J. G. Abbott, W, E. Temlett. Windsor, Matthews, etc. - the usual makers "to the trade" at that time. It was in 1897 they patented their �mute attachment" which was fitted to B. & M. zither-banjos and worked from under the vellum. At the end of 1900 they moved to London and established themselves at Rathbone Place, off London's Oxford Street, as a wholesale house in all musical instruments and merchandise and, soon after, started their own workshops at Harrow, Middx. which at first were under the supervision of John G Abbott. During the dance-band boom they marketed- their "Lyratone" banjos plectrum banjos and tenor-banjo which enjoyed considerable popularity. A feature of these instruments was the all-metal construction of the hoops. They ceased making banjos soon after the outbreak of World War II. the instruments branded "B. & M." sold from about 1965, have been made for them in Germany.

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