1925 Bacon & Day Silver Bell No.2 Plectrum Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc condition. Formerly owned and played by the reknown player, Dick Lewis, affectionately known as "Montana Red". Before that, it was owned by Buddy Wachter, an even more celebrated fine 4-string banjoist.
Anyone who knew Dick Lewis knew that he kept his banjos in immaculate condition. This banjo is no exception. Yes, you can see some usual light wear on the wood parts, but nothing major. Frets are in fine playing condition with no wear.
Highly figured Maple resonator and neck with handsome sunburst finish. Concentric in resonator back. Two-piece neck with 3-pc stringer down the center line. Multiple layers of wood under fingerboard, in back of peghead and at heel cap. Ebony fingerboard with cream binding. Elaborate "Silver Bell" peghead inlay with tasteful pearl inlays in fingerboard.
Hardware is all intact and in fine condition. Knee mute may be off a later banjo - reads "B&D Soft Pedal". Richelieu gold engraved pick holder installed. Original "Planet Patent Pend" tuners with solid pearl buttons. Plating is in beautiful condition and has a nice silvery soft patina. Oetinger finger tailpiece. Armrest is engraved with "Bacon Special Silver Bell".
Bas Relief carving on the neck heel. Inlay in back of peghead.
This is a fine machine that has been owned by fine professional players. It has no problems.
$3,250.00 w/ Newer Hard Case
1927 Gibson PB-3 Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc(-) all original condition. Original armrest top plate missing.
"No-Hole" Archtop with Plectrum neck. Plain Maple neck and resonator, with the classic handsome look of brown lacquer over cherry red wood stain. Diamond inlay pattern. Original small frets. Original nut. Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard.
All original hardware (except for armrest plate), with the Nickel plating in very good shape. Presto tailpiece. Grover "Pat." pancake tuners. Two-pc 'tube-and-plate' flange.
These "No-Hole" tonerings represent the earliest "major" tone ring that Gibson used. Simply put, it is the same ring as a "40-Hole" tone ring, but without any holes drilled into the inside wall of tone ring. Comes with old Calfskin head in excellent condition.
Excellent banjos for converting to 5-string - all you do is put a neck on it that is cut for 2-pc flange (and buy one more string).
$3,750.00 w/ OHC
c.1934 Gibson RB-11 All Original 5-string Banjo 'In Stock'
Excellent Original Condition.
Parts are original and in fine working condition, including 1-pc pot metal flange and pot metal tension hoop.
This is same model as used by Earl Scruggs in his early days of bluegrass. The RB-11 is very similar to an RB-1, with both having a Maple 3-ply rim and a "brass bead ring", instead of a full 3-lb cast tone ring. In previous times, these 'simple tone ring' models from Gibson were relegated to junior status. But in today's world we seem to be actually listening with our ears and an open mind. Nowadays, the almost universal thought about these 'brass bead ring' banjos is that they sound surprisingly close to original Flathead banjos that have the full flathead tone ring.
This banjo has the original blue finish with pearloid fingerboard, headstock overlay and resonator back. Instead of inlays, Gibson used silk screen art on the pearloid, and sealed it with lacquer. Some blue finish is worn on resonator sidewall, and back of neck shows significant wear and finish flaking.
Original Grover Pat. offset dog-ear tuners, with original friction 5th peg - all with matching cream colored buttons. Original 3-ply Maple rim is in great shape. No serial number or label inside rim, but batch number #9938 is written on neck heel. "4X" is written on inside back of resonator. All metal parts and all wood parts are original and in fine playing condition. This banjo has had recent new fret job - neck is very straight, frets are great...
Now, about the tone... It has been observed many times by myself and others that when you hear one of these "brass bead ring" banjos in a great jam or on stage, the listener has no clue that they are hearing a lighter tonering. The player can feel the difference mainly because these lighter banjos tend to resonate to the point of shaking in your hand while you are playing. All-in-all, they have a very satisfying professional pre-war sound that is loud and full of expression and character.
Nowadays, cost-wise, you can find a "retrofit", "converted" or "restored" old pre-war Gibson Flathead banjo for $40,000 and up. Fine examples with original 5-string necks (very rare), usually cost $65,000 and up. These RB-11's have great original pre-war sound at a fraction of the cost. And, these banjos have now been "discovered" by the general population, so buy now and watch the values go up from here.
This fine old pre-war Gibson RB-11 comes with 2 cases - the original 5-string case, as well as a Price flight case.
The tone is great and it just feels 'alive' while you are playing it...
$11,450.00 with Original 5-str Hard Case
1994 Gibson RB-4 Banjo 'In Stock'
VG+ Condition. Some general signs of use, but it was never abused. Recent professional fret work. Some light scratches in back of resonator and one slight ding in sidewall of resonator.
Walnut banjo with Burled Walnut resonator and straight-grained Walnut neck. Resonator has nice wooden marquetry concentric circles. Tasteful cream multiple bindings on top and back of resonator and along fingerboard. Flying Eagle inlay pattern in Rosewood flat fingerboard. Waverly pre-war style 2-band offset tuners with matching pearloid buttons.
This banjo has been treated very well. Everything about it is nice, from finish to playability and tone.
Exc condition. The resonator has small amount of lacquer checking, and a few scratches. There is a small amount of fret wear.
Maple resonator with single binding. One-piece flange. Three-ply Maple rim with McPeake 20-hole flathead tonering. Custom Mahogany neck made by Frank Neat with Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and "Wreath" inlays. Elton pancake tuners. Original hardware.
Very good bonafide sound.
$2,850.00 w/ HC
1984 Gold Star GF-100 HF Banjo 'In Stock'
VG(+) condition. Made in Japan. This banjo has been played and enjoyed, but by an experienced player who took great care of the overall condition. There are signs of playing, with frets having moderate wear (but not causing buzzing). Resonator has a couple of small dings, one on edge of back, one on sidewall. Back of neck is nice.
Mahogany banjo with 3-ply maple rim and pre-war style flathead tone ring. Cream bindings along top and back of resonator and along fingerboard. Concentric circles in back of resonator. Gabon Ebony fingerboard with Heart & Flowers inlay pattern.
These Gold Star banjos were highly prized during and after their introduction in the late '70's, with players regularly choosing them over Gibsons from the same period. This was because of consistency of workmanship, consistency of tone and also because the Saga Gold Star parts were actually closer to original Gibson parts than you could buy on a new Gibson from the period.
This particular banjo has been treated well. It has been played professionally for about 5-6 years by a well-known local musician. It is in very good playing condition, sounds great and is ready to be your next banjo...!
$1,395.00 w/ OHC
New Huber TrueTone Kalamazoo Banjo 'In Stock'
Mahogany resonator. Flamed Maple "speed neck". Radiused Rosewood fingerboard with pearl inlays. Pearl Kalamazoo block inlay at 21st fret. Nickel hardware. Nickel tuners with Ivoroid buttons. Resonator has cream bindings and two concentric circles on the back. Ebony peghead overlay with Huber logo and Fleur de Lis inlay in pearl. "Truetone" trussrod cover.
A lot has been said about these newer "Truetone" banjos. They really are quite close in tone and timbre to authentic 1930's Gibson flathead banjos. There is a quick, satisfying attack with nice resonant growl.
Not only is this banjo made well, but it is also made using great materials, is set up well and has great projection and atttack.
$5,050.00 w/ HC
New Huber VRB-75 True Tone Banjo 'On Hold'
New. Mahogany resonator with multiple bindings and two concentric circles inlaid in the back. Plain Maple neck with multiple cream bindings and flat Rosewood fingerboard with pearl RB-75 inlays. NIckel Waverly tuners with Ivoroid buttons. Nickel Presto tailpiece. Ebony peghead overlay with Huber logo inlay.
Made with lots of thought in design and lots of thought in the finished product. This newer HR-30 tone ring mated to the 'Engineered Rim', really does give you the sound very close to original pre-war banjos. It does have that "Mahogany growl". The attack is fast and solid and the entire banjo comes alive with resonance.
This banjo is an excellent banjo - great materials, workmanship and best of all, great sound.
Exc. Condition. There is a moderate amount of fret wear on the fingerboard. The neck has a couple of light scratches, and the back has a few dings but the banjo is in great shape overall.
Mahogany back, sides and neck with "Heli-mount" frame design. The "Heli-mount" design allows easy adjustment with even tension of the head. Back, sides and neck are all multiple bound with Ivoroid. Custom neck with radiused Rosewood fingerboard with no inlays (there are position marks on the side). Nechville Bevelled armrest added. The 5th string tuner is on the peghead (photos coming soon).
This is a nice banjo, good sound and easy to play.
1984 OME Monarch Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc condition. Minimal previous player wear - slight fret wear with no dents, some small dings and small lacquer chips.
Nickel Schaller tuners. All original nickel hardware. Nicely figured flamed Maple neck and resonator and rim. The outer play of 3-ply rim shows very nice flame figure to match resonator side walls. Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard, peghead overlay and heelcap. Grained ivoroid bindings on resonator and neck. Two-pc neck, with attractive Rosewood stringers along center of back of neck with thin Maple between them. Very nice decorative multiple wood layers showing on sides of fingerboard, peghead and heelcap. Concentric circles in back of resonator. R.R. spikes at 7th, 9th and 10th frets for 5th string capo'ing. Tasteful inlays of abalone and pearl in peghead and fingerboard.
Pot construction is with 3-ply Maple rim, bracket shoes and plate flange. This system allows a player to easily change from resonator "bluegrass" banjo to open-back frailing banjo, just by taking off the resonator and flange plate.
This is a fine banjo that would be a nice addition to anyone's collection. It plays great and sounds fine.
$2,000.00 w/ HC
1998 OME Renaissance Tenor Custom Rosewood Neck, Rim and Resonator Banjo 'In Stock'
Almost New Condition. Barely any sign of playing on the frets - no careless handling, no dings, no dents, no repairs, no problems.
This banjo was made for our local famous 4-string player, Dick Lewis, also affectionately known around the U.S. as "Montana Red". Dick Lewis was a semi-professional musician from about age 5 and on throughout his life. He played all over the U.S. and some in Europe.
Custom ordered with Rosewood neck, rim and resonator. Rosewood resonator back has light carving. Neck has elaborate and perfect 'bas relief' carving at heel and back of peghead. Multiple ivoroid bindings around resonator, along fingerboard and around peghead overlay. Beautiful ornate inlays of engraved pearl in peghead, fingerboard and heelcap. Gabon Ebony fingerboard and peghead overlay.
Mostly Gold plated hardware with Chrome plated custom armrest and Chrome Richelieu pick holder. Exquisite deep-gouge master engraving throughout. Even the pick holder is elaborately engraved. "Montana Red" engraved into armrest. Gold Waverly 2-band pre-war style offset tuners with solid pearl knobs.
This banjo, if ordered new today, would cost $10,375 with case. Take advantage of one in great condition for quite a bit less than that.
This banjo is set up well and plays and sounds great.
$7,950.00 w/ OHC
2001 Prucha "Legend" Maple Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc.(+) Condition. There are no major marks at all on this banjo. The armrest is a little worn and there are light belt scratches on the back. Apart from that, this banjo looks new.
Figured Maple Resonator. Resonator and fretboard are multiple bound with Ivoroid. Radiused Rosewood fretboard with pearl "Hearts & Flowers" inlays. Prucha tuners with pearl buttons.
Sounds big and loud. Nice low action and looks much newer than it actually is.
$3,350.00 w/ OHC
2004 Prucha Basic Deluxe Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc. Condition. This banjo is in great original shape. Some moderate fret wear on first position frets, light sign of arm wear on armrest and a small area of wear on the Remo head... Otherwise this banjo is in really great overall shape.
Mahogany resonator and neck with cream bindings on top and back edge of resonator and along fingerboard. Rosewood fingerboard with Pearl cut-diamond inlays. Nickel Ptacek pre-war style 2-band offset main tuners and Schaller 5th - all with matching Ivoroid buttons. Ebony peghead overlay with J.Prucha and "floral" inlay in Pearl. Nickel clamshell tailpiece.
Nice Mahogany sound with lots of grit and growl.
$2,450.00 w/ HC
New Prucha Diamond Point w/ Copper Patina Hardware & Massif Resonator Banjo 'On Hold'
New. Very popular since their introduction, these Prucha "Diamond Point" banjos are great. Made with Mahogany and using Copper Patina hardware, not only do they look fabulous, but their sound is also strong yet nuanced with lots of tonal beauty and expression.
This particular banjo has the normal appointments as you expect with one of these fine banjos: nice Mahogany neck and resonator, radiused fingerboard, multiple tortoise bindings, and of course, the Copper plated hardware... But this one comes with a few extras. It has a solid carved "massif" Mahogany resonator, and a 3-ply rim that is mated to a slightly lighter no-hole flathead tone ring. Until this banjo arrives I can't comment on exactly what the slightly lighter no-hole flathead tone ring will contribute to the overall sound of the banjo, but I can tell you that the solid carved "massif" resonator is a very good thing to have.
Almost every resonator made now or made through history is made with several plays of wood (usually Maple), with a veneer showing on the outside of the back and the sidewalls, that matches the neck. These solid carved "massif" resonators have 2 blocks of solid bookmatched wood for the back. This piece is then turned with a re-curve and then hand-scraped and voiced for tone. The end result is a very satisfying "knock", or "bonk" to the tone that lets the player know that the back wall is solid.
You may have noticed that Alison Brown plays a Prucha Diamond Point" with Copper Patina, and has been doing so since around 2005 or so. Mr Prucha informed us that Alison Brown enjoyed this very banjo very much when it arrived in Nashville before coming here to us.
$5,750.00 w/ OHC
New Prucha Fall-in-Love Custom with Figured Cherry & Massif Resonator Banjo 'In Stock'
New. Special custom banjo ordered in as store stock.
Figured Cherry banjo with Ebony radiused fingerboard. Solid carved "massif" Cherry resonator.
This banjo should arrive around the second week of February, 2014. Please phone us to hear more details... (406)327-9925.
$5,450.00 w/ OHC
2004 Scorpion Mahogany Banjo 'In Stock'
VG(+) Condition. Serial Number #0. Minor touch marks on the resonator and back of neck. Some light fret wear.
Mahogany neck and resonator. "Tennessee 20" tone ring mounted on Tony Pass 500TS rim. Rosewood fingerboard with modified "flying eagle" style inlays. Ivoroid bindings on resonator and fingerboard. Multiple Ivoroid concentric circles on back of resonator. Hand-made custom wooden armrest by Cliff Avery installed on banjo. 5-star planetary tuners with Schaller 5th tuner, all with matching Ivoroid pegs.
Great mahogany sound. Excellent "pop" in the attack from the lowest notes on the 4th string to the highest notes on the 1st string. Has a rolling resonance when you play.
$2,750.00 w/ HC
c.1927 Slingerland May Bell Tenor Banjo 'On Hold'
Exc condition. 19-fret tenor banjo. This is a very nice example of an original banjo that is hardly used or worn. Tuners have been changed to modern planetary geared pegs.
Maple rim construction with simple bead tone ring. Original Slingerland "White Mount" calf-skin head. All original nickel hardware in great original shape, except for replaced tuners, as mentioned above.
Neck is slim with a "V" profile. Tension hoop, hooks & nuts, flange, armrest, Kerschner tailpiece, flange, etc... are ALL original and in great shape.
This would be a perfect tenor to buy for a student, or just to collect as a piece of art.
$395.00 w/ OHC
Like New Williams "Grangeville" Custom Gold Banjo 'In Stock'
Exceptional original condition. The resonator has a couple of small dings on it, otherwise this banjo is in great shape. All the gold is in very nice original condition, even the armrest and tailpiece.
This banjo has the same key components as the Williams "Kenny Ingram" model... the "Old Factory Floor" 3-ply Maple rim & the Burlile Tonering. And, it has that pre-war Gibson sound.
Beautiful straight-grained Mahogany banjo. Tasteful antiqued ivoroid binding around top and back edge of resonator and along fingerboard. Rosewood flat fingerboard with Hearts & Flowers inlay pattern. Double-cut peghead. Ebony peghead veneer with Williams logo pearl inlay, pearl Hearts & Flowers peghead pattern and solid pearl truss-rod cover. All gold plated hardware. Gold Keith standard tuners, with gold Schaller 5th, all with matching ivoroid buttons. R.R. spikes at 7th, 8th, 9,th, 10th frets for 5th string capo'ing.
It is very rare for Jim Burlile to ever plate one of his tone rings - most people use them just with the original polished bronze look... But according to Jim Burlile, this is one of only 2 that were ever plated gold!
Set-up talk: This banjo is a 'special' one in that it sounds great when set up "tubby", or a "little tighter", or "snappy" set up. Rolling, growly resonance...
The banjo looks fabulous, with no problems and showing no ill treatment. It sounds great, too. It is full of energy and has very active resonance when you are playing it. The condition is really great...
$5,450.00 w/ HC
2007 Williams "Kenny Ingram" Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc. Condition. The resonator has a couple of scratches and dings, and the head shows a little wear. Neck and frets are both in great shape.
Bound Mahogany resonator with two concentric circles. Bound rosewood fingerboard. Jim Burlile tonering, Maple "old-floor" 3-ply rim. Mahogany neck, Rosewood fingerboard with elaborate pearl inlays. Keith standard tuning pegs with Ivoroid buttons. Railroad spikes on 7th & 9th frets.
Wonderful dynamic tone that is comparable to pre-war style banjos... It has the "Mahogany growl". A great professional sound with lots of presence.
$5,450.00 w/ HC
c. 1996 Wynn Custom Banjo 'In Stock'
VG(+) Condition. No big marks or dings, just average signs of player wear. There Light scratches on the back of the resonator, and a small amount of fret wear. Back of the neck and peghead are in great shape.
Mahgoany resonator with light sunburst finish and Ivoroid bindings. Mahogany neck, Ebony fingerboard with pearl inlays. Ebony peghead overlay with Wynn logo and pearl inlay.
John Wynn was a celebrated acoustic luthier from Branson, Missouri. Almost all of his instruments were unique in appointments, and this one is no exception.
$2,100.00 w/ HC
Previously Owned Yates Ron Stewart Model Banjo 'In Stock'
Exc original condition. mahogany banjo with almost no signs of prior ownership. No fret wear, no bangs, no dings, no repairs.
Its not very often that you see a 'torch' or 'flowerpot' inlay in a banjo... but the one in the headstock on this banjo looks just great. The inlays in the Rosewood fingerboard as well as the peghead overlay, are Yates' design that are reminiscent of the old "Flying Eagle" pattern. Ivoroid bindings along to and back of resonator and along fingerboard. Concentric circles in back of resonator.
Waverly 2-band pre-war style tuning machines, with Schaller 5th peg. Tuners have matching ivoroid buttons. R.R. spikes professionally installed at 7th, 8th and 9th frets for capo'ing in A, Bb, B.
3-ply Maple rim with "no-hole" archtop tone ring. 1-pc pot metal flange. Presto tailpiece.
This is a very good sounding banjo. I have always favored "no-hole" archtop banjos over "40-hole" archtops. There just seems to be more presence in the mid-range and low-range, but still with clear strong highs.