Comment by Shawn McSweeny on January 27, 2012 at 22:17

Message for Alan Quinn:

Thanks for sharing pics of your banjeaurine. I agree that the peghead bears some resemblance to the Plenderleith cello peghead. However, in comparing the two instuments more closely, they appear to be otherwise very different in design detail and workmanship . (See pics with added notes in my Same Maker? folder). In my opinion, the differences outnumber the similarities, making it very difficult to conclude that both were made by the same person, without the benefit of further provenace, such as maker's label.

In addition to the items noted in the pics, metal fingerboards fastened with an array of screws are by no means unique to these two instruments, but were used by various makers c.1870 onwards.  With a bit of research, I believe the striking "Scottish Thistle" pegheads, (as so aptly named by Sylvia), will also be found on other makers banjos of the period.

Regardless of lineage, your banjeaurine is still a very fine instrument that should restore well and be quite striking when done.

Comment by Alan Quinn on January 28, 2012 at 9:14


I disagree.

For one thing, you have not scaled your comparison pictures 1:1 relative to each other. The banjeaurine neck is tiny compared to the large cello neck, just 9 3/4 inches from nut to pot rim. You are not comparing like for like. What is the equivalent measure on the cello?

Also you are assuming that these instruments need to be identical to be by the same maker. Why?

This guy may have been making banjos and other stuff in his kitchen over several decades. Quality of construction may vary a lot as his skill increased over time, and as he made mistakes and corrected and improved on them. He was not producing identical banjos on a production line.

I am also curious about your comment "I believe...... the "Scottish Thistle" pegheads ..... will also be found on other banjos of the period."

That is a big assumption. Where are they? Have you or anyone actually seen a thistle peghead set up for a six-string configuration with a central peg hole apart from on  these two examples?

It is clear from your posts that you would understandably like to have discovered a previously unknown Scottish banjo Stradivarius or Guarneri, but at 1891 the cello will have been made at the height of his skills towards the end of his life in 1898. The banjeaurine may have been made any time up to 20+ years earlier when his skills were less developed.

Anyway, I have no real axe to grind to prove the maker of the banjeaurine and I continue to count Archibald Plenderleith as possible, until some real, objective evidence emerges, probably in the form of the standard-sized banjo he will likely have made.


Comment by Shawn McSweeny on January 28, 2012 at 15:09

Hi Alan

 <It is clear from your posts that you would understandably like to have discovered a previously unknown Scottish banjo Stradivarius or Guarneri,>

Ouch. No need to attack me personally. I am no glory hound.

 The cello pics and the maker’s bio were posted with the thought they may be of interest to like-minded enthusiasts that visit this site. It is not often one is able to develop a maker’s bio for an obscure instrument.

In the absence of dimensions, the comparison pics were scaled to match peghead sizes, as they were the focal element of your discussion.

Good luck in your endeavours.

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Classic Banjo to add comments!

Join Classic Banjo

© 2018   Created by thereallyniceman.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service