Well really! Any suggestions on what has happened to this Weaver Banjo??

I received this email and photos from Eric Harding asking about his "Weaver Banjo".

It certainly is not like any Weaver I have seen!  Any comments?


I hope that you don't mind me mailing you out of the blue, but I've seen some of your posts on the classic banjo website, in particular the one about your Weaver banjo and was wondering if you might be able to point me in the right direction.
I've had a Weaver banjo for some while, and it's in need of a bit of care and attention, and I'm a little bit unsure of exactly how much I need to do with it. I'd like to try putting some gut/nylon strings on it, to see how far I can get with playing it - I don't play banjo, but I've been playing acoustic guitar for many years, and have dabbled a bit in some of the classic ragtime pieces in the past, so I hope that I won't be starting completely from scratch.
I think as a minimum I need to put a new head on it, and that in turn will need some new or at least additional tension hooks as there are currently 2 different types of hooks on it, and there are some gaps. I'm also wondering whether I need to put a new tailpiece on it - possibly wooden?
I've attached a couple of photos. Are you able to advise me where I might be able to find some reasonably authentic tension hooks that would suit the instrument? I've found a few places that sell heads - tempted to try calf/goat skin. And any advice on strings would be appreciated. I'm hoping that once I can make the first step to getting it sorted out that it will get easier to make the next one. I've been trying to get around to sorting it out for years, but I can never seem to make my mind up about where I should be starting!
Best regards,


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This appears to be a bunch of disparate parts. The perch pole may be from a Weaver banjo.  

The peghead and heel shape do look weaver-ish though...  but the fretboard seems to have been replaced entirely.

agree with Mike for the fretboard ,  & of course tailpiece non original ; but i think the pot is the good one , should be a 12 ' ; this banjo is not from the early Weaver series as say somebody on BHO  , but almost from the 2nd series with a  heavy  big pot ;

Richard ?

Doesn't the neck wood and its finish look suspicious?

The neck looks ok, apart from new pegs/nut/fingerboard. The hoop/pot is a puzzle, as it looks original - oak lining, the later heavy nuts holding the brackets/shoes in place etc. but the engraving is not a normal Weaver characteristic, could it have been done later in its life? I wouldn't put goat skin on it but some people like them. A wooden tailpiece would be my choice, but I'm an old stick in the mud. As nobody seems to be making the original Weaver hooks and nuts yet, its a case of finding a matching set of old Weaver hooks and nuts, (I would say that this is impossible but you never know)  or replacing the present set with new hooks and nuts. It looks to be a worthwhile project all round, let us see it when it's finished.


I have received an email and some photographs from Eric of his restoration of his "Weaver" banjo.

I have posted his email so perhaps we can help him with suggestions on the pegs etc?


I thought that you might be interested to see what I've been up to with the "weaver" or whatever it is, so I've attached a couple of "after" photos.
Firstly I've given it a good clean, which was a lot of the problem. Nothing too severe, just a bit of dusting and polishing. From the look of the brass on the pot, I'm starting to wonder whether it started life as a tuba and got converted to a banjo - probably not.
- new head
- new tension hooks
- new wooden tailpiece
- new nut, bone replacing plastic
- new bridge, Clifford Essex
- change to nylon strings
It's now sounding much more like a banjo - or at least it would if I knew how to play it! I'm still not 100% sure I've got the head as tight as it should be, but it seems to be staying in tune reasonably well which is always a good sign, and I'm also wondering whether I should have put a higher bridge on it - maybe i'll give that a go at some point. The only other thing I'd like to do is to get a new tuner for the 5th string that's more in keeping with the others (I've had a look around and I've seen some similar ones being sold as "Pre war Grover pancake tuners". Does that sound likely? I'm not sure how original the tuners are but they look quite old). I'm slightly nervous about the 5th string tuner because I keep seeing stuff about them being pushed into tapered holes which sounds a bit complicated to me. Any thoughts?
My next target is trying to learn how to play it properly. As I think I mentioned, I've spent a long time playing guitar, so I'm not starting from scratch. I can see that you've got several tutors on your site- any recommendations where I should be looking?
Best Regards,


From Ian: I would like to add one comment Eric. You have tied the strings incorrectly onto that wooden tailpiece. It appears that you have just tied a knot and stuck the string through the hole. I would guess that this will cause the string to slowly slide through the hole causing the banjo to constantly go out of tune... until it finally slips through and takes your eye out on its way past you!

Here is a photo provided by our Weaver expert Richard. It is a bit blurry, but you can see that the string goes down the hole, back up to the front, wraps around itself a few times and then sticks under the string on top of the tailpiece:

Good luck. It is looking good.. now we need a tune out of it :-)

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