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I just won this one on Ebay and am curious as to who made it. My initial thoughts were that it could be one of the Weaver banjos made by Sydney Young with leftover Weaver parts after 1937. It's got an 11.5'' head, 2.5'' deep rim, and much of the pot looks like late Weaver hardware (especially the tension hoop). The rim doesn't look to be oak, however. Jimmy Edwards made his own design of plectrum banjos similar to a zither banjo (there's one on Ebay if you're curious), but I've never seen a regular 5-string banjo with his stamp on it. The neck stamp is located on the heel like those on Weaver banjos made for other companies, and the font looks similar or not the same.
congrats John ; i was afraid that this beautiful banjo could go to an oldtimer .... steel strings ; etc .............
i have good reasons to believe that it was made by John Abbott
What are your reasons? I don't disagree, although I would suggest that it could have been made by Jack Abbott rather than John Abbott Sr.
In 1927 Jimmie Edwards started to make a plectrum/zither banjo that he himself had designed. He made about 40-50 of them before his touring got in the way. In 1938 he had Jack Abbott make him a banjo that he toured and entertained the troops with in WWII. After the war he continued to make a handful of copies of this particular banjo to sell.
I've seen a couple of a standard Edwards plectrum banjos. There is currently one on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/JIMMIE-EDWARDS-BANJO-/152253333597?hash=ite...
I've never seen another Edwards marked open back like the one I bought.
The Jimmie Edwards banjo you mentioned on Ebay UK is not a plectrum banjo. It has a tunnelled fifth string. The 5th string has been left off and a 4 string bridge used. This banjo has been listed and relisted many times on Ebay at different prices without a sale. Currently £800, but has been as low as £500.
Nice find - the neck and deep pot look like a CE Special but the peghead has something of an Abbott shape. It looks to be in good condition unlike a lot of 'junkers' on Ebay.
Yes, Anthony, I don't understand why the seller keeps relisting at different prices - he seems to rotate it from 500 to 800 to 1000. It is baffling. It would probably sell if he just dropped the price and let people bid. I think it looks like an interesting banjo but the seller's tactics put me off - plus I think the neck looks rather chunky!
OK John - I concede to your greater knowledge. I saw and handled one over 40 years ago and it was being played as a conventional 5 string - sounded pretty good too, and beautifully constructed. Nowhere near the price being asked now though.
Jody's Quibble Qorner. Today's entry:
If Jimmy Edwards used the fifth-string in his plectrum style playing and played plectrum banjo style music does that make his five-string banjo a "plectrum banjo"? I'm not convinced.
Tenor banjos, mandolin-banjos, tango banjos, etc are all played with a plectrum. They are not "plectrum banjos" however. Everyone agrees to this point I think. A "plectrum banjo" by definition is a four string instrument with a scale and tuning identical to the 4 long strings of a five-string banjo. It is not by definition any banjo played with a plectrum.
The banjo on eBay has five pegs. It is set up with only four strings. But it clearly has a hole for the fifth string to enter the "tunnel", it has an exit hole in the peghead and it has a tuning peg to receive the fifth string. It is hard to imagine someone building an instrument like this with the intention of the player not using the fifth string. Whether it is played finger style or with a plectrum or whether the strings are sounded by tossing coconuts at them does not establish the instrument's identity. This looks to me like a Five String Banjo.
To put it another way: If I take a banjo that Vess Ossman played and I play it with a plectrum does that banjo cease to be a five-string banjo? Is it now a "plectrum banjo"? I don't think so. One is now playing a five-string banjo in the manner of playing a plectrum banjo. If I try to blow into it does it become a clarinet? If I use it to dig up some earth to plant a Flowering Banjo Bush does it become a shovel? Sure, it's being *used* as a shovel but nobody puts tuning pegs and a tailpiece on a shovel. That is the basis by which I think that nobody puts five pegs and a fifth string channel on a plectrum banjo.
John Cohen said:
Anthony, it is a plectrum banjo- Jimmie had a unique style and utilized the 5th string in his plectrum playing.
It means, just as you say, that he played a Plectrum Banjo in the manner of Classic Fingerstyle Banjo. Or we can say he used a finger style technique on the Plectrum Banjo. His four string Plectrum Banjo did not grow a Secret Invisible String because he used fingers instead of a pick.
If, on occasion he played an Actual Five-String banjo and removed or ignored the fifth string, in those instances he was treating that banjo As If it had only four strings.
Over Here is technique. Over There is an instrument. They are two different things.
I was joshing :-))
But it is still time for a beer!