Yes it looks like an Abbott 'Mirabile' which was one of their top banjos, I've had a few of these over the years and they are really good banjos. Frank Merton and his wife ran a music teaching studio in Glasgow and are mentioned in the B.M.G. in the 30s, they seem to have been well known, in the fretted instrument world in those days.
Yes, it is an Abbott, I have a 5 string model with the same peg head and inlays. The name on the side of the neck is Frank Merton ''Orphean'' Glasgow. As Richard suggests, I believe it is an Abbott Mirabile and a great banjo.
I had a Barnes & Mullins #1 P ("p" for "perfect" sez Dave Wade) that was very much like this banjo. I was pretty sure it was made by Abbott and this confirms it. Now a student has it. The B&M had some special features that I can't tell if this one has or not. The bezel was scalloped and heavy and made of high quality stuff. The pot was 11.5 inches which gave it extra bass and if I remember right the pot was also just a bit deeper than usual. (If ya filled yr banjo with chocolate pudding, this one would hold more). It had good tone and projection.
Nearly right Jody, Jack Abbott Snr worked for B&M up to about 1912 when they had a big bust up and Jack Abbott and tweleve craftsman walked out and started up their own business. There was a court case mainly around the "Amboyna" zither-banjo which B&M continued to produce after Abbott left although Abbott claimed the rights to the design and made the same thing in direct competition.
The fifth string tunnel, instead of the standard side mounted fifth peg was available for people who wanted a five string banjo that could also be used as a plectrum banjo - the bridge had a little notch on the side and when you played with the plectrum you were supposed to dismount the fifth string and slip it into this notch, to get it out of the way. A lot of makers used this idea including Windsor and B&M.
Hi Allan, if you take a look at the 'photo's page, there is a picture of Mr & Mrs Frank Merton of Glasgow with an Abbott banjo the same as ours, well similar as I know yours has the fifth peg in the centre of the peg head of the banjo.
Hi,Allen I picked up a banjo today with Frank Merton Glasgow on the heel,I have checked the old photo you put up it is very like the same type of banjo.I picked it up for £20 ,it needs a little work but after your comments it looks like it will be worth it.
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