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Vintage Banjos, Mandolins, Guitars and Parts for Sale

If you have ever purchased an instrument through an auction site such as Ebay, you now know that the price you paid was only the beginning. If you wish to have a playable instrument, you will have to search for a good luthier and spend hundreds more. Experience then educates you as to what really is "a good deal." Old instruments purchased in stores often are only a few steps above this condition, perhaps "playable," but not professionally restored to be in what musicians want as superb-playable condition. The instruments listed here play like the best of new instruments, but maintain the old sound. Most completely original banjos have had their necks reset (a $275 job), some their fingerboards straightened and reglued, others frets leveled or replaced. In the case new five string necks were made for original tenor banjo rims, we went to extremes to make them both playable and exact reproductions. Some had carbon fiber rods permanently installed to prevent warps. We are sure you will not have to bring any of these instruments to a repairman for additional work. Instruments do not come with a case unless otherwise noted.


  1. Fred Cockerham Style . A duplicate of Fred's fretless banjo, originally made by Kyle Creed. Specially beveled 11" rim with tone ring for power sound or without tone ring for a rich woody tone. Formica covered fingerboard (black or white). Geared tuners, slotted peghead, each individually crafted. Best for solo or fiddle-banjo. SEE CUSTOM BANJOS for more details.
  2. Late 1870s 12½" five string – Near mint condition collector's item, with a neck reset to make it very playable. Special cast shoes and hooks form the earliest top tension scheme I ever saw. Special order fyberskyn head on 3/8" thick two veneered rosewood rim. Heel shape-design is unusual. Fretted ebony fingerboard on mahogany V-shape neck. All five geared tuners. Comes with 1800s custom built coffin style case in excellent conditon. $2150.
  3. Bacon Blue Ribbon – Original 11½" Bacon Blue Ribbon rim (circa 1925, 1/2" light maple rim capped in dark wood, flame maple neck has black backstrap and a removable internal resonator). New exact matching 26" scale inlaid fingerboard with white binding (front photo). The heel cap, the rear of the peghead and the fingerboard are inlaid with the original Bacon pearl inlay pattern. A precise neck angle allows for strong clawhammer playing. Excellent sound with good bass. All five tuners are geared using the 5-star brand tuners. $2350.
  4. Epiphone Emperor Deluxe Art – Original 11" highly engraved rim, dragon painted on resonator back . Flamboyant dragon motifs engraved in pearl on new 25" scale 5-string neck. All metal parts on rim are engraved. Neck is carved in a toothed man motif. The dragon motif is carried into the peghead design. This is the fanciest banjo I have in the collection, one of the fanciest I have ever seen, one of this type appears in Akira Tsmura's Art of the Banjo book. $6250.
  5. Vega Electric Five String/Tenor – (circa 1935-39) A very rare electric instrument from the seminal electric period. Banjo has single pickup with tone/volume knobs. Rim is hollow body all maple. Both the original tenor neck and an original same-period Vega five string neck with engraved pearl (currently on rim) are supplied. $2450.
  6. A.C. Fairbanks - Vega Regent Five String – This all original circa 1903 banjo was made close to the time Vega acquired A.C. Fairbanks banjos. It has a metal clad ½" thick rim of diameter 11-1/8", the standard 27" scale and inlays which became the Whyte Laydie #2 standard, that is, the engraved griffin and star inlays. Geared tuners, two-piece maple neck, and extremely playable excellent tone and condition all make this a superb instrument. As fancy Whyte Laydie's go to $8,000 and Tubaphones beyond, this rare vintage banjo sells for: $4950.
  7. Ernst Hammig five string – (NYC circa 1880). Hammig's trademark were his Brazilian Rosewood necks with a curved line carved in the neck near the fifth string. This is a fretted model with a metal clad 11" rim. Kevin Enoch placed engraved flower inlays in the ebony fingerboard and, along with geared tuners, a neck reset, it is otherwise it is all original. Not a band powerhouse banjo, but rather a very beautiful tone more suited to fiddle-banjo or vocal-banjo duets. $1750.
  8. A.A. Farland Concert Artist Grand five string – (c. 1900) A.A. Farland, a banjo virtuoso of the late nineteenth century designed this exquisite 5-string with no tone ring whatsoever - he called it the "A.A. Farland Beveled Top Wood Rim Banjo." This banjo was certainly built by New York makers Rettberg and Lange, sharing many traits with top-of-the-line Orpheum banjos. The neck is fancy burl maple, 2-piece ebony center-strip and a carved heel. The ebony veneered headstock has multiple colored wood underlays, extensive pearl vines and "Farland Artists Grand" on pearl banners. A pearl fleur-de-lys adorns the back of the head. The rim is laminated birdseye maple with an ebony cap, which has a marquetry center. The dowel bears a label marked with Farland's signature and claiming manufacture in Plainfield, New Jersey. Four geared tuners. This very fancy Farland banjo is distinctive sounding, the wooden rim results in a deeper mellow tone prized by John Hartford, among others. $2,350.
  9. Alfred Cammeyer five string – (late 1890s) Cammeyer, another banjo virtuoso, had his banjo made in England but in a very American style. Extensive pearl inlays on the fingerboard and a lovely lyre inlay on the headstock make this a fairly ornate instrument. A 12" metal clad rim, a mahogany neck with an engraved signature "Alfred Cammeyer" metal heelcap with a 26½" scale length and neck reset, refretted fingerboard make this a very playable instrument. All five are geared tuners, four being rare Weymann tuners whose shafts are inlaid into the back of the headstaock. A very strong sounding banjo for application in a band situation. $1875.

Banjo Parts

  1. Paramount "Hot Dog" Armrest – The armrest used on all the Paramount tenor banjos such as the "leader". Shown here as the bottom armrest in the photo. Bolts tighten metal attachments that then hold onto banjo hooks. Excellent condition. $95
  2. Vega Style banjo Armrest – Vintage not determined. Shown in above photo as the 2nd up from the bottom. $35
  3. Vega banjo Armest – Definitely vintage, stamped "Vega" on metal, in very good shape. Third armrest from the bottom in photo for item #1. $75
  4. Vintage Vega-Fairbanks wire Armrest – Rare early wire armrest in excellent condition, the type with adjustable height screw on brackets. Fourth up from bottom in above photo. $125
  5. Wire Armrest – Vintage wire armest, some wear in plating. Fifth up from bottom in photo. $50


  1. C.F. Martin 2-20 – (sn# 16631, circa 1938) A very rare mandolin, only 150 ever made. Two body points, 13 3/4" scale neck joins body at 12th, carved top with f holes, very flamed maple back and neck, tortoise shell peghead and pickguard. Recently refretted, new ebony fingerboard uses original pearl. Carbon fiber rod installed in neck, this improved already fine tone, now stronger. One offered for sale a year ago at $3,150 by a dealer. Our Price: $2550.
  2. 1920s Gibson F4 – (sn#58562) : Flowerpot peghead inlay. Very playable low action, excellent sound with good bass. Sunburst Tobacco to Redish Orange stain front and back, one-piece exceptional flame maple back, all original in absolutely excellent appearance and playing condition. Prices keep rising on F-style mandolins, a good investment & fun to play. $6250.

Banjo-Mandolin Parts

  1. Wurlitzer Back Cover – Engraved metal back plate for a Wurlitzer banjo madolin. $55
  2. Banjo-Mandolin Pickguard – On top in photo. Holds pick, mounts on brackets. $45
  3. Tuners – Four sets of vintage banjo mandolin tuners. Choose any one set $15, all four $50.


  1. C.F. Martin 000-18 – (sn# 137396, vintage 1952-3) All original with no repairs made or needed. Very good condition, a few wear marks on top, small patch of scratches on back. VERY live sound, slight wear on a few frets, but no buzzes, good comfortable action. A fine Martin only seven years beyond World War II at a price below that of most dealers. $3000.
  2. Tilton Parlor Guitar – (Tilton's "Improvement" circa 1870-1880) A very beautiful light guitar with a total length of 36½", 17½" body and a 24-3/4" scale. Great tone and Low action but can be used only with extra light steel strings or silk and steel. Back and sides made of Brazilian Rosewood, neck attached using the "ice cream cone" heel method. Engraved tailpiece creates pressure on the bridge. Few repaired top cracks. . Lovely original brass tuning machines. $2500.
  3. French Parlor Guitar – Lovely unlabeled instrument built by or in the style of René François Lacôte, who made guitars in Paris from the 1820's until the 1860's. Total length 36" with a 17" body and 24-3/4" scale. A rosette of engraved pearl flower-vine design, carved ivory buttons on brass tuning machines. Mustache shape bridge. Sides and back of quilted-bird's eye maple. Low action, ebony fingerboard. Excellent conditon.Use only Extra light gauge steel strings or light silk and steel. $1450.
  4. Washburn 1890s fancy "New Model" # 235 Guitar – Made by Lyon & Healy, a company which started making guitars in 1888 and became a leading supplier of fretted instruments to mail order catalogs. George Washburn Lyon and P.J. Healy made the Washburn guitars in a Chicago factory setting. Lyon & Healy, still in business as the largest American maker of orchestral harps, but "Washburn" is now a guitar made in the orient. This guitar is near top of the line, with "X" bracing like Martin guitars, an all-pearl rosette, total length of 37½" long, 24½" scale, body bouts of 9½" and 12", and engraved pearl inlays in the neck, peghead and bridge (ivory end pins). All Brazilian rosewood back and sides. Playable & gorgeous. $3950.
  5. Vega arch top electric guitar – (circa early 1940s) Almost same vintage as the Vega 5-string electric banjo, the lovely guitar is a "sleeper" among electric arch top guitars. Two tone control knobs control the output to the pickup. A carved stained maple f-hole arch top in tobacco brown with a 25" scale and 2/16th string height at the 12th fret. All original with rosewood fingerboard. $1250.
  6. National Tricone Resophonic Round Neck guitar (circa 1930) Rarest of the rare, the holy grail for blues/slide musicians - the ultimate acoustic blues guitar - an original tri-cone resophoinic round neck guitar. Nickel plated finish, German silver body, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard. One of the classic guitar designs of all time, and widely considered the finest acoustic instrument ever created for slide playing,but also an excellent and totally distinctive guitar for many other styles of play. The round neck "Spanish" Tricone is much rarer then the square neck "Hawaiian" variant and has long been sought after. This Style 1 is from the early 1930's when the Tricones were being heavily outsold by the newer-and much cheaper single-cone designs. A Style 1 tricone retailed for $125.00, a tremendous sum for 1932, the height of the depression, so it's not surprising that few were sold. This guitar is a good playing example suitable for both open-tuned slide and regular Spanish play with the rich sound only Tricones can produce. The unengraved body of the Style 1is the 'purest' example of National's Art Deco aesthetic, and mysteriously often seems to be the best sounding as well. One main difference is todays reproductions are made of steel or brass, whereas the originals are made of German Nickle Silver. Overall length is 38-3/4" 14-1/8" wide at lower bout, and 3-1/8 "deep. Scale length is 25". $7,650.

Violin, Violin Bows and Violin Cases

  1. Heinrich Th. Herberlein Violin – Heinrich Theodore Herberlein was an excellent German luthier who made Guarneri and Strad type violins from 1905 to 1930. This violin is his hand-made "master" class violin period. This violin contains his official wood-burned stamp inside, seen clearly through the f-holes. Back In 1995 one sold at auction for $3,880 but this century high end violin shops now sell them anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000. Recall good modern violin makers charge $20,000+. This violin, with great tone, strong sound: $5,500.
  2. Brazilian Rosewood Violin Case – Made in England probably 19th century. A gorgeous hard wood shaped case with soft blue lining inside. Space for two violin bows inside upper lid. In lower portion (above violin's peg head) there is a case for rosin and other materials. $350.
  3. Albert Nurnberger Violin Bow – Franz Albert Nurnberger (1854-1931) of Markneukirchen, Germany created a world famous workshop known for precise workmanship producing a consistent quality bow. In photo (right to left), it is the first of the three bows. Nurnberger bows are celebrated for a strength achieved without a sense of over-heaviness. These bows have been used by famous virtuosi including David Oistrakh and Fritz Kreisler. This bow is a Tourte model of octagonal section in choice dark chestnut-brown pernambuco. The plain ebony frog is mounted in silver. Typically sold in High end violin shops for $2,200. At approximately 57 grams, it allows a smooth, effortlessness open tone. $1750.
  4. Ivory Frog Violin Bow – Early bows very commonly had fittings made of ivory, which looks and feels wonderful but is now illegal to trade across borders. Modern bow makers offer 10,000 year old fossilised Siberian mammoth tusks instead of ivory but charge an extra $250 per bow. This bow is Brazilwood with an abalone dot in the adjustable ivory end pin. Shown as the middle bow in the pop-up window for item #3 above. $350.
  5. Brazil Wood Violin Bow – Silver threading near frog, which is stamped with a design which includes a faint "ssr" lettering. Shown as the third (right side) bow in item #3 photo. $175
  6. Joh. Baptiste Schweitzer Violin – This is a Czech made violin copy of an 1819 Schweitzer which needs some repair. Flame maple body is in fine shape, but a small portion of the side of the peg head side is missing which normally had 2 holes for pegs. No tailpiece. $125.
  7. Old Black Wooden Violin Case – Old black painted wooden arch top English coffin Case with latches and top handle, looking a bit worn but in quite decent shape. Holds two bows. $50.

Questions? It would be best to set up a phone appointment so I can have the instrument in hand to discuss a serious inquiry: request a phone appointment: rgamusic at