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.
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
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 A duplicate of Fred's fretless banjo, originally
made by Kyle Creed.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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
"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
- Vega Style banjo Armrest – Vintage not determined.
Shown in above photo as the 2nd up from the bottom. $35
- Vega banjo Armest – Definitely vintage, stamped
"Vega" on metal, in very good shape. Third armrest from
the bottom in photo for item #1. $75
- 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.
- Wire Armrest – Vintage wire armest, some wear in
plating. Fifth up from bottom in photo. $50
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.
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
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.
Back Cover – Engraved metal back plate for a Wurlitzer
banjo madolin. $55
Pickguard – On top in photo. Holds pick, mounts on brackets.
– Four sets of vintage banjo mandolin tuners. Choose any
one set $15, all four $50.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bows and Violin Cases
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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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