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Bacon & Day Sultana Silver Bell #1 Tenor Banjo , c. 1939
Bacon & Day Sultana Silver Bell #1 Model Tenor Banjo, c. 1939, made in Groton CT, serial # 34854, shaded maple and pearloid finish, laminated maple nack and rim, original brown hard shell case.
Here is a very late example of one of Bacon & Day's crowning creations...the Sultana Silver Bell. While all Silver Bell banjos are generally quite fancy, Sultanas have a unique shaded pearloid decor and are distinctive even by Bacon standards. This #1 style, the lowest of the Sultana line, is still a flamboyantly flashy instrument.
This banjo would have been made shortly before the sale of the Bacon company to Gretsch and features the later "cloverleaf" flange instead of the standard "F-hole" style, as well as the larger peghead characteristic of '30s Bacons. The market for such fancy tenor banjos had cooled considerably by the late 1930s, but here is one of the last of those red hot mamas!
This banjo features elaborate engraving in the pearloid headstock, fingerboard, heelcap, reverse of headstock, and concentric rings on the resonator back. The tuners are original Planets with large amber celluloid buttons and the tailpiece is the individually adjustable 4-claw Oettinger. The patented B & D mute pedal is present and working perfectly, allowing both the intended quick muting and the characteristic "wah-wah" effect often employed by Roy Smeck, a longtime Silverbell endorser. The B & D Silver Bell is generally considered to be one of the finest tenor banjos ever created as well as the flashiest, and this is a great-sounding and fairly rare example.
Overall length is 34 in. (86.4 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) deep. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.).
Very nice overall. The color has faded quite a bit, giving this one a subtle pearl-and-amber look that is uniquely attractive. There is some light wear overall; no alterations except a newer plastic head. One of the four resonator retaining bolts is missing, but the three remaining ones do the job perfectly well. There is some fretwear, but this remains a very good player, complete with the original brown HSC. Excellent Condition.
Item # 7012
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