Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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Bacon & Day Super Style A Conversion 5 String Banjo (1923)
Bacon & Day Super Style A Conversion Model 5 String Banjo (1923), made in Groton CT, serial # 10354, shaded maple finish, maple neck, rim and resonator; ebony fingerboard, black hard shell case.
This 5-string conversion banjo is an interesting and slightly unusual mix of features, but all remain true to its Groton, CT Bacon & Day origins. The neck is a more recent but absolutely correctly styled piece fitted to an original early 1920s Bacon & Day rim. It carries a Style A stamp on the dowel, which itself is original to the rim with matching serial numbers.
The features of the rim itself are what one would generally expect to see on a VERY early B & D Silver Bell #1, with the perforated tone ring and the rare and beautiful deep-dish carved resonator topped with a round-hole flange. This rim dates to the time when the Silver Bell line was just being launched, and there was a lot of crossover with the Super banjos already in production.
The neck was built by Bud Sosebee, and his name is stamped on the inside of the heel. It is beautifully made of laminated maple with an ebony fingerboard and is consistent with the style and pattern of a 1923 Super/Silverbell neck with a 26" scale length and 1 1/4" nut. The inlay is all correct, and indeed may be the original pearl re-purposed for the 5-string format. The tuners are more recent Planet style with a geared 5th string machine. The tailpiece is a correct style 5-string Oettinger and the banjo is fitted with a 1930s-style gold glitter-plastic pickguard often seen on Bacons from that time.
This is a wonderful-sounding banjo and although not entirely original to the period, an extremely high quality instrument throughout. Original Bacon & Day 5-strings are extremely rare today even though Fred Bacon himself was a 5-string player. This is a superbly high quality instrument with a unique sound; a real bargain in a performing banjo with a unique tone and character.
Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 26 in. (660 mm.).
This banjo is very clean overall, showing some typical wear to the plating and original areas of the finish, most notably on the edges of the resonator. Since becoming a 5-string it appears to have not had a lot of use; the rather more recent neck shows only a tiny spot of fretwear.
This is an excellent playing and sounding banjo with more of an "old timey" ring than the typical Mastertone copy, but with plenty of volume. A fairly fancy and unusual vintage-toned 5-string, housed in a more recent HSC. Excellent Condition.
Item # 8410
Prices subject to change without notice.
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