Holy ploink-ploink! What the heck is that?
That, dear reader, is my latest musical acquistion. It's a 1924 Weymann Model 180 tenor banjo.
In case you're wondering, I have not totally lost my mind. I have found that lately I've developed a taste for slightly eccentric instruments.
Especially ones that are high quality.
Anyways. I have acquired a couple of tenor guitars and it turns out that tenor guitars and tenor banjos (generally) use the same tuning. So I said to myself, "Self, you could buy a neato tenor banjo and actually learn to play it and put your new skills to use on both banjo AND tenor guitar!"
Erase all that. It's partially true, but the main thing is I needed an excuse to get another fine old instrument.
The tenor banjo was primarily a rhythm instrument in early jazz - New Orleans/dixieland bands. When guitars started to become more prevalent in jazz in the 1930s, the tenor banjo faded in popularity. And the tenor guitar was developed as a way for tenor banjo players to transistion to guitar.
The tenor banjo has 4 strings and is played with a pick, unlike the traditional banjo you hear in bluegrass. That would be a 5-string banjo - longer scale, played with the fingers, and having, well, 5 strings. And scads of tunings.
Check out this headstock inlay! That is art.
I admit I'm a sucker for this stuff.
I snagged this from the famous Jake Wildwood at Antebellum Instruments. First-class guy, great player and restorer of way cool stringed instruments.
Jake had put a new synthetic head on, and done a fret level and crown and general set up. The action is super low and it sounds wonderful.
Notice the neck lamination - it seems this is a hallmark of Weymann instruments.
The neck is maple - check out that flame!
The rim is laminated. The outermost layer is clearly flame maple. I'm not sure about the other layers. There is also a slight 'megaphone' angle to the inside of the rim - to enable more volume and projection.
The center post is adjustable to raise or lower the string action.
This is a whole new world to me, I'm still pretty gaga over the whole thing.
This is a just a beautiful, quality instrument.
The toning on the rim, resonator and neck are all very violin-ish colors. Simply gorgeous.