Who woulda thunk it? Two mandolins in two weeks?
And this is not just any mandolin - it's royalty!
This is a sort of mystery-make banjo mandolin. I'd guess it dates from the late 1920s maybe up to 1940 or so.
It's a 'Princess.' Very nicely made - 5-ply maple rim, three piece maple and rosewood neck, and what appears to be a rosewood headstock inlay.
I suspect this was made by Regal or one of the other Chicago makers - there is a plate covering the rear of the tuners that sure looks Regal-esque. Plus, the name could be a play on 'Regal' as well.
At any rate, it belongs to a friend of mine and I'm going to do a little fix-up and get it going again.
There are a couple of cracks to fix, I'm going to put a new head and possibly a bridge on it as well.
The lugs were pretty loose - virtually no tension on the head.
The rod isn't adjustable, but it's not made of wood, so I think the proper term is coordinator rather than 'dowel.'
OMG. I am speaking banjo language. We're in trouble now.
You can see how I just used the lug itself to turn the nut that attaches to the rod.
I'm leaving the other lugs on for now. I'll polish them, and I think it will be easier if they stay on the banjo pot.
If you have one of these, you will be able to tune the head on virtually any banjo on earth. That, my friend, is power. Use it carefully.
I bought this and the new head from Elderly Instruments. And ironically, my friend, whose banjo mandolin this is, worked at Elderly in the early 1980s. Small world.
So now we can just pull the neck away from the pot.
When I did this, I thought of another good friend who says "Banjos are easy to work on. They're just a bunch of parts." And so they are. And it's pretty logical as to which part goes where.
The internal rod just slides out from the bigger coordinator (or is it just a rim?) rod. There's a thread that goes into the neck heel.
The frets are really sticking out from the fingerboard, so it will actually be easier to dress them back with the board off the neck, I think.
Check out the beautiful black and white pearl "moon" inlays. Very nice.
Next, I'll work on those cracks I mentioned.