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The Lurve Banjo


It came! And it’s in better-than-expected shape. I got it mostly apart tonight. It was grubby as hell (and full of dead spiders!), but not too damaged and the metal bits don’t seem brittle or otherwise fatigued.

I had doubted that it really was homemade, but I’m not so sure now. See the horizontal guideline across the tailpiece in the picture? Clearly to line up the holes properly. Also, note the slightly crude scroll cuts at the edges. The geared tuners and spunover pot were probably cannibalized from another instrument, but I do think this was a labor of lurve, possibly on the part of a Swiss redneck.

Only hitch is, the neck is held to the pot with a pin through it. I don’t think I can get the pin out without breaking it off flush. It would be a kjillion times easier to fix this up if the neck and the pot were separated, but I may have to eat the inconvenience.

Wanna see another great British eccentric? Check out this eBay zither banjo. Barnes and Mullins is a well-known brand. It’s still around. In fact, my very best banjo is a B&M Lyratone. But I’ll let this one go…errr…unless, of course, the price stays stupid low.


Comment from Janna
Time: March 2, 2016, 11:43 pm

That zither banjo is beautiful. I know nothing about music, but admire the craftsmanship. How much is 12 pounds in real money? 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 2, 2016, 11:49 pm

About $18. It won’t stay there, though. I expect that to go for…well, it’s hard to say, with those inlays, but ordinary zither banjos often go for around £100, if they go at all. That will probably go for more as a wall-hanger.

Zither banjos age badly.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: March 3, 2016, 12:52 am

One man’s trash is another weasel’s treasure!

Comment from P2
Time: March 3, 2016, 2:33 am

what kind of pin, stoaty? you can always start out with a small drill, drill thru the pin and keep stepping up drill sizes till you get to the pin diameter, or just gently tap it out with a punch as you get near the pin diameter… if it doesnt go thru, try drilling a hole into the pin slightly smaller than a #6 or #8 screw, then GENTLY thread the screw into the pin and wiggle it out. this is, of course, assuming you can find a suitable replacement pin……

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 3, 2016, 5:03 am

Very pretty. It could be a piece of jewelry.

Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: March 3, 2016, 5:42 pm

Agree with P2. There is nothing made by the hand of man that cannot be repaired by the hand of man. Especially a determined redneck.

A drift pin, smaller than the stuck pin, a firm base for the most structurally sound area (probably the neck near the pot juncture), tap-tap-tap with caution.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 3, 2016, 8:54 pm

The problem is, the pin goes horizontally through the brace that runs down the center of the pot. Getting hands and tools in there at that angle is awkward. And I’m kind of light on tools and even lighter on skills.

Comment from peacelovewoodstock
Time: March 3, 2016, 10:19 pm

Off topic, I apologize but I just saw this heartbreaking news: http://www.accuweather.com/en/features/trend/uk_biscuit_shortage_continues_after_flooding_storm_desmond_carlisle_cumbria/55709344

Is there anything we can do to help?

“Popular varieties such as custard creams, bourbons and ginger nuts could be off supermarket shelves until mid-spring.”

Oh dear Lord.

By contrast, we are just awash in Girl Scout Cookies here now. Maybe some kind of modern “lend lease” is needed?

Comment from mojo
Time: March 3, 2016, 10:47 pm

A fine opportunity to introduce these lim… er, new British customers about REAL biscuits – light, fluffy and de-lish. Mmmm- mmm!

Comment from P2
Time: March 5, 2016, 8:09 am

heres a thought, stoaty…. haul said parts down to the local aerodrome, find a crusty trusty airframe engineer as we mechanics are known in ol’ Blighty, and i’ll bet the wrench has a 90 degree drill with the correct size bits that will fit in that tight space. couple passes with the drill and then a squeeze or two with a rivet squeezer sporting a 3/32 inch punch and Robert’s your mother’s brother…. ive got the tools in my box at work, cant imagine any aircraft mech worth a tinker’s damn who wouldn’t. may cost ya a couple pints……

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