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1966 Fender Banjoline Prototype - One of two Fender Banjolines

Local Pickup Only
Listing Sold
Local Pickup Only
Verdant Gold Vintage Guitars
Seattle, WA, United States
Preferred Seller
Quick Responder

About This Listing

This is a one of a kind instrument. There is only one other Fender Banjoline known to exist, shaped like a Fender Mustang, and that is in the Fender National Museum. The other Banjoline was created for Eddie Peabody in 1964 or so. The one you are bidding on is more representative of Rossmeisl's work throughout the years, illustrating styles and features that herald all the way back to his days at Rickenbacker.

It took me months of research, phone calls, tracking down old Fender employees and a lot of time and effort to come up with these results.


The Banjoline started as an acoustic instrument invented by the Vaudevillian performer, Eddie Peabody. Over the years he recorded many albums featuring the Banjoline. In the 1950s, he approached several companies to create for him an electric version of the instrument. Rickenbacker finally accepted and Roger Rossmeisl designed for Peabody a now very sought after and rare instrument known as the Rickenbacker 6005 and 6006 Banjoline. Rossmeisl was responsible for the most famous instrument designs at Rickenbacker, including the 4000 series basses, the Combo line of guitars, the Rickenbacker 325 - made famous by John Lennon, and many others.

In 1962, Leo Fender scouted and sniped Roger Rossmeisl from Rickenbacker. He put him to work at the Fender factory and had him design their line of acoustics. Rossmeisl also came up with the Coronado and Coranado II as well as the Telecaster Thinline and the famous George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster. (He sure was friendly with the Beatles, eh?)

In my conversations with Phil Kubicki, I exchanged photographs of this instrument. He was very surprised that it got out of the factory at all. He told me to get a copy of the book "Guitar Legends - The Evolution of the Guitar from Fender to G&L" and I would find a photograph of another instrument similar to this Banjoline in it. Phil didn't mention he took the photo himself. After a couple more phone conversations, Phil told me he'd sign a Certificate of Authenticity if I printed it up and sent it to him.

Phil Kubicki said that Leo Fender kept a tight ship and that prototypes were not supposed to leave the factory. Normally they would be destroyed or boxed and placed in a storage facility. This particular one left the factory with Buddy Kendrick, an R&D employee at Fender. I spoke to Buddy Kendrick's nepher about this. He was, in fact, the person who pointed me to Phil Kubicki to begin with. The lady who this was purchased from received the item as a gift from Buddy Kendrick some time in the late 70s and it was kept unused for the majority of that time until earlier this year.

  • Mahogany neck with Rosewood veneered head stock.
  • Very early run Fender manufactured "F" Tuners (pre-Kluson)
  • 6 strings: two single treble strings, 2 paired courses on the bass strings
  • Brasilian Rosewood neck
  • Mother of Pearl dot inlays and Black side markers
  • Mahogany body
  • Custom made "Fender XII" style two pole pickups
  • Custom machined "Bronco" style tremolo & bridge
  • Volume, Tone and position switch (neck, both, bridge)
  • Approximately 4.5 lbs.
  • Original chip board case

The neck is standard banjo length and width. It has a bit of a boat contour to it. about 3 frets are slightly loose on the bass side high up on the neck and will need to be repaired professionally. This is likely due to the radius of the fret board combined with the small horizontal width of the neck and the vintage sized small fret wire. The instrument is very playable in the first second and third chord positions.

The tone of the instrument is very full on the neck position, bright and full in the middle and very bright on the bridge position. The tone knob softens everything up as you'd expect, and gives a bit of a quack when rolled back about 20%. I would say this reminds me most of a Fender Jaguar or Fender XII in tone, though you don't get the extra two bass strings of a regular guitar.

This is tuned as a regular guitar's four upper strings or as a banjo. I tend to tune it to open G as it is a fun instrument to play slide on. I've included a video of the instrument - forgive my playing.

The following is an example of the banjoline in the hands of someone who knew how to use it, its inventor. This was recorded for Rickenbacker as a promotional item.

I will say that the tremolo on this leaves a bit to be desired. It isn't the most expressive trem I've ever used, though I believe this could be adjusted better.

Please, please, please contact me with any questions.

Product Specs

Listed7 years ago
ConditionMint (Used)
Mint items are in essentially new original condition but have been opened or played.learn more

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