Bart Reiter Professional Model 5 String Banjo, made in Lansing, Michigan, serial # 273, natural finish, laminated maple rim, laminated maple neck with ebony fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case. Bart Reiter banjos are among the most respected of all modern/old-time instruments, built along classic design lines to an amazingly consistent high standard. Bart Reiter recently retired after a long and very successful run as an independent banjo maker who never sold his name into big time production. We'd like to salute him for that, it is fairly rare in the modern industry. Each instruments made by him over the decades is a gem and we are always happy to get on in stock.This is a very early Reiter "Professional" model, practically vintage in its own right now! It was built in 1988, a year when Reiter's total production was 110 instruments. The design is inspired by the early 1900s Bacon FF Professional models, initially made by Vega to Fred Bacon's unique design. The distinctive characteristic is a hollow secondary section inside of the rim which provides an internal resonating chamber. This was a highly touted feature by Bacon in the 1910's, but fell by the wayside when the resonator-and-flange banjo was invented in the early 1920s.This banjo is built fairly closely to traditional structural specs but with plainer cosmetics than most of the original Bacons. The rim is heavy laminated maple with a sheathed tone ring, with that resonating chamber providing an extra shading. There are two F-holes along the bottom surface which is capped on all edges in tortoise celluloid and a bit of wood marquetry running along the inner bottom rim. This banjo is fitted with a lovely genuine skin head, which is very hard to find done properly on modern instruments!The medium 26" 1/4" scale neck is laminated maple; the heavy ebony fingerboard features plain dot inlay augmented by a single star at the 5th fret. The Vega-style headstock is faced in ebony with a central single pearl star. The tuners are modern geared planets with ivoroid buttons, including the 5th string. The finish on the neck and rim is a nicely ambered natural maple. All hardware is original and typical for the period and nickel plated; the dowel plate has the early "Bart Reiter, Maker" inscription. Compared to its 1910s ancestors this is a relatively plain looking instrument but as named it is a fully professional banjo in every way. Sonically it is a truly excellent instrument, with a very well-rounded tone and the extra mellow shadings delivered by the NOT plastic head. This is fine early example of this maker's always superb instruments, a nice reminder of their consistent excellence from the early days up through recent times.Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 2 3/4 in. (7 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 26 1/4 in. (667 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/4 in. (32 mm.). This is a relatively clean instrument overall, showing really very little play wear for being almost 35 years old. The finish has some checking and has darkened somewhat over time, giving a lovely vintage-y patina. It shows some very small dings and dents, with some typical clouding to the nickel hardware. The lower frets have just the tiniest wear, and playability is excellent. There is one railroad spike that may have been added to the fingerboard, but other than that the banjo appears stock. We are not sure if the skin head was original equipment but it is possible; it is very well fitted in any event. This is an excellent playing and sounding banjo, with a very mellow yet penetrating sound. Overall a lovely if not showy early example of Reiter's always excellent work. It includes a later high-grade HSC. Overall Excellent Condition.

Listed3 months ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
  • Professional
  • Natural
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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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