Bacon & Day Silver Bell #1 Model Plectrum Banjo (1924), made in Groton CT, serial # 12876, shaded maple finish, laminated maple rim, resonator and neck; ebony fingerboard, black hard shell case. This is a fairly early Bacon & Day Silver Bell #1 Plectrum Banjo, from the first period of their manufacture. 1920s Silver Bell Banjos were quite popular when new, but tenors outnumber plectrum instruments by as wide margin. Company founder Fred Bacon was a 5-string player himself, but by the time he and David Day had the Silver Bell design on the market, most working banjoists were tenor or plectrum players; at least those who could conceive of affording a $140.00 banjo! While they were listed in B&D catalogs as standard models comparatively few Plectrum banjos were actually made.This substantial-feeling banjo carries standard Silver Bell #1 appointments, including the trademark resonator incorporating a low mounted shallow flange with the first pattern round soundholes. Soon after this one was made the classic f-hole flange was adopted. This is a beautifully made and subtly fancy instrument with multiple ebony/maple laminates to neck, heel, and headstock, ivoroid binding on the heavy ebony fingerboard, and black binding on the resonator rim. The headstock face, rear and the bound ebony fingerboard are adorned with fancy shaped pearl inlay. The tuners are the earliest geared "spike" Grovers with ivoroid buttons. The early "carved ring" style resonator back is subtly figured maple and has no name plate fitted. The tailpiece is the original 4-string Oettinger. This banjo has the earliest version of the B&D soft pedal mute fitted, which provides some novel sonic effects.This banjo is very loud and quite crisp but with a warmer ring than some resonator instruments. The neck profile is a bit deeper than some with a very comfortable feel; the neck has a noticeable soft "V" contour in the lower positions and gradually becomes more rounded above the 5th fret. This instrument sounds great in any Plectrum mode, a lovely player's instrument in well-maintained condition.Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 4 1/16 in. (10.3 cm.) deep. Scale length is 26 in. (660 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/8 in. (29 mm.). This is a nicely original banjo that shows some fairly minor wear but no repairs or alterations. Everything remains complete and original except for the somewhat later skin head and Grover bridge There is some fairly light wear to the finish, mostly scuffing and shallow scratching to the back of the resonator and some small rubs to the neck. The plating also shows only relatively minor wear. The frets are original and have some light wear in the lower positions. The banjo is currently set up with an older skin head, solid if lightly worn on the surface but well-settled in.This is an excellent-playing and sounding instrument which appears to have seen only careful use over the past 90+ years. The B&D mute is functional, although this earliest version has a less substantial pedal than later iterations and is not quite as reliable in operation. The original case is included, very solid with some general wear including a period mute and some old picks and such as a bonus. Excellent - Condition.

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Listed4 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
  • Silver Bell #1
  • shaded maple
  • 1924

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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