This is the banjo that I play on a daily basis. I had been playing tenor for about a year when I received a cheap 5-String "Franciscan" for Christmas. I had heard that a friend of mine from high school was now working as a luthier out of his home. I had been his drummer in our first rock band, (1969) and thought I would look him up. When I finally reached Charlie and set up an appointment to have railroad spikes put in my "Franciscan," I saw this dusty old open-back banjo with a busted head and no strings sitting on a rack of old guitars and such. I asked about this banjo that had the word "Bacon" on the peghead. He explained that it had been left at his grandfather's house many years before. He had gotten it from his grandfather in the 70's when Charlie had wanted to play some Bluegrass. He hinted that he thought it was worth a considerable amount of money and that he was not interested in selling it. Well, I told him if he ever changed his mind I would like to be given first shot at buying it. A couple of years later my wife saw him at the local K-Mart and he said that he was ready to sell. The rest as they say is history. I picked up this fine banjo for a nominal fee and really love the sound I get out of it. It isn't fancy, but it is a player...
This is the front of my 1926 Bacon & Day banjo. As you can see it is
pretty plain. I have a 1/2 " Moon, Heavy,compensated bridge on it
and an Elite Fiberskyn head. I use Vega light strings and really
like the sound. It doesn't have a tone ring, but still has a good Ol' Timey
sound to it. I usually use a Kyser capo, because the Shubbs leaves
an indentation or mark on the fretboard. It has a dotted inlay on the 3rd,
5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets. I have railroad spikes at the
7th, 9th and 10th frets. I put new planetary tuners on it, because I need
it to stay in tune, which the original tuners weren't doing very well.
As I said this is a player...
What do you know....this is the back of that same banjo. I use a small rag stuffed up under the dowel stick to suppress some of the overtones that I was getting.I tried using a cork, but couldn't get the tone that I wanted. On the top of the dowel stick it says, "Made by the Bacon Banjo Company, Groton Conn. USA. On the side of the stick is embossed the number, 19873 and the it says, -The Bacon Peerless- which may be the model name. The number is also embossed on the rim. I believe I dated it on Mugwumps and it is a 1926. It has 25 brackets and I am using a No Knot tail piece on it.
Here is a closup of the
pot. As you can see it has been signed by one of my favorite players and
influences; Ken Perlman. It was his tapes and books that were instrumental,
(Pun definitely intended) in getting me started in the Clawhammer style..
This is a closeup shot
of the peghead. As you can see, it is indeed a Bacon banjo. It is starting
to develop a few cracks, but still is in fairly good shape.
A picture of yours truly, frailin' away in the kitchen. Notice the look of extreme concentration. Or is that constipation....????
Finally got a microphone, so here is a WAV file of the song Whoop Eliza. Let me warn you it is a pretty big file. Hope you enjoyed these photos....Be putting up other new pic's of the 5 strings and the tenors, plus a dulcimer as soon as time allows. Keep on pickin'
Here to listen to Whoop Eliza! (Big File 900k)
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