Rare tenor-scale (17" scale) banjo-uke, made likely late 1920s in England. Spun-over nickel-plated rim, new 9" calfskin head, 12 round hooks, rectangular L-shoes, stepped tension hoop, cherry neck, ebony fretboard, dot and slotted diamond m-o-p inlays, friction tuners, brand decal on headstock.
Our senior luthier recently performed the following work:
- disassemble, clean/polish all parts, install calfskin head
- replace frets 1-4
- setup: refit tuning pegs, restring, adjust, new bridge
- repaired one resonator mounting block, replaced one tailpiece attachment screw & one pearl dot marker.
Chipboard case is included; likely original.
According to Dennis Taylor's banjo uke site: Will Van Allen (whose real name was William Dodds) was a highly successful variety artist who used the banjo in his act at the turn of the century. It is not known when he first started to make banjos, but his first models were called "Revelation", the wood hoop of which was covered by an S-shaped metal casing with a projecting flange at the bottom through which the brackets passed. When he went into partnership with Olly Oakley in 1926 with a shop at 61 Charing Cross Road, London, the “Will Van Allen" banjos, well made modern instruments, appear to have been products of the John G. Abbott workshops. He dissolved his partnership with "Olly Oakley" in 1929 or 1930 and very few Van Allen banjos appeared to have been sold after this date.