Fairbanks Senator 5-string Openback Banjo, 1890s (used)

Regular price $ 2,000.00

An incredible banjo from the 1890s with a new lease on life!

10.5" calfskin head, spun-over cherry rim, 24 round hooks, L-shoes with hex bolts/nuts (all original), 20-fret dark cherry neck - overcoated elsewhere (the dowel stick is the original lighter color, master engraved inlays, diminutive headstock. Dowelstick has Fairbanks plate and is stamped "No. 1, Senator," 19028. Scale length is 25 inches, width at nut 1 1/4".

When this banjo arrived to us it was in very poor condition, so we had our senior luthier Marc Glickman put over $1,000 worth of restoration work into it. Most significantly, the original pearwood fingerboard (which was ruined) was replaced with a new ebony fingerboard (and new frets), but all the original inlay was used, except for two dots which were replaced (credit to Marc's partner Kelly Criscuolo-DeButts for the inlay work).

All 5 tuning pegs were also replaced with geared "Pegheds," with the peg holes bushed appropriately. Pegheds were installed because it previously had been given heavy, Schaller-type planetary gears with 3/8" shafts. Those large holes were bushed, retouched front and back so as to be barely noticeable (really invisible on the face) and the new pegs fitted. Pegheds were chosen so as to accommodate either nylon (gut) or steel strings while restoring the original appearance.

Additionally, the banjo was disassembled, all parts cleaned & polished, new calfskin head mounted, headstock retouched & refinished in varnish, new bone nut, new bridge & no-knot tailpiece and set up with nylon strings. Steel strings could be used if desired.

Marc commented that this is one of the restoration projects he is proudest of, and we couldn't be more pleased with the results! This banjo would be great for the old-time player who wants a vintage instrument with character but is easily playable with no issues. Very sweet sound.

We currently have a new hard case on order for this banjo which will be included when it arrives, but we can also supply a well-padded gig bag.

We have included several photos from pre-restoration, so you can see the transformation this went through!