Smakula

Fretted

Instruments

PO Box 882, Elkins, West Virginia 26241

304-636-6710

Phone Hours; 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturday;

 

Banjos, Contact us...

Page updated 5-19-2022

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1903 A.C. Fairbanks Regent. 26-1/4" scale, 10-3/4" diameter rim. Consalvi engraving. All original and nice. $3,500 Photos
1903 A.C. Fairbanks Whyte Laydie N.O. 2. 27" scale, 10-15/16" diameter rim. Consalvi engraving. Original clean condition. Sorry, Sold. $5,500 Photos
1901 A.C. Fairbanks Electric N.O. 0 Banjeaurine. 20-1/2"" scale, 10-15/16" diameter rim. Consalvi engraving. Original clean condition. $3,500 Photos
1900 Stratton & Handley, by Cole, Banjeaurine. 21-5/8" scale, 11-1/8" rim, attractive engraved inlays. $1,600 Photos
1921 Vega Little Wonder 17 Fret Tenor Banjo. 11-13/16" diameter rim, 21" scale; $800. Details coming soon. Photos
1918 Fairbanks by Vega Style N. Traditional Irish tuning, fun to play. Details below. $600 Photos
1990's Bob Rock 5-string Neck on 1920's Harmony Archtop Rim; $650. Details Soon. Photos
1974 Alvarez Silver Princess. Tubaphone 5-string banjo with Resonator. $850 More Details Soon. Photos

1928 Paramount Style B Tenor Banjo. Trad Irish tuning. Great sound! Details below. $1,100. Photos
1894 S.S. Stewart Universal Favorite. Details Soon. $1,200 Photos

FIVE STRING BANJOS

 

Openback 5 string banjos are a specialty here at Smakula Fretted Instruments. Everyone who works here plays clawhammer banjo, a style well suited to the open back five string. We do have resonator Bluegrass banjos for sale from time to time. Send us an email or check back.

Fifth String Railroad Spike Capos; Installed free on request when you buy one of our banjos.

1986 First Batch Goose Acres Electric. 1986 would prove to be a prophetic year for the American entertainment industry. It saw the births of Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, The Olsen Twins, Lindsay Lohan, Shia LaBeouf, and Drake, to name a few. And what cheesy, egomaniacal, overproduced hellfire hath been wrought in those brief 32 years. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Ohio, the Goose Acres banjo company was catering to an entirely different sector of the "entertainment" "industry." Calling back to an earlier America when the five string banjo actually *was* a leading symbol of popular entertainment, these rare Goose Acres Electric banjos day represent a benchmark in modern banjo construction. Personnel on file at this time include Kevin Enoch, Bob Smakula, and Peter H. Smakula, to give you an idea of the quality of this instrument. It has an 11" spun over rim with scalloped tone ring, mahogany neck, 26 1/4" ebony fretboard, and engraved mother of pearl inlays. With the exception of new, SFI-installed frets, and a fresh bridge and Fiberskyn head, this instrument is all original. Tone is clear and snappy and projects like an opera singer, or, perhaps, Lady Gaga? We'll let you be the judge. Sent straight to your domicile in a hard case, plus shipping. (P.S. - Goose Acres banjos never hang around for too awful long, so if you want it, move quickly!) Sorry, Sold. Photos

New Enoch Tradesman by Enoch Instruments. 11" or 12" rim with black finish, 25 1/2" scale, natural finish walnut or cherry neck with a Dobson-style profile and round heel, Richlite fretboard with dot inlays and an adjustable trussrod. Geared Gotoh planet & 5th tuners and cool octagonal dowel stick. Available fretted or fretless. In our opinion, the best new utility banjo on the market. GB; $1,475 fretted, $1,375 fretless. All our Enoch Tradesman Banjos are made with the optional fretboard scoop.

Enoch Tradesman banjos are in short supply. We will have two arriving on 5-31-2022. Click here for details regarding the Enoch Tradesman banjos we have in stock and on order.

1924 Vega Tubaphone Style M with Wyatt Fawley Flowerpot inlaid 5-string neck. A vintage Vega Tubaphone banjo, combined with a super nice neck from noted Greensboro, PA craftsman Wyatt Fawley, and with a touch of maintenance and set up from the Smakula Fretted Instruments shop has produced a really great instrument any clawhammer of fingerstyle banjoist would love. The Fawley neck has vivid curly maple with tight flames. His engraving skill really shines through with the NO 3 flowerpot peghead inlay and the dots, star and trefoil on the 26" scale ebony fretboard. Originally a tenor banjo, the 10-7/8" Tubaphone rim is a fantastic match for this newer neck. The head is likely goat skin, the tailpiece is a modern presto, and one minor alteration to the tension hoop where someone filed the string clearance notch about 1/16" deeper. The sound is bright and precise. Perfect for melodic playing. The price is $2,200 and includes a Gold Tone branded TKL hard case. Photos

2008(?) Doug Unger Prague Castle Commemorative Banjo. When you think of the Czech Republic, banjos are usually not the first things that pop in to your mind. This highly decorated banjo with an inlaid image the Prague castle sitting on the 12th fret has a good reason to have that design element. Builder Doug Unger was granted an artist's residency in Prague, Czech Republic in the summer of 1999. His daily walks had him studying the Prague castle for inspiration in both his paintings and the musical instruments he builds. The neck on this banjo is mahogany with a 25-7/8" scale bound ebony radiused fretboard. The engraved pale abalone and mother-of pearl inlay was inspired by Icilio Consalvi's work at the W.A. Cole company. I recognize the inlay designs being influenced by the models G and H (AKA 4000 and 5000). The back side of the neck features a carved heel and a back strapped peghead with a Fairbanks style dogwood blossom inlay. Most of the 10-1/2" Whyte Laydie rim came from Bill Rickard's shop, with the exception of the vintage long 2-pointed shoes, the square drive ball end nuts, and the vintage Common Sense tailpiece with a reproduction ivory rosette. Tone is warm and precise. Though the neck is bigish (At the nut 1-9/32" wide and 1-1/16" deep) it is definitely comfortable to play. The $6,000 price includes an Eastman bump hard case and all the afore mentioned engraved pearl work. Photos

1923 Bacon Internal Resonator rim with Bob Anderson Chubby Dragon conversion neck. Though Bob Anderson has been a friend of Smakula Fretted Instruments for 20+ years, I found it fun to do a little research on his back story. Reading the latest American Lutherie magazine reminded me of his history attending Kent State University and having noted visual artist and banjo builder Doug Unger as a professor. Delving a little deeper in the web I found that Bob Anderson had a Las Vegas career impersonating celebrities. And then my bubble was burst. Hard to believe that there is more than one Bob Anderson out there. I am confident that the professional singer does no know a chubby dragon from a brown derby. This conversion banjo started out in 1921 as a Bacon FF Professional internal resonator tenor banjo. The busines end has an 11" diameter blond finished maple rim with 24 brackets, a vintage calf skin head, and a modern No-Knot tailpiece. The Anderson crafted neck is birdseye maple with a 24" scale ebony fretboard filled with the appropriate Consalvi style engraved inlay, capped with the legendary chubby dragon on the peghead. The tuners are modern bone fiddle peg style, very well fit so tuning the Nylgut strings is not fussy. The nut width is a generous 1-5/16" and the neck has a V shape. The price is $3,800 and a Harptone hard case is included. Photos

1890 Cole Five String If you missed out on getting coal in your stocking, consider treating yourself to some Cole. You will be hard pressed to find an earlier Cole banjo. After all, there's only likely 11 made before this one. Much like the breakup of fellow 90s supergroup Destiny's Child, Fairbanks and Cole's dissolution of their business relationship led to solo projects. According to the little stamp on the dowel stick, this is the 12th banjo made after W.A. Cole established his own Boston workshop. And an elegant one it is! The mahogany neck has a soft V profile, understated heel carving and a 25-7/8" scale ebony fingerboard affixed with a few choice inlays. All five original ivory tuning pegs are intact and are functioning as well as a 1:1 (lack of) gear ration is going to. The 11 3/8" maple rim has a simple metal tonering and a modern renaissance head, as the banjo's original calf skin head did its own Destiny's Child tribute and split. Sonically this instrument would thrive in a classic banjo context but it is also lovely in clawhammer and fingerpicked styles. We are charmed by it and think you will be too. $1,600 with a chipboard case. Photos

1896 S.S. Stewart Thoroughbred. Though now a coffee shop, the address of 221 and 223 Church Street was once the hub of Philadelphia's banjo making activity. Instead of asking for, and receiving in minutes, a soy mocha latté, In 1896 you could have ordered a Universal Favorite, A solo Banjeaurine, or Alfred A. Farland's endorsement model, The Special Thoroughbred, in a month or so. Like most Stewart banjos, this particular Thoroughbred has a cherry wood neck. Farland's particular taste for the decoration has the peghead overlay decorated with 32 pieces of pale abalone, a nicely carved heel, and a 26-3/8" ebony fretboard with just enough on-end squares to let you know where you are when playing up the neck. The 10-1/2" diameter rim has a full German silver spin-over on the exterior. The inside of the rim is natural birdseye maple and has the original Thoroughbred paper label as well as the grained ivoroid badge engraved with Special Thoroughbred . The Joseph Rogers head and the Gattcomb style tailpiece are likely not original, but welcome alterations. The 6B Nylgut strings work well with the original screw tension tuners. Recent repairs done here at SFI include a neck reset to cure the loose dowelstick, and a refret. It is now a great banjo to play classic, old time, or any other 5-string banjo style you can come up with while sipping your pour-over. Price is $1,700 and the price includes a sturdy gigbag. Photos

1971 Vega PS-1, Pete Seeger Longneck. Pete Seeger - singer, banjo player, activist, and face of the American folk revival, thanks in no small part to his classic show, Rainbow Connection, which featured the likes of Elizabeth Cotten, Roscoe Holcomb, and . . . wait... Quest! The show was Rainbow Quest. Sorry. But I have to admit - a Seeger/Kermit co-hosted talk show would be nothing short of heavenly balm for the troubled world we live in today. But alas. Let us turn our attention to this dashing 1971 Vega Longneck. Built shortly after Martin Guitar acquired Vega, the parts of this banjo were made and assembled in Needham, MA then sent to Nazareth, Pennsylvania for distribution. It has a 32" scale, 10-15/16" diameter, Tubaphone tone ring with late period "dogbone" holes, maple neck, ebony fretboard, and Grover Rotomatic tuners. With the exception of an SFI fret job, strings, and new Remo frosted head, all parts are original and in excelent condition. It also comes with the original Lifton "Built Like a Fortress" hard case. This instrument is in excellent condition and sounds fantastic, balanced perfectly from the rich low end to the clear, shimmery highs. When I play this instrument I always gravitate to Frank Proffitt's "Pretty Crowing Chicken". Sent straight to your door for $2,500 plus shipping. Photos

1974 Gibson RB-250 Mastertone 5-String Banjo. Left-Handed. Here is a 47 year old Gibson banjo that (mostly) conforms to the catalog description of the day, Well, that is if the catalog had a page for left handed instruments. The mahogany neck has a 26-1/4" ebony fretboard. The 11" cross-ply rim is outfitted with a flat head Mastertone tonering and a 2 piece flange. The original spring-loaded clam shell tailpiece has the Gibson stamp. Of course, like any vintage instrument that comes through the shop, this banjo did need the spa treatment. We started with replacing the frets. After the frets were removed, we realized the original inlay was exceptionally thin and several fretboard inlays were cracked, so we replaced all but the Mastertone block with perfect reproductions, albeit a little thicker. Though the original fifth tuner was a Grover Permatension friction tuner, we decided to make your life easier with the addition of a Waverly planetary geared 5th. And last, we reset the neck so the center line of the neck aligned with the centerline of the tailpiece. When all was said and done, we put it in the hands of our favorite left-handed banjo player for a test drive and got the thumbs up. $2,100 is the price for this great playing and sounding lefty banjo. That price includes the original hard case, the original Gibson "care of the instrument" booklet, an "in case of shipping damage" instruction page, 4 sheets of instruction material from the Frederick Music Center of Frederick, Maryland, and a vintage banjo strap. Photos

New Recording King RKOH-05. Do you hear that? It's the weary and worrisome staff of SFI, breathing a collective sigh of relief for beginning banjo players everywhere. Why, you ask? Five words: Recording ­ King ­ Open ­ Back ­ Banjos. In recent memory, we've been consistently impressed by the quality of Recording King's budget priced guitars, and now we are happy to offer a similarly priced banjo of the same caliber. The RKOH-05 has a mahogany neck with 26-1/4" scale rosewood fretboard, and an 11" cross ply mahogany rim. Both neck and rim are attractively finished in dark red mahogany. It's outfitted with geared guitar-style tuners, and a Remo Fiberskyn head. 5th string railroad spike and SFI wire armrest installed at no additional charge. Tone is balanced and full bodied, and it plays great. A fine choice for anyone on the hunt for their first banjo, or anyone in need of a solid playable instrument that can handle overhead storage bins, festival mudslides, etc. Yours for $300 Comes with Superior gig bag. Photos

Banjo Research

J. French Cleve'd O. banjos. J. Lafayette French made banjos in Cleveland Ohio from the 1870's to about 1900. We are currently researching J.L. French and his banjos. If you have any information on J. Lafayette French the banjo maker, or his family we would love to hear from you. We are also documenting any banjos made by his company. Please click the contact button and let us know what you know. We will also gladly answer any questions about J. French banjos to the best of our ability. Check out the in progress web site www.jfrenchbanjos.com

J. French Banjos, Contact us...

 

Banjo Rims

1923 Vega Whyte Laydie NO 2 rim. 10-15/16" diameter. This one came to us with an original, non-restorable 4-string plectrum neck. A new reproduction pot of similar construction will cost about $650. Why not spend a little more and get the real thing? $800. Photos

1900 Luscomb Rim. An odd looking 10-1/2" diameter spun over pot with metal tonering. Ipgraded in the 1920's wit a home made incandescent light system to dry the original calf skin head in humid weather. All original headware with the exception of the new flat hooks with Bacon style nuts. $175. Photos

1926 Bacon Style C Rim. 11" diameter, curly mahogany veneers inside and out. No tonering model. $350. Photos

1920 Vega Style K Rim. 10-1/8" diameter maple rim with steel hoop tonering. Burnt orange finish with some flaking. New hooks and nuts. $250. Photos

1925 Vega Little Wonder Banjo Rim. 10-15/16" maple rim with a pro natural refinish. No dowelstick. $450. Photos

 

FOUR STRING & MANDOLIN BANJOS

 

1928 Paramount Style B 19 Fret Tenor Banjo. "Piano Volume and Harp Tone Quality" says the advertising copy of every vintage Paramount catalog I have put my hands on. I would not say that Paramount banjos have the tone of a harp, but no doubt they have piano volume. This style B, 19 fret tenor banjo conforms to the catalog description that includes American black walnut neck and resonator, a rosewood 22-7/8" scale fretboard with attractive mother-of -pearl inlay, a 11-1/8" diameter rim with the Paramount archtop tonering, and the unique cam tensioning "Flip" tailpiece. While here at the banjo spa we performed a refret, glued a few loose spots on the resonator, performed a thorough cleaning, and installed an inside frosted Remo head. We have set up the banjo for traditional Irish tuning (GDAE) but can easily accommodate jazz tuning (CGDA) on request. Definitely the best sounding tenor banjo in the shop. The banjo is in very good condition with, other than the mentioned maintenance, all original parts. Price is $1,100 and includes the solid 94 year old original case. Photos

1936 Kingston by Bacon Plectrum. This instrument was full of surprises when I purchased it. Most of these Bacon made Kingston banjos had a tone hoop as the metal interface between the head and the wood rim. This particular instrument was modified to use a Gibson style cast bell bronze archtop tonering. Though most of the archtop tonerings have anywhere from 4 to 40 holes on the face parallel to the wood rim interior, this one has what I would call "air vents" and a brass shim on the bottom face. Please see pictures to see this creativity. The unusual modification turned this banjo from an average instrument to a powerhouse plectrum with big volume and a full tone range. The maple neck has a comfortable 26-3/16" scale ebony fretboard with dot inlays and a pearloid Kingston engraved peghead overlay. The 11" diameter maple rim has the afore mentioned archtop tonering and a wood resonator with a brown sunburst finish to match the neck. Modifications we did here at the Smakula shop include a refret, new Gotoh tuners, cleaning and a new inside frosted Remo head. Not done here in West Virginia is a bit of overspray on the neck and a neck reset accomplished by drilling a new hole for the tailpiece anchor to raise the neck angle. For $600 you will not find a better playing and sounding plectrum with a vintage vibe. And we include the original hard case. Sorry, Sold. Photos

1923 Vega Regent Plectrum. 1923, by one estimate, was Vega's most prolific year. If the respected historian is correct, about 11,000 banjos were produced at the Columbus Avenue factory in Boston that year. Most were tenor banjos, some mandolin banjos, fewer were 5-string "regular banjos", and the smallest production was the 4-string instrument known as a plectrum. With the same length neck as a 5-string, the plectrum banjo is played with a pick to provide rhythm and chord melodies for popular dance bands of the day. This Vega Regent plectrum has a maple neck with a 27-1/8" scale fretboard. Simple mother of pearl dot inlays with a star at the 5th fret give you a good road map of where you are as you play up the neck. The 10-15/16", 6-ply maple rim is fitted with a spun-over tone hoop known to most as the "Little Wonder" tonering. 28 brackets with closed ball end nuts and somewhat rusty hooks tighten the inside frosted Remo head. String height is a very comfortable 1/16" at the 12th fret with a 5/8" tall bridge. We did upgrade this banjo by replacing the original tuners with Gotoh planetary geared tuners. Price is $850 and includes a vintage, period appropriate hard case. Photos

1918 Vega Style N Tenor Banjo. Set up with the GDAE Tuning popular with players of traditional Irish music, this little gem is a joy to play. This instrument has a 17 fret mahogany neck with a 19-7/8" scale and a 10-3/4" diameter maple rim with a Little Wonder style tone hoop. Mostly original, but we upgraded the friction tuners to geared Gotoh planetary tuner and installed a bottom frosted Remo head. With the low action this one is nearly effortless to play. Price is $600 and an original hard case is included. Photos

1925 Bacon Style C Tenor Banjo. Irish Tuning. Fred Bacon was a master classic style 5-string banjoist. I recently listened to an original 78 rpm recording of his rendition of Nola and was blown away by his artistry. 1905 was the first year that banjos built by the Vega company were offered with the Bacon trademark. By the time this banjo was built Fred Bacon was well settled in his Groton Connecticut factory producing a full line of banjos from the rare Ne Plus Ultra Silver Bell banjos down to the introductory Style C. The mahogany neck has the original 22" scale ebonized maple fretboard. The inlays on the neck include mother oof pearl position dots and a celluloid script Bacon on the peghead. The 11" maple rim has mahogany veneers on the inside and outside to match the neck. There is no tonering on this model, so the head rests directly on the wood. No major modifications were done to this banjo, but a few minor parts changes like new Gotoh planet tuners, a Remo Renaissance head, and a modern No-Knot tailpiece have updated this banjo to modern standards. Price is $600 and a Superior II gigbag is included. Photos

1965 Harmony Resotone. When Leo Baekeland invented the first synthetic plastic in 1907, it's difficult to say whether or not he would've approved of his invention later being used to further the cause of banjo players and banjo sympathizers. But, it's not our job to speculate - it's to get the very best of yesterday's weird & wonderful instruments into your hands. Bakelite was originally used to make automobile distributor caps and parts for radios and telephones, but that doesn't mean this 1965 four-string tenor banjo isn't a practical implement. On the contrary, it is more than loud enough to make sure band practice never goes on longer than it has to. This banjo has a 22-5/8" scale poplar neck, the original guitar style peghead tuners, and of course, the aforementioned, 10-7/8" dark brown-finished Bakelite rim, with integral flange instead of shoes. It's been outfitted with a new Remo cloudy head. It also comes with the original matching Bakelite resonator, easily mounted or removed based on what the situation calls for. This instrument is ideal for student players who want something with just a touch more character than current factory made offerings, or for those who simply revel in all things funky, cheap, and fun. We have this one set up in the GDAE "Irish tuning, but no problem to change the strings and adjust it to CGDA, "Jazz" tuning. $200 with vintage cardboard case. Photos

1922 Gibson TB. Though this blurber can't play more than a few paltry licks and chords on a tenor banjo, he is enamored all the same of this 1922 Gibson. With a 19" scale ebony fretboard, it's on the short side for a tenor banjo. The 10-1/2" rim is outfitted with a Renaissance head, but missing is the original trap door resonator. The maple neck has a snakehead style headstock (too cool!), outfitted with original 2 on a plate guitar style tuners. Missing trap doors? Snakeheads? What is this, a Vincent Price movie? And yes, the signature tenor brightness and volume is there, but it's tempered with just a bit of welcome roundness and warmth. All in all, it's a slightly out-of-the-ordinary instrument that's not flashy in the slightest but has a ton of personality where it counts. Yours for $700, comes in the original hard case. Photos

Alvarez Model 4291 tenor banjo. Like a Miyazaki film or a Murakami novel, this banjo was made in Japan and has a certain transportive quality to it. Indeed, when you play it, the rest of the world seems to fall away, probably because it's so unbelievably loud. Truthfully though, it's a lot of power for very little money, and any discerning tenor player would be wise to give it a second look. This high quality Mastertone style tenor has a mahogany neck with 23" scale rosewood fretboard, adorned with bow tie inlays. The 11" multi-ply rim is made up of a (likely) die-cast flat head Mastertone tone ring, one piece flange, single coordinator rod, Remo frosted head, and a rosewood resonator. It's also outfitted with modern 5-Star tuners. A great sounding banjo for a great price, take it home today for $550, with a nice hard case. Photos

1920's Weyman Style 40 Mandolin-Banjo. Like Will Smith's character in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," this banjo mandolin was West Philadelphia born and raised. While significantly older than Mr. Smith, this well-preserved instrument has retained its freshness through the decades just as he has. The 10-1/2" rim and neck are both natural finished, blond maple, and all hardware is original. The nut width is 1 1/4", and the scale length of the original refretted ebony fretboard is 14-3/16". With the light gauge strings it plays like a dream and with the Hennig compensated bridge, it plays in tune. Though you didn't ask, yes, it's loud, but it is a banjo mandolin so you knew that. $500 with original hardshell case. Photos

1920s Washburn Banjo-Mandolin. Yes, it's loud. But there is a surprising warmth and nuance to this banjo mandolin that is rare in any eight stringed, banjo head equipped instrument. The 10 3/4" maple rim has a donut style tonering, which would be responsible for any trace of tonal subtlety this instrument has. The well-worn neck has a 13 1/16" scale fingerboard and a 1 3/16" nut width. This would probably make a really nice five-string conversion with some help from your favorite neck craftsman, but if you want your neighbors to "enjoy" your version of "Daybreak in Dixie" too, its perfect as it is. $600 with original hardshell case. Photos

1925 Weymann Style 35 Mandolin-Banjo. This is a clean and interesting piece of Weyman's ingenuity. A 9" maple rim, with Remo clear head and the Weyman patented neck adjuster coupled with a one piece hard maple neck with a 13-7/8" scale fretboard. The big bonus with this instrument is the slip on resonator. Sure it's louder, but you also don't have to feel the neck adjuster dig into your belly when you stand up to play. The straight neck and recently dressed frets make this instrument play like a dream. We also made a custom compensated bridge so it plays in tune. Hmm The best of both worlds? Probably not, but this puppy has the punch to be heard in any jam session. From Jug band to alt rock this one will fit. In excelent condition and the price of $750 includes flat top hard case. Photos

1915 Fairbanks by Vega Tubaphone style M Tenor Banjo. Manufactured only a few years after Vega first started producing tenor banjos. This one, like most style M's, has a maple neck. The scale length is 21" and has a freshly refretted ebony fretboard. The rim diameter is 11-13/16" and has all the original hardware with the exception of the reproduction No-Knot tailpiece. Set up for Irish playing, with low tuning and the Remo Fiberskyn head, this banjo has a full tone that is sure to please. The low G string just plain growels. 2 minor alterations worth mentioning; a filled hole on the back of the peghead & refinished headstock (good work) and new Gotoh tuners. In very good to excelent condition with an original hard case, this banjo is $1,200. Photos

1940 Wards by Gibson Tenor Banjo. A simple tenor banjo made by Gibson for the famed discount mail order and department store; Montgomery Wards. This banjo has a mahogany neck with a 22-3/4" scale dyed maple fretboard. The 11" diameter 2 ply maple rim is 5/8" thick and has 16 brackets. There was once a resonator, but is long gone. This one sounds great as a tenor and has great potential for a 5-string openback conversion. In better than good condition with a well worn soft (stiff cardboard) case. Price is $450. Photos

1923 Weymann Model 135 Tenor Banjo. This super clean instrument from the early jazz age is in mostly original condition. The blond maple neck has a 22" scale ebony fretboard with dot inlays with new Gotoh planetary geared tuners installed. Unfortunately the Weyman Keystone State decal on the back of the peghead has deteriorated. The 10-1/2" 6 ply maple rim has no tonering. The Remo Fiberskyn head sits directly on the wood. With the exception of the tailpiece, this banjo retains all it's original nickel plated hardware and includes Weyman's patented neck angle adjuster. Set up for Irish style playing, the tone is clear and precise. But all you early jazz fans take note that jazz tuning is as easy as a new set of strings and a bridge. An excelent condition instrument priced at $500, including a good gigbag. Photos

 

 

BANJO UKES

1919 Fairbanks by Vega 4-string Banjo Uke. Another great sounding and playing banjo uke from the early part of the 20th century. This Style K has a mahogany neck with a 13" scale ebony fretboard. The peghead area at the 3rd string has had been reglued after a break, but is defiantly solid. The 7-1/2" maple rim has a steel tone hoop. And the banjo sounds fantastic. This banjo uke includes a recent Enoch hard case for the price of $650. Photos

1924 Bacon Style 1 Banjo Uke. Of all the reasonably priced vintage banjo ukes on the market, these simple Bacon instruments are the nicest. The maple 8" rim has mahogany veneers on the outer layers to match the neck. The rim's hardware is mostly original (we replaced the rusty hooks) and in very good condition. The Amrawco calfskin head is old and a good chance it is original. The mahogany neck has a new 13-7/8" scale ebony fretboard installed here at SFI and the graceful celluloid "Bacon" script is inlaid in the peghead. We chose to add Gotoh geared ukulele tuners to this banjo to make tuning enjoyable and also replaced a small section of mahogany on the side of the peghead near the 3rd string. The price of $750 includes one of our new brown tolex covered hard shell cases. Soul & tone in a small, convenient package. Photos

1926 Gibson UB-1. This is your chance to own a pre-war Gibson flat head banjo for about one tenth of the current market price of your coveted TB-3 conversion. Well, OK this instrument is not a Mastertone 20 hole flat head. Actually has no metal tonering at all. But it sure is loud! UB-1 were Gibson's least expensive banjo ever produced but with a maple neck and 2 ply 6" maple rim it does have the features of a high grade banjo. The resonator is a flat plate suspended with 4 spacers. I love the stenciled "The Gibson" peghead logo. In very good/excelent condition. At the price of $550 it comes with gig bag. Photos

1920's Unmarked banjo uke. Vintage vibe is all over this banjo ukulele. The instrument has a very work walnut brown finish. The frets are directly installed in the neck wood (no glued on fretboard) and are in a 14" scale length. The 8" rim is made of maple, has a glued on resonator, and _" port holes between the brackets for sound to come out. The metal parts include a solid brass tension hoop tensioned with 12 brackets. All the original metal hardware has worn nickel plating. New parts include Gotoh friction tuners, a Remo Renaissance head, and a new No-Knot tailpiece. Price is $200 and includes a new Enoch Instruments banjo uke gig bag. Sorry, Sold. Photos

1925 Epiphone Banjo Uke. For the practical strummer with an ear and eye for the antique and the archaic (we guess)! One of two fairly similar Epiphone banjo ukes in stock right now, this 4+ lb mini-beast has an 8-3/8" diameter rim, high grade calf skin head, and a maple neck with a knot on the heel. Low precision action plus a new 13-7/8" inch scale ebony fretboard installed right here at SFI means it plays great. The natural maple finish, unique bracket band instead of shoes for hooks & nuts, and the original vintage Epiphone decal on the back of the peghead, means it looks cool, to boot. Snappy and articulate and plenty loud, it's yours for $550 with a gigbag. Photos

New Banjo Uke Case For Vintage Gibson UB-2 and UB-3's. Several years ago noted banjo builder and inlay artist Kevin Enoch designed and had manufactured the nicest hard case for his banjo ukuleles (see below). They fit most any banjo uke with an 8" rim, with a notable exception; vintage Gibson UB-2's and Gibson UB-3's. The plate resonator of these instruments made them taller than the Enoch case could accommodate. Partnering with Enoch Instruments, Smakula Fretted Instruments has released a modified version of that case to fit those 8" diameter vintage Gibson banjo ukes. This case is attractive, sturdy and affordable. Price is only $115 plus shipping. Photos

Banjo Uke Hard Case. Designed to the specifications of Kevin Enoch, this banjo case is certainly the nicest one on the market. It fits openback banjo ukes and 5 string piccolo banjos with an 8" diameter rim, 23-1/2" total length and a maximum depth of 3" (from the bottom of the rim to the top of the bridge). The simulated leather covering is brown, and the lid is arched for extra strength. Very nice. Affordably priced at $115. .

 

Guide to Physical Condition;

New; An instrument that came to us from the manufacturer. It has never been owned by a consumer and has it's full warrantee.

Mint; As the instrument came from the factory. No blemishes at all

Near mint; Almost as it came from the factory

Excellent condition, a very clean instrument that has a few minor blemishes

Very Good Condition, reasonable wear for its age.

Good Condition; plenty of player wear.

Plus or minus indicates the condition is half a grade better or worse.

 

Shipping
We ship most of our instruments via UPS. Cost to ship a mandolin is $20 to $40. Cost to ship a guitar or banjo is $25 to $60. The cost of insurance is extra. We will be happy to quote before shipping.

Small goods like banjo heads and other parts cost $9 per order for Priority Mail shipping in the continental US no matter what the order size. Micro orders weighing less than 12 ounces and valued less than $50 are usually shipped via first class mail for $6. The cost of orders headed out of the continental US will be quoted before they are shipped.

Sales Tax
We are legally obligated to charge 6% West Virginia sales tax on anything purchased here at the shop or shipped within the state of West Virginia. We do not charge sales tax on orders sent out of state.

To Order
Call us at 304-636-6710. For payment we accept checks, wire transfers and MasterCard & Visa. If you prefer Paypal, please send us an email requesting a Paypal invoice.

Email;
Occasionally a customer will let us know that the "Contact Us" button will not work on their computer. If you have that problem, please use sfi<at>smakula<dot>com You will have to change the <at> and <dot> to @ and .