Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stanleytone Banjo #25 of the 50 first edition gold plated from 1984

Lonnie spent most of the day Saturday working on the Stanleytone banjo.  He disassembled the banjo so he could clean all the parts and polish the gold plating to a glistening shine.  The banjo was dirty and had a film of dust, dirt, and sweat; it needed a good over all cleaning.  The metal parts cleaned up really well.  The tuners were loose and the tail piece was not adjusted properly. 

As Lonnie reassembled the banjo he put on a new Five star smooth white banjo head.  He is making a custom fit Snuffy Smith bridge by taking the excess wood out of the bridge.  He has a gram scale and knows just about how thin to make them for the best tone.  He keeps checking the head tension to let the new head settle in before he makes too many tweaks.  The banjo has lots of potential; Lonnie will keep playing around until he finds that sweet spot that brings it to life with the classic Ralph Stanley sound.

The banjo before disassembled

Frank Neat (banjo maker) with Ralph's name

The serial number, this banjo was finished 11/19/1984 and is #25 of the first 50 gold plated banjos custom made for Ralph Stanley.
With the resonator back off you can see the 40 hole tone ring and fancy engraving

The outside edge of the resonator.  Fancy Birdseye maple with gold sparkle and ivory binding
Fine engraved tail piece

Top is original bridge that came on the banjo.  Middle is Snuffy Smith bridge before detailing.  Bottom is Lonnie's Bart Veerman red dot bridge...it is a little piece of art.  Beautiful well crafted banjo bridge.

Lonnie at work.  He loves to take something old and make it look as good as new.

The back of the neck with out the tuners.  The banjo is a reddish pink brown.  It is very bright an showy with the gold sparkle resonator binding

After re-assembly.  The new Five star head needs to settle in before final tweaking begins.  The banjo looks so much better cleaned up. 




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