c.1925 Oscar Schmidt Tenor Banjo

First reactions? Nice tenor! This is a mid-twenties Oscar Schmidt tenor banjo, unmarked, but clearly made by OS -- hardware is OS-style, headstock is OS-style, and rim is OS-style. Often these were branded "Stella" when sold, though others were sold to mailorder catalogs who then resold them.

It's very simple and no-frills, and is entirely original except for a new bridge and a couple of strap hooks that have replaced two missing rim shoe/hook/nut sets. The neck, like all these old OS/Stella tenors, feels great -- nice and round and easy on the wrist for hours of play.

MOP dots on an "ebonized" board. Original nickel-silver frets are in good shape.


Though the original skin head is marked "CGDA" under the bridge, I'm using John Pearse heavy-gauge tenor strings (040w, 030w, 020w, 013) which feel perfect for "Celtic Tenor Banjo" tuning: GDAE an octave below mandolin. The wooden turned-top rim "tone ring" gives a perfect, mellow, woody, sweet sound to this banjo. Very open and excellent for Celtic tunes, or even jazz or old time music.


Back. The neck finish is slightly darker, walnut-i-er, than the lighter finish of the pot, which gives an attractive look to the banjo.

Simple all-metal friction tuners work perfectly.

Heel join. I had to reset (ie, reglue and set the angle) of the dowel stick on this banjo, as it had been hastily "repaired" at one point at a poor angle with a poor bond. It was a little loose when I got it.

Back of rim.

Good, solid neck brace.

Unfortunately, the mandolin-style tailpiece is lacking its distinctive cover, which would have had flowers stamped in it.


Other side.