1920s Unmarked 5-String Resonator Banjo

This resonator banjo was clearly intended to be a down-market steel-strung resonator instrument for student players. It's unmarked but does have serial numbers and a cut that suggests Gretsch manufacture -- though I can't guarantee that at all. Because of its design (an unreinforced, one-piece, long-scale, poplar neck) I set it up with nylon (actually "New Nylgut") strings to keep the tension down, and as a result the neck has remained straight and it's a quick, comfortable player. Because of the string type, the tone is more akin to 1890s banjos, though the feel is a lot more modern and the resonator gives it a nice, direct, simple sound.

Work included a fret level/dress, new 10 3/4" Remo Renaissance head, a new bridge, new 4:1 geared pegs, side dot install, a replacement hook, nut, and shoe (vintage stock), and a good setup. I have it dialed-in for action a hair under 3/32" at the 12th fret -- right where you want it for nylon strings.

The rim is lightweight, no-tonering, two-ply maple or poplar and is just a little out-of-round because of its lightness. The hardware is almost all original, though someone added washers under each shoe at some point in the past.

The pearloid headstock looks cool -- and the nut is original. This has a medium, C-shaped neck depth and profile, but the nut is narrower at 1 3/16" wide.

The "fretboard" is actually part of the neck and was painted black when new. The dots are celluloid, too.

The bridge is a new, 5/8" tall, ebony/maple unit.

There's some scuffing and scratching on the back, for sure. The resonator attaches with one simple bolt-sleeve.

The simple tailpiece accepts loop-ends, ball-ends, or tied-knot-ends.

Though it might be tempting to use something like this for steel, the only gauges I'd even be willing to suggest on it would run something like 8-to-8 and would probably not be fulfilling at all.