1920s Oscar Schmidt-made Stella Banjolin Conversion

This came-in as a down-on-its-luck banjo-mandolin (8 strings), but as these OS builds have pretty lightweight rims and tend to be a little swampy strung with a lot of tension, I converted it to a 4-string -- which makes it technically a banjolin or melody banjo, per catalog descriptions from the time. I have to say that I prefer it this way. I've worked-on scads of this model (and very similar OS models) and they all sound good with 8 strings but they can be a little fussy. This has zero fuss and I've even managed to fit an adjustable, mandolin-style bridge on it so setup on-the-fly is easy.

It has a sweet, woody, mellow tone but the volume is certainly as good as a resonator mandolin or many tenor banjos. If you're a mandolin player trying to ape tenor banjo sounds, this is a more useful solution than a tenor banjo strung low. It maintains the high chirp of "standard" tenor banjo, so for retro-sounding bands looking for a vaguely-trad-jazz sound, something like this might be appropriate.

Work included: new tuners and plugged tuner holes at the headstock, a fret level/dress and side dots on the neck, resetting the neck angle, a new Remo Renaissance synthetic head, a new bone nut, a new adjustable bridge, and setup. The neck is straight and it plays perfectly with hair-under 1/16" action at the 12th fret, strung with 36w-24w-15-10 gauges.

Scale length: 13 3/4"
Nut width: 1 1/8"
String spacing at nut: 7/8"
String spacing at bridge: 1 3/8"
Head diameter: 10"
Side depth: 2 1/4"
Rim wood: unknown - poplar?
Neck wood: poplar
Fretboard: ebonized maple
Neck shape: medium C, flat board
Bridge: rosewood adjustable
Nut material: bone
Tonering: none, bare wood edge

Condition notes: it's worn around the edges as you'd expect for an old instrument, the rim is a hair out-of-round, and I've added bolt-reinforcement at the neck brace to keep the neck more stable than with just the brace. I also added a tailpiece hanger-bolt rather than just a screw to mount the tailpiece with. It's original save swapped tuners, new head, new bridge, and new nut.