1930s Bacon-made Gordon Resonator Banjo-Mandolin

The 32xxx serial number on the dowel of this instrument doesn't really point to anything as far as I can tell. It was made by Bacon (I think just before Gretsch bought them?) in the '30s and is full of fantastic, celluloid bling. A local "mother of toilet seat" collector bought this and had it shipped to me for repair, and it was fun to see it go from shipwreck to speedboat.

This has no tonering but it does have a full resonator and a long scale. The neck is sturdy and strong and the 10" rim keeps its size manageable. It's loud as heck and almost painful to play outside of group work, as it really pushes some air. The notes leap-out like crazy.

Work included: a refret with jumbo stock (so I could level it down a lot to eliminate neck warp and preserve the celluloid), a new Remo synthetic head install, hidden bolt-reinforcement of the neck joint, a new compensated bridge, cleaning, and a setup. It has a straight neck (now), plays with 1/16" action at the 12th fret, is strung with 32w-9 gauges, and sounds great.

Scale length: 13 3/4"
Nut width: 1 3/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/16"
String spacing at bridge: 1 5/16"
Head diameter: 10" (12" resonator diameter)
Side depth: 3 3/4"
Rim wood: maple
Neck wood: two-piece maple
Fretboard: maple w/celluloid veneer
Neck shape: slim-med C, flat board
Bridge: maple/ebony
Nut material: bone
Tonering: no tonering -- shaped wooden rim

Condition notes: it's all-original save frets, head, and bridge. It even has its original case (not pictured).

The extras on this guy are nice. It has a nice, comfy armrest and the raised pickguard is a lifesaver -- it lets you plant your pinky without damping the head. Note also that it has a built-in pick-holder (with an antique pick still in it).

The 10" head is the smallest standard Remo head size outside of the 8" banjo-uke heads.

The celluloid on the resonator is just icing on the cake.