1930s Kay-made Florence Resonator Banjo Mandolin




Mother of toilet seat fretboard! That's the proud feature of this Kay-made banjo-mandolin. It's a fierce little thing and has an absurd amount of volume and cut, with its resonator, one-piece flange, and simple "hoop" tonering construction. The neck is sort-of a chunky C/V shape and has enough depth front to back to suit my own fingers, as I tend to cramp-up on mandolin necks that are thin front-to-back.

The instrument itself is all-original, too, with the exception of a replacement tailpiece, head, and bridge. While it bears "Florence" on the headstock, this guy was definitely made by Kay, right down to the Kay-patent flange design.

Repairs included: fret level/dress, neck reset/joint modification for stability (I add a "set screw" in addition to tightening-up and setting the adjustable neck unit), some reglue of the celluloid, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays bang-on at 1/16" at the 12th fret and the neck is straight. The frets near first position are lower than the rest overall after the level/dress but they still play fine. Strings are GHS A240s gauged 32w-9, the perfect jo-mando set.

Scale length: 13 7/8"
Nut width: 1 1/8"
String spacing at nut: 1"
String spacing at bridge: 1 7/16"
Head diameter: 11"
Resonator diameter: 13 1/2"
Rim depth: 3 1/4"
Rim material: ply maple w/maple veneer
Neck wood: maple or poplar
Fretboard: ebonized maple with pearloid veneer
Bridge: maple/ebony Grover Non-Tip w/compensated top
Neck feel: flat board, medium C/V shape

Condition notes: fairly clean with average usewear, all-original save bridge and synthetic Remo head. There's one repaired hairline crack to the edge of the resonator near the tailpiece.











I love the double-bound resonator. It's a classy touch.




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