Mailbag: 1910s Yoscos Large-Rim Tenor Banjo



Here's from an "ID this please!" email. This one has Yosco's on the headstock but don't let that fool you -- it's the same marketer/reseller that sold the normal Yosco banjos from the same time.

This one probably dates to the very late 1910s as it's got that "short scale + large rim" thing that was a fad for a couple years around then. Very quickly people realized that this makes for a bit of a muddy/overly-warm/not very punchy tone and 10 1/2" to 11" pots became the norm quickly on nicer banjos directly after this style became popular.

Ironically, these large-rim tenor banjos are now quite popular for folks who want to use "Celtic" GDAE tuning and want to hear their bottom-end come through. The big rim will do that, for sure, though it won't get you that '70s-'80s "Celtic banjo" recording sound which was mostly driven by smaller-rimmed, very-bright-sounding resonator tenor banjos -- where you hear the low G just fine but not its warmth.

Anyhow, while I can't confirm it, this instrument was almost certainly made by Lange in New York for the Yosco brand. It's very similar to Lange's own large-rim, openback tenors of mid/lower-pro quality level from the same years.

The resonator on it is not original and looks homemade.


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