2010s Pisgah Dobson 12" 5-String Openback Banjo

12" rim, Dobson/Bacon-style "donut" tonering, and frailing scoop? Yeah, we're in retro-modern-mashup old-time banjo territory now, folks. Instruments like these are why I'm constantly suggesting modern "old-time" players hunt modern banjos instead of the actual old 1870s-1880s instruments.

Said actual antique instruments tend to not take steel strings of heavier gauges, don't have scoops, and don't have the ring and lower-end warmth most clawhammer players are seeking for band or duo/trio use. What they do have is a period, mellow tone more-suited to "stroke-style" or "two-fingers" playing -- the predominant forms at the time. A banjo like this is what the average "old-time" players are actually looking for in an instrument.

And, yep, it's a nice one at that. Pisgah instruments are well-made and look killer, with an aesthetic mostly borrowed from the 1870s-1880s instruments but with modern construction. I know the company also makes some Vega-style instruments too, but the ones I see up here are mostly Buckbee-ish like this one.

The consignor who owns this splurged on it a bit, and it comes with a beautifully-made boutique adjustable brass tailpiece, good-quality compensated bridge, and an optional goat skin head that's stowed in the original gigbag.

The hardware is all excellent-quality and durable and it has Gotoh geared pegs fit -- which are among my favorite banjo tuners.

Repairs included: remounting the original Remo Renaissance head, light cleaning, a restring, and a setup.

Setup notes: strings are 10s and action is spot-on fast at 1/16" overall at the 12th fret. The neck is straight, the frets are essentially unplayed, and the truss rod (accessed at the heel's end, irritatingly-enough, just like a lot of modern old-time banjos) works.

Scale length: 26 1/4"

Nut width: 1 3/8"

String spacing at nut: 1 1/8"

String spacing at bridge: 1 3/4"

Head diameter: 12"

Depth overall at rim: 3"

Rim wood: walnut w/cherry accents

Bridge: maple/ebony

Neck feel: medium C/V shape, flat board

Neck wood: walnut w/cherry accents

Weight: 6 lb 6 oz

Condition notes: while the instrument is almost all original, there's a bit of usewear on the head and the owner has slightly buffed-up the finish to bring it to semi-satin and highlight some of the pretty grain in the neck and rim. He's also antiqued the brass hardware and tuners a bit and tea-stained the optional goat skin head.

It comes with: its original gigbag.