1890s Lyon & Healy 5-String Openback Banjo

I used to work on Lyon & Healy banjos like this more often years ago, but guitars definitely take-up most of my time these days. I've always liked them -- they have fast, modern-playing necks, a quirky headstock shape (reminds me of old clock faces?), and my "boat" heels. That last bit always looks great on a banjo and feels good when you're playing waaaaay up there.

This one needed a bit to get it back in service, but now that it's gone-through it's modernized -- it plays fast and has good volume and snap with a neat "clunk" to the lower notes. That's maybe not the correct way to describe it, but maybe you can hear what I mean in the video.

This was built when instruments were intended for gut strings, so it's strung with Aquila Nylgut. I don't recommend steel at all on it.

Repairs included: fret level dress, new geared pegs (w/older buttons) install, new Remo Renaissance head, new (vintage-y brass) tailpiece, two replacement hook/nuts (older), replacement bridge, much cleaning, a third bolt attachment for the heel/rim joint, and setup.

Made by: Lyon & Healy (possibly in-house)

Made in: USA

Rim wood: maple? w/spunover nickel-silver

Tonering: integral hoop

Bridge: maple/ebony

Fretboard: rosewood w/rosewood headstock veneer

Neck wood: cherry or similar?

Tone: clean, precise, snappy, good volume, nice "clunk" to the low notes

Suitable for: old-time, classic banjo, minstrel banjo, folk, '20s/'30s "hillbilly"

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” overall (fast, spot-on for gut/nylon)
String gauges: Aquila medium-tension Nylgut

Neck shape: slim-medium C/V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: none

Neck relief: essentially straight (~1/64" relief)

Fret style: small-medium

Scale length: 26 1/8"

Nut width: 1 3/16"

String spacing at nut: 1"

String spacing at bridge: 1 5/8"

Head diameter: 10 1/2"

Depth overall at rim: 2 1/4"

Weight: 3 lb 15 oz

Condition notes: neck appears to have a very old refinish job -- 70 or 80 years ago? But it looks/handles just fine. Head, tailpiece, bridge, and two hook/nuts are replaced. The tuners are now geared pegs rather than celluloid friction tuners. There's a third bolt added to the neck-attachment bolts (necessary, makes these nice andstable). Otherwise it's original and in good order. There's, of course, average usewear throughout. The inexpensive import tuners are not as smooth as something like [$85+] Gotohs but they work just fine with the Nylgut strings.