1929 Weymann No 85 Megaphonic Resonator Tenor Banjo

I've worked on several old Weymann "Megaphonic" resonator tenor banjos and they're all fun, loud, professional-level instruments. They all get a little quirky as they age but once the quirks are ironed-out they're a great instrument to own as they're a little more ergonomic than some banjos from the time and dish-out the volume like crazy.

This one is all-original except for its pegs and head and it's relatively clean as well. It's long-scale and so perfect for chord-melody or trad-jazz backup work (as well as open-tuned flatpicking fun, for that matter) and has a fast, comfortable neck. The resonator flange looks super-cool and the whole instrument has a depth almost an inch thinner than comparably-loud resonator instruments (Bacon, Lange, et al.) of the same period.

In addition, Weymann had a forward-thinking rim design. It uses a molded (it's like a weird wood-fiber composite thing that has a strange bark-like smell if you get close to it) rim with a bunch of "arches" to its base (where it's glued to the resonator back) which let sound bump-out into the resonator's edges. In the base of each arch leg is a hole drilled to let one of the rim's hooks run-up to the head. On the top of the rim is an oversized "Little Wonder"-style hoop-in-sleeve tonering that provides a ton of snap, cut, and bite. It's a pretty-sounding banjo as well as being poppy and loud.

Work was a little bit involved but now that it's done it's playing bang-on and is ready to go.

Repairs included: reglue of the resonator to the back of the rim (these always come unglued -- I used epoxy in this case to make sure it doesn't wander), a fret level/dress, new Remo Renaissance head, replacement geared tuners (Gotoh UPTLs in place of the odd, short, original Weymann ones which were damaged and are stowed in the case), various adjustments, and setup.

Rim wood: synthetic/composite

Tonering: big brass hoop in a nickel-silver-plated sleeve

Bridge: original Grover-style

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 28w, 20w, 12, 8 ultra-light (32w-9 ok, too)

Neck shape: medium soft-V

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: 1/64" of relief (barely there)

Fret style: small/narrow

Scale length: 22 7/8"

Nut width: 1 1/8"

Head diameter: 11”

Resonator diameter: 14"

Depth overall at rim: 2 1/2"

Weight: 7 lbs 5 oz

Condition notes: the finish is fairly clean and it looks great throughout save minor usewear and surface scratching. The tuners and head are replacements but otherwise it's entirely original. To keep the neck aligned to the tailpiece, I had to add a wedge at the bass side where the neck joins the rim. This is necessary on a lot of these as the neck attachment system is slightly crude and meant to be adjustable for angle via a little set-screw up there, but when the set-screw is engaged the neck likes to wander off-true. In addition, the holes for adjusting the hooks in the back of the resonator didn't line-up with the resonator perfectly when I went to reglue it (many old banjo rims get out-of-round over time), so the holes are slightly oblong, now, to allow access with the tension wrench. The ferrules that go into the holes are all missing as well.

The neck, also, has a teensy hair of relief tuned to pitch and had slightly more when I had normal (standard 32w, 20w, 13, 9) strings on it. I reduced the tension slightly to 28w, 20w, 12, 8 (for CGDA pitch) as a safety measure. If you play with a floppier/thinner pick like the "old tenor guys" do, this decrease in tension is a non-issue in feel. If you like running heavier strings, I would avoid this banjo because the neck will not like you for it over time!

It comes with: an original hard case, some loose song material, wrenches, and extras.