1880s Buckbee "Beau Brummel" 5-String Banjo

This "Beau Brummel" was made by Buckbee in New York sometime in the 1880s. It even has the "John H Buckbee" (JHB) stamp at the side of the heel. So few of them have this and it's nice to see suspicions confirmed.

Work on this was mildly-intense for an old banjo. A thrice-broken heel had to be reglued along with the dowel, it got a new head, new bridge, new Gotoh geared pegs all around, and fret level/dress work. It has a later Elite tailpiece and endpin installed but they definitely get the job done. Most of the other hardware is original, though, and it has cool "square" nuts for attaching the hooks inside the rim.

I'm very happy with the resulting instrument. It's strung with Aquila Nylgut (replacements for the gut that would have been on it when made), plays quick and easy, and has a loud, punchy voice that would have been ideal for the dancehalls this might have played-in back in the day.

The necks on these are just about ideal for folk-style banjo playing as the wider nut and comfy, mid-depth, V-shaped neck profile work really well for the older styles.