1880s Buckbee 5-String Openback Banjo

I'm a huge fan of New York, Buckbee-made banjos and while this one is unmarked (like most of them), its features mark it out as one. It's probably an early 1880s model judging by the odd rim size (big at 11 5/8") and the curious square nuts inside the rim vs. the more-normal "screw" style fittings on period banjos.

While most Buckbees are gut/nylon strings only, this one came into the shop with a fairly-warped neck and so rather than just solve by pulling the fretboard, planing, and regluing the fretboard, we went all-out and planed the neck level, installed a massive carbon fiber reinforcement rod, and then reglued the fretboard and refretted it. That makes this neck nice and stiff and with less flex than most of the guitar necks around here. It's truly very stable. That's how we've got it strung-up with steel and adjusted for a "modern old-time" setup complete with a compensated bridge and brand-new geared pegs.

All I can say is that it's a delight -- it's got plenty of "pluck and cluck" if you reduce tension or damp the head but it rings beautifully with the head cranked a little tighter and no dampening material fit. It will do lots of different styles easily and I can even get a little "grassy" with it when played with fingerpicks just-so.

Repairs included: a neck level/plane, new reinforcement rod (carbon fiber) installed, board reglue, refret, new head, new tuners, new bridge, new tailpiece, lots of cleaning, and setup work...

Weight: 5 lbs 9 oz

Scale length: 25 3/4"

Nut width: 1 5/16"

Neck shape: medium-big V

Board radius: flat

Head diameter: 11 5/8"

Depth overall at rim: 2 5/8"

Rim wood: not sure

Tonering: integral (hoop)

Bridge: maple/ebony

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: walnut

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (quick, spot-on)
String gauges: 9s

Truss rod: non-adjustable (giant carbon fiber rod, really stiff)

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium

Condition notes: there's funk to it! It has much of its original rim hardware but the tailpiece, head, and bridge are new. Someone replaced the original (thin veneer) fretboard with a thicker ebony one in the '60s, probably, and the fret slots are not perfectly aligned. I didn't catch that when my guy Tim was doing the refret and so our refretted frets are also misaligned. It's not enough to throw most folks' ears off intonation-wise, though. I didn't even notice until I started looking at it... oh well! The headstock veneer and pearl inlay in it is damaged but glorious in its own way. The nut is new. The 5th string "pip" is new. All of the tuners have been swapped-out for geared Gotoh tuners with an aged finish.

It comes with: sorry, no case.

Consignor tag: LOC