1908 Fairbanks Special N.O. 4
From the classic A.C. Fairbanks years, here is an all original Special N.O. 4 5-string. At 115 years old it still looks great with no abuse and no dubious improvements that so often happens to nice banjos like this. The neck appears to be cherry and finished to resemble mahogany. The ebonized maple peghead overlay does have superficial cracks that add to the character, but do not degrade the structure. The ebonized maple fretboard has a comfortable 25-7/8" scale and is in very good condition. Only one hairline crack from the nut to the 6th fret. The 10-11/16" diameter rim is fully spun over and has the same heft of a Regent from the same period. All 28 brackets are present, though a few hooks are steel rather than brass and one hook had to be bent slightly to reach around the flesh hoop to grab the tension hoop. The only non-original parts on this instrument are the two hooks and the normal "consumable" parts like head, bridge, and strings. We have it set up with 6B Nylgut strings and a 3 legged bridge. That gives it a warm plunk. The sturdy neck (1-1/4" wide by 1" deep at the 1st fret) would have no problem handling steel strings, though the original screw tension friction tuners would be a bit fussy. A small price to pay to have an exceptionally nice vintage banjo such as this one. Price is $1,800 and a modern TKL hard case is included.