with CONTROL BUTTONS in the lower left-hand corner.

J. E. DALLAS De-Luxe 5-String Open Back Banjo  (c.1900). Absolutely fabulous and un-restored example in stunning all-original condition (except of course for the usual items; the bridge has been replaced, the strings probably have, and the calfskin vellum was replaced in 1923!!!). I’d be lying to call the neck ‘straight’ because it shows an almost imperceptible bend. Just a genuinely tiny amount of wear to the first few frets and no wear at all to the fingerboard. All five original tuning pegs in fabulous condition. Beautiful headstock with glorious abalone patterns inlaid into the top, and a twenty-two fret rosewood fingerboard also inlaid with multiple abalone decorations. Many of these inlays have been attractively enhanced by being etched with thin black lines. Original ‘pip’ for the fifth string. Beautiful carved decoration in the heel and lower neck, and an ebony heel cap. Original bezel. Twenty-two original tension hooks, nuts and shoes. Original tailpiece and mounting assembly. 10.5 inch (outside diameter) pot with internal wooden strengthening hoop and original wooden perch pole and bracket assembly. Perch pole stamped with the following: ‘J. E. DALLAS MAKER 415 STRAND W.C. 3768’. This information suggest a date of manufacture around 1900. Internal wooden hoop also stamped ‘J. E. DALLAS MAKER’. All metal parts still have their beautiful original plating and the outside of the pot has its glorious original decorative engraving pattern all the way around. This banjo comes in a modern hard shaped case which is black on the exterior and has a beautiful green well-padded interior with a large interior pocket and an adjustable pad beneath the tuning pegs. This modern case has five catches to secure the lid. Also supplied is its original end-opening leather carrying case (not shown in the photos) but the opening part has become detached from the rest of the case and needs to be repaired. Nevertheless, the leather is in superb condition for its age. This banjo is truly superb. It is in amazing condition for its age, and it not only looks fabulous but produces a gloriously resonant sound with a fine sustain. The well respected company ‘Eagle Music’ (in Huddersfield)  sold an identical (or possibly the same) model for over £1,800 (click on the link HERE). This banjo is for sale at £1,750.

RECORDING KING 5-STRING BANJO (c.2014). Stunning gold-plated five string banjo in fantastic condition. Model RK-R82 with serial number 0000027 marked on internal label. The number 27 is also chalked onto the inside of the resonator. This gorgeous model is no longer available having been discontinued since about 2015. This resonator banjo combines classic pre-war style features with desirable modern touches to create the ultimate bluegrass banjo and features a mahogany resonator and mahogany neck with a bound ebony fretboard. American Standard thread hardware. 20-hole tone ring and a 3-ply rim. Designed by Greg Rich, this model recalls the most supremely crafted banjos from the Golden Age of musical instruments. Genuine gold-plated hardware with traditional floral inlays, with an authentic Mastertone-style flange. Gold-plated geared tuning pegs. With its exceptional tone and handcrafted perfection, this banjo will appeal to players as well as collectors. Fantastic sounding and brilliant value. £950.


One-Piece Mahogany Resonator w/ Concentric Rings.

One-Piece Mahogany Neck.

Mastertone-Style Banjo Flange.

Mastertone-Style Tone Ring.

3-Ply Maple Rim.

Bound Ebony Fretboard.

Dual Coordinator Rods.

"Style 6" Mother of pearl Floral Peghead & Fretboard Inlay.

Presto-Style Tailpiece.

Genuine Gold-Plated Hardware.

Frosted Head.

Notched Hoop.

Natural Finish.

Nut Width: 1-3/16".

Head Size: 11", medium crown (7/16" height).

Frets: 22.

Total Length: 38".

Weight: 11.15 lbs.

Recording King Hardshell Case with dark green plush velvet interior and a large interior pocket with lid. Gold-plated catches and fittings.

W. E. TEMLETT ‘APOLLO 5’ 5-String Zither Banjo (c.1900). Highly decorated in mother-of-pearl, this is a banjo from a renowned and famous maker. For all enquiries about this banjo please telephone 07847 519624. Full details from the owner.

WINDSOR ‘MONARCH’ SUPREMUS’ 5-String Banjo (1927). High-end Windsor banjo costing £22.10s (£22.50p) when new and second only to the ‘De-Luxe Monarch Supremus’ banjo. With Windsor’s ‘Patent Hollow Rim’, and geared tuning pegs. For all enquiries about this banjo please telephone 07847 519624. Full details from the owner.


GIBSON RB-4 5-String Banjo (1925). This Banjo is part of my private collection and is NOT FOR SALE, but I thought that some people would find its history interesting to read. This is a beautiful, incredibly rare and very early example of a pre-war Gibson ‘Mastertone’ RB-4 5-string banjo in gorgeous original condition. Very few pre-war Gibson RB-4’s were made but they remain a huge favourite amongst banjo players, and this one comes from their first year of manufacture in 1925. This banjo is in genuinely stunning original condition including its original Gibson 5-string neck with the ‘hearts and flowers’ inlay. Made of British Honduras mahogany with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Eleven inch rim. Straight neck with virtually no wear to frets or to fingerboard. Serial number 8134-2 (See information by Joe Spann below).

Original tailpiece (shown in Gibson’s original catalogue photographs and used until mid-1926), original ‘hot dog’ armrest and original Grover tuning pegs (four geared ones on the peghead plus the matching fifth string peg on the neck). Original hooks and nuts, and it comes with a selection of old picks (some tortoiseshell), old bridges and strings, plus the original ‘Gibson’ tension key and mute. Banjo players who have seen it and played it have all been amazed by its condition, its playability and the superb quality of the sound that it produces. It comes with a more recent hard shaped ‘Gibson’ banjo case.

I bought this banjo from a man whose uncle had owned it ever since purchasing it from a music shop in Croydon (near London) on the 7th of January 1948. The uncle played the 5-string banjo (often referred to in England as a ‘G’ banjo and elsewhere as a ‘Regular’ banjo) and he told his family that he had always wanted to own and play a ‘Gibson’ banjo, so when he saw this Gibson banjo in the window of the music shop in Croydon he decided to buy it whatever the cost. This he did, by paying a £5 deposit and paying off the remaining £19 pounds 19 shillings (£19.95p) by instalments. I have the original receipt from the music shop for this sale and all the details are clearly written on it in ink, including the words ‘Gibson Mastertone G Banjo’. The receipt is dated and it has the signature of the shop owner on it.

During the purchase, the uncle asked the shop owner where the banjo  had come from? He was told that in either late 1943 or early 1944 an American Serviceman had walked into his shop and asked if he would do him a great favour. Knowing that he would not be able to take his banjo with him when he was sent off to do battle in Europe, he asked the shop owner if he would be prepared to keep his banjo safely for him until at least two years after the war ended, and if he survived the conflict he would definitely return to collect his banjo and give the shop owner something for all his help. If he didn’t return by the end of this period he told the shop owner to sell his banjo and keep the money. The shop owner was happy to agreed to do this and the American Serviceman left this banjo with him.

The war ended in 1945, and the owner of the music shop kept his word over this banjo, but by the new year in 1948 the American Serviceman had still not returned to collect it. So, in January 1948, the shop owner reluctantly decided to put this Gibson banjo up for sale, and it was sold to the uncle on the 7th of January.

The uncle loved his Gibson banjo and kept it for the remainder of his life, playing it for at least a few minutes almost every day. In July 1949 he purchased some picks from Emile Grimshaw’s shop in London and the original advert and original receipt for that sale still survive with this instrument - as do the picks themselves. Upon the death of the uncle in 1983, ownership of the banjo passed to the uncle’s nephew - who couldn’t play a note, and the old Gibson got forgotten about until the nephew and his family were preparing to move house, when they found it again as they were clearing out the loft. This banjo was subsequently sold to me.

Although in many respects this is a sad story, I’m sure that the American Serviceman who owned this banjo before world war two would be very happy to know that his old Gibson banjo had survived right the way through to the present day in such wonderful original condition.

Please Note: Given the rarity of this banjo it is very easy to understand why some people will find it very hard to believe that this banjo is what it is, but I can assure everyone that this instrument is definitely a genuine ORIGINAL PRE-WAR GIBSON RB-4 (5-string) Banjo and NOT a converted Gibson tenor banjo or a converted Gibson plectrum banjo.

So, if any of you are ever in my area please contact me and I would be delighted to meet you and show you this banjo so that you can see it - and play it - for yourself. You’d be more than welcome to do so.




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Over 45 years of Experience and Expertise with Ukuleles and Banjo Ukes

Web site founded in 2001

John Croft, Glan Tanat, Llanyblodwel, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8NQ, England.

Tel: (+44) 01691 828850