A quirky little early 20th century tenor banjo Made for the Zimmerman company of Berlin.
It has had some historic problems but is now playing quite nicely. There is an old repair to the neck joint which seems solid and a crack in the ply rim (this only goes through the first one or two layers).
It appears that the rim has sunk slightly from about 6 o’clock to 9 o’clock, but this doesn’t make much sense as wood (especially laminated wood) doesn’t really move in that direction. As this is the part of the rim where the right arm passes over, I wonder whether this wasn’t a deliberate feature of the instrument. Similarly the fingerboard sits slightly higher towards the higher strings which could be another peculiar design feature as there does not appear to be any twist in the neck.
Either way I have shaped the bridge to compensate for this and it should present no problems. At around 100 years old it will have done most of the moving that it wanted to.
The frets are rather square and are sitting quite low but are useable. The vellum head is high quality and in good condition. The tuners are all working but their arrangement means they are in reverse order with the highest tuner closest to the body.
All in all it is a funny little thing but quite playable and with a pleasany, fairly mellow tone.
Currently string in Irish GDAE tuning.
20 frets to the body, Scale length 54cm, overall length 80cm, 10.5″ pot