The Bluesbox Collection

Howard Plectrum Banjo by Wurlitzer (c.1920)

This is the first banjo to enter my collection. Howard was a brand name of the Wurlitzer Company (which was - and is - more famous for manufacturing organs) from 1914 until the 1928. This close up of the face shows the cast aluminum flange which has been repaired on numerous occasions. It seems to be sound and stable at this point. The ring is slightly rotated to the left to accomodate it's wider then usual rim break - I assume it is a replacement from the original. I may try to fix this, although it doesn't actually affect the banjo's playability or sound. Here is the back. The painted decoration on the resonator is quite nice. The brand name is inlaid on the head, along with a decorative inlay. The tuning pegs are standard bango style and I assume they are original.

The four-string, or tenor banjo is also called a "plectrum" banjo because it is meant to be played with a flatpick. This instrument is usually associated with Dixieland Jazz these days, but when this banjo was made, they were used in all kinds of music and were much more popular then guitars.


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