John Farris, Diamond, Banjo, Five-string, c.1890-1900, Hartford, CT
This pert banjo has a focused if not forceful voice. The 9″ rim is metal clad with decorative engraving on the tension hoop and rim, and 20 brackets. The tension hoop is also engraved John Farris/Hartford CT USA. 20 frets, 25″ scale The one-piece walnut neck has a 5th string bump, an ebonized or ebony fingerboard with 20 frets and a 25? scale, and old Champion pegs. There is a nice little repair to the tip of the heel and someone has removed most of the black paint from the interior of the rim-exposing the birdseye maple.
We found these interesting notes about Farris in a few different places on the internet, but don?t know who originated them: John Farris built his business in Hartford, CT, during the latter half of the 19th Century. Referring to his banjos in writing as “banjays,” he patented a new instrument in April 1885 as #US315135. He cited his new instrument as “a stringed instrument having some points of similarity to the banjo, and some other points of similarity to the mandolin, and some other points entirely new and widely differing as a whole from every prior instrument known to me.” it would appear he was the first to use the term “Banjolin” for a banjo-mandolin. In his 5 stringed instruments he utilised a slotted peg head and guitar style open geared 5th string tuner.
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