Frank Neat Little Roy 50th Anniversary 5 String Banjo (2005)

Frank Neat  Little Roy 50th Anniversary 5 String Banjo  (2005)
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$3,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 10867
Prices subject to change without notice.
Frank Neat Little Roy 50th Anniversary Model 5 String Banjo (2005), made in Russell Spring KY, serial # 4-2005-4, shaded maple finish, laminated maple rim, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

Frank Neat is one of the best regarded of modern Bluegrass banjo builders, and this is a fine example of his work. As would be expected it is a very fine Mastertone style instrument, this model is marked as a special edition designed to celebrate Little Roy Lewis' 50 years as an entertainer in the music business. Little Roy has won awards as Entertainer as well as for his banjo playing and been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, SPGBMA Hall of Greats, IBMA Hall of Honor, and the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

The Frank Neat Little Roy Lewis Model has a mahogany neck and double bound resonator. The 3-ply maple rim is equipped with a 20-hole flathead tone ring. The rosewood fingerboard features flying eagle inlays, as well as "50th Anniv" at the 7th fret and "LITTLE ROY" engraved on a block at the 21st fret. Frank neat's shop was kind enough to supply some information on the banjo; the serial number 4-2005-4 indicates the rim was fabricated in April 2005, the 4th made. The "Little Roy" run was intended to be 50, but apparently only 32 have been built to date. They were typically were built stock with Jimmy Cox Rims and Resonators, but varied depending on what the shop was using at the time. The Keith brand banjo tuners currently fitted would have been added after the banjo was sold, they came stock with "5 star" tuners.

Inside the resonator is silver pen markings including the serial number, "LITTLE ROY" and what appears to be Earl Scruggs' autograph in the same (or similar) ink. We make no claim that this is an authentic signature, but it does look like the way Earl used to sign 'em. Unfortunately the original owner of this banjo passed away, so we can't verify any story on this. We'll also note that little Roy's 50th anniversary was some years after 2005, so it is possible this is an earlier Frank Neat rim fitted with a somewhat later Neat neck. It's all a bit of a mystery, but whatever its story this is a very fine playing and sounding Mastertone banjo with a solid vintage vibe
 
Overall length is 37 3/4 in. (95.9 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 26 1/4 in. (667 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This banjo has definitely been played but not abused; there is some light wear overall mostly scratching into the finish on the resonator back, a few dings to the back of the neck and one deeper scrape there behind the 7-9th fret area. The nickel plating has some typical clouding and some rubbed away on the armrest; this banjo has been to more than one summer Bluegrass festival! The frets are clean, the fingerboard has a little wear. It appears original except for the added pitch-changing Keith tuners and railroad spikes added at the 7th and 9th frets. It is set up with a standard Remo head and Snuffy Smith bridge, plays great and sounds exactly as it should. The banjo resides in a TKL hard shell case with a nice tooled leather strap, courtesy of the original owner. Excellent Condition.