Bacon & Day Silver Bell #2 Tenor Banjo (1924)

Bacon & Day  Silver Bell #2 Tenor Banjo  (1924)
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Item # 12024
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Bacon & Day Silver Bell #2 Model Tenor Banjo (1924), made in Groton CT, serial # 12899, shaded maple finish, laminated maple neck and rim, ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This lovely banjo is an early Bacon & Day Silver Bell #2, carrying some of the typical appointments seen on the first production examples. The dowel and rim bear matching serial number dating to 1924 and an original #2 stamp on the dowel. The low-riding flange has round holes instead of the familiar f-hole shaped cuts and there was never any mute, this example pre-dating those features. The resonator back is spun maple with no nameplate, less elaborate than the first "deep dish" pattern. The Silver Bell tone ring sheath has round portholes facing inward and but not outwards. The tailpiece is the earlier Grover Presto instead of an Oettinger; the earlier style armrest is also fitted.

The multi-laminated neck has a scale length of 22 1/4", slightly shorter than the 23" that became standard for tenors but longer than most earlier '20s models. It has a nicely carved heel and multiple wood underlays beneath the ivoroid-bound ebony fingerboard which carries delicate shaped pearl inlay. The three-ply laminate headstock (both front and back) has a small decorative pearl piece on the back as well as elaborate pearl floral inlay on the face. This is a beautiful, charming and great-sounding professional tenor, with an intermediate scale making it adaptable to standard or Irish style play.
Overall length is 32 1/4 in. (81.9 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 22 1/4 in. (565 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This banjo is just turning 100 years old and has survived a century pretty nicely. The finish appears all original with some general wear but nothing too serious, mostly scrapes and dings to the back of the resonator. There is some general plating wear, most notable nearly all the plating is gone from the armrest.

The parts appear original and correct except for later geared Planet tuners; it is likely non-geared pegs were originally fitted in 1924. One of the threaded pieces along the upper edge of the flange (to hole the resonator mounting bolts) is gone but the other three are intact; that bolt is replaced as well. The original frets have some very light wear and the banjo plays very well, set up with a plastic head newer bridge. It resides in the original HSC which is solid with some wear and a later handle and is ready for another century of playing. Very Good + Condition.