Paramount Style A Tenor Banjo (1927)

Paramount  Style A Tenor Banjo  (1927)
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Item # 8782
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Paramount Style A Model Tenor Banjo (1927), made in New York City, serial # 10466, natural varnish finish, laminated maple rim, laminated maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

Paramount's Style A was the plainest-grade instrument in the company's professional standard "letter series" line of the 1920s. Retailing at $130.00, this was still a fancy and expensive instrument by most standards! William Lange's Paramount line were the most popular of all the orchestra banjos of the Jazz Age along with Vega's Vegaphone and basically set the pattern for the "modern" resonator banjo. These banjos were the lynchpin of the rhythm section of every jazz and dance band in the country, as well as a featured soloist's instrument.

This Style A is typical of 1920s Paramounts, with the same basic construction as the highest grade instruments. The neck and rim are of all-maple construction with rosewood-bound edges. The rosewood fingerboard has notched diamond pearl inlay, there is a marquetry strip under the fingerboard, and a particularly fancy and attractive peghead design with elaborate engraved pearl inlay. The tailpiece is the standard Paramount style with a hinged tension-adjusting cover and the armrest is the rounded "hot dog" style. This Style A is a medium-level tenor by 1920s standards but has all the sound of the best Paramounts. This is a fine example of a 90+ year old banjo, ready for the next 100 years.
 
Overall length is 33 1/2 in. (85.1 cm.), 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm.) diameter head, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This is a fine-playing example of a 1920s Paramount with some average play wear and maintenance. The finish is all original with nicks, dings, and scuffs to the resonator back and a decent amount of finish rubbed off the back of the neck. The banjo retains the hardware, except the fragile cast-housing Page tuners have been replaced by modern planetary units. Much of the plating is intact with some loss to the hooks and a worn-through area on the armrest. This is an excellent player with a later refret using somewhat larger wire than the original tiny Paramount frets; these show very minor wear. Set up with a modern semi-transparent plastic head, this is a great-sounding tenor ready to go including a later period hardshell case. Excellent - Condition.