Lange Langstile DeLuxe Tenor Banjo , c. 1927

Lange  Langstile DeLuxe Tenor Banjo ,  c. 1927
$850.00 + shipping
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Item # 9456
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Lange Langstile DeLuxe Model Tenor Banjo, c. 1927, made in New York City, natural varnish finish, laminated walnut rim, resnator and neck neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

William Lange really loved designing banjos. His company was constantly marketing new banjos with novel design features during the 1920s. The 1910s Orpheum brand was joined by the Paramount line in 1921, the first "modern" tenor and plectrum banjos that set the standard for all makers. By 1924 these had been joined by a new Super Orpheum line and on the low end of the price range the Langstile brand. A 1924 advertisement laid out the brands in order of target market, from beginners to semi-professionals, true professionals and "artists".

Later in the 1920's the marketing became lass clear-cut. This Langstile Deluxe is a professional-grade banjo with modern features but marked with the student brand name. Earlier Langstile models had 17-fret necks, friction tuners, and open backs but the Deluxe has a 19-fret neck, geared tuners, and a standard resonator-and-flange setup. It features a top-tension system, a first for Lange a banjo although based fairly closely on Ludwig's existing design. It almost seems Lange couldn't stop experimenting with banjo designs, and chose to market this useful and novel (to him) idea on a sub-Paramount line to not undercut his own high-end products.

This Langstile also has a very interesting rim design, with chromed tubes running through it supporting a massive heavy perforated tone ring. Similar tubes had already been employed on Triple X banjos Lange made for other clients, but the Langstile Deluxe has a different arrangement. The flange is quite heavy as well. The resonator and rim have elaborate marquetry work on the sides and he multi-laminate neck is similar to Paramount practice, with some nice pearl work on the bound rosewood fingerboard typical of Lange. The hardware on this banjo (including the small-can Page tuners and "hotdog" armrest) is plated in chrome rather than nickel, an expensive novelty at the time.

This is a slightly eccentric but high quality tenor, an interesting footnote to the Lange story. This Langstile model seems fairly rare compered to most Paramounts, and may not have been on the market very long, arriving after the Tenor market had peaked. This is a nice playing and sounding banjo, a bit mellower sounding than some period tenors but with a nice authentic ring.
Overall length is 33 in. (83.8 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 3 in. (7.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/8 in. (29 mm.).

This banjo shows general wear but plays well. The all-originals finish has dings, dents and scrapes overall, most notably on the resonator back. The hardware remains original except for the tailpiece (a recent vintage styled piece) and one of the retaining bolts for the armrest. The head is an old (period at least) Rogers genuine calf, fairly heavy if somewhat overstretched but still fully playable and excellent sounding, offering a lovely deeper and mellower tome than any modern equivalent.

The small eccentric bridge also appears original, or at least period. The neck is nice and straight, the frets show some wear but playability is still fine. A plastic shim has been added at the treble end of the fingerboard, and the nut is more recent. The original HSC is fairly well preserved and this is a very nice if slightly eccentric 95 or so year old professional grade tenor at a relatively budget-friendly price. Overall Excellent - Condition.