Lyon & Healy Washburn Style A Tenor Banjo , c. 1925

Lyon & Healy  Washburn Style A Tenor Banjo ,  c. 1925
This item has been sold.
Item # 9944
Prices subject to change without notice.
Lyon & Healy Washburn Style A Model Tenor Banjo, c. 1925, made in Chicago, shaded maple finish, laminated maple neck and rim, ebony fingerboard, period black hard shell case.

This is a very classy early/mid-'20s short-neck tenor banjo from Lyon & Healy, labeled with their top-of-the-line Washburn name. The features are fairly high grade, including a beautiful tiger-striped laminated maple neck, grained ivoroid-bound ebony fingerboard with fancy shaped pearl inlay and headstock inlaid with a pearl floral pattern. Tone ring is the elaborate "cupped" Washburn style, while the hooks are neatly fitted into holes in the hoop instead of the top edge. In 1924 this model listed at $100, actually a relative bargain at the time for an instrument at this level.

The original tuners are early Ludwig Planets with grained ivoroid buttons. The tailpiece is an original Kershner Unique marked "Lyon & Healy Makers". The entire instrument is beautifully made with a rather Vega-like design feel, a high quality piece in every way. This lovely and medium-fancy banjo is something of a rarity, Lyon & Healy seemingly not producing banjos in anything like the numbers of competitors like Paramount and Vega. While not a full "modern" (i.e. post-1923 style 23" scale) instrument it remains a fine-playing and sounding banjo especially suited to the Irish style (due to the short 21" scale) and early ragtime or jug band stylings.
Overall length is 31 1/8 in. (79 cm.), 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm.) diameter head, and 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 21 in. (533 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This banjo shows a decent amount of wear overall but remains largely original and a very nice player. The original very thin varnish shaded finish shows a decent amount of wear overall, worn completely through on much of the back of the neck and noticeably dinged up on the resonator edges. The serial number was unfortunately scratched off the dowel stick long ago, there is also some scarring to the stick from a resonator fitted and removed in the distant past.

The hardware is mostly original including that lovely set of Planets (one of which has had the top of the shaft inexplicably ground down a bit) and the original tailpiece. Four of the unusual hook/nut sets are close-but-no-cigar period replacements, the rest are original. The armrest is long gone, the holding brackets are still on the rim. The original frets have some wear but the banjo still plays well, sounding great set up with an older plastic head. It includes a period, possibly original HSC. Overall Very Good + Condition.