Save The Banjos

A Homemade website by Tim Smith


"Save The Banjos" is dedicated to finding old, beat-up banjos and returning them to playable condition.I get most of my banjos and parts from eBay, auctions, and estate sales here in York County, Pennsylvania.It is remarkable how many old banjos are discovered in attics, basements, chicken coops, and other obscure places almost every day.Mostly, they are "low end" instruments.The "low-enders" were manufactured and sold in the largest numbers and therefore surface more frequently than the expensive models in any particular manufacturer's line.

I don't produce museum quality collectors' instruments.Very few people could afford them.I take an old banjo, disassemble and clean it, repair any damage, replace the missing parts as necessary (either with period spare parts or new reproductions as available), set it up for maximum playability, and get it back into circulation at a reasonable price.After all, banjos are made to be played, not hung on a wall.


I usually have a number of projects going, some of which are featured here. In the future, I will be adding pictures of banjos from various sources, scans from old catalogs, and anything about banjos and the playing thereof that I see fit.Mostly, you will see 5-string banjos because that is what I have played for many years.


If you donít know the names of the different parts of a banjo, go here: FRETS.COM


Be sure to read my article in the Fall Old Time Herald  (Vol. 10, No. 1), 2005.


Privacy please!


I don't have a store or shop.  Don't ask to come to my home.  UPS and USPS come here; use them. I will meet you at a local business in necessary.


Due to the number of people e-mailing for free information and advice, I can no longer afford the time to answer every one.  Please try to do your own research before writing.  I do NOT do appraisals, so don't ask me how much your banjo is worth.   Thanks for your consideration.

1867 H.C. Dobson Banjo New April 2012

A rare example of an early archtop banjo. SEE IT HERE (warning: LONG!)

   1870s Fretless Banjo  New November 2010

  The first two parts of this article were posted on Banjo Hangout in the Banjo Building Setup and Repair forum on October 18th and 22nd, 2010.  I'll put them here as time permits.


    This is one of the oldest instrument that I've ever worked on.  It is interesting to me to follow the evolution of banjo making from the one-of-a-kind instrument made in the home shop to cottage industry to mass production in the factory.


New Banjo Knowledge Article:  Casting Brackets (new August 2010)









Completed Projects:


Regal 5-String Conversion (NEW August 2010)

Read About It Here

Lange-GoldTone Conversion

Go See


Weymann Style 50 Conversion




Lyon & Healy Banjeaurine 


     See it here


Sears & Roebuck Supertone Model 402



"Its a little rough."


Acme Professional "Regal" 

      Lemme See!!

Cammeyer Zither-Banjo 


Get It Sorted!


Nice No-Name

  Read All About It


Gretsch Blue   overall





Looky Here

Kay Waterbound

overall front

Part 1 Assessment Part 1

Part 2 Work Part 2        

Freemon's Five ca 1880s

freemon's front

Part 1 Repairs Needed Part 1

Part 2 Finished Part 2


Vinnie's Castoff (mandolin banjo)


      Go There    

 Luxor Tenor


Part 1 As Found - Yikes!

Part 2 Repairs


No old, but still fun down here --

   Deering Goodtime Modifications  GO



     Banjo Knowledge

   Part 1: What is an "A Scale" Banjo?? FIND OUT

    Part 2: What are Planetary Tuners & How Do They Work??


Saga OK-2 openback banjo kit review: Go


  ...and I just built another one for fun: Go There

How To Remove A Dowel Stick   NEW

   The long-awaited, frequently requested article! 

Put Down That Hammer!


Dowel Stick Joint Failure   NEW  August 2010


How to mess up a re-set

And How To Fix It

  How to mount a skin head






     Let's Do It!



 Around my house:


Clearly, we are people of refinement and sophistication.

Thatís all for now (April 2012).

If you have a really beat-up old banjo and want work done on it, contact me at