Part 1 Condition
This banjo was purchased on eBay. It is very dirty, but a closer examination shows it to be in reasonably good shape. I call it "Freemon's Five" because of the name written on the head just above the big tear:
I have not been about to find out anything about Reed Freemon. If anyone knows, I would like to hear from you.
The head, obviously, will need to be replaced, but much of the original hardware is present, including 19 of 20 brackets and hooks, tailpiece, one tuner, and the nut.
Note that the tailpiece is bolted directly to the dowel stick using the tailpiece attachment bolt. Normally, there is an endbolt with a woodscrew end which screws into the dowel stick. A normal endbolt has a hole to attach a vertical post which holds the tailpiece.
The neck is nice and straight. There are some minor divots in the fingerboard and the first five frets are worn.
A couple of interesting things to point out:
A former owner had shimmed the neck with a piece of rubber (possibly from an old tire). The shim, about 1/8" thick, is now very hard and brittle. It may have been an attempt to correct the action or possibly to stop a buzz caused by intermittent contact between the neck and tension hoop.
There was also a rubber (probably from an old tire) shim inserted between the end of the dowel stick and the rim. I don't know why. It may have been intended to alter the tone characteristics somehow. More likely, it was to hold the rim in place a little better since the dowel stick endbold was missing and replaced with the tailpiece attachment bolt. That bolt has a machine screw type end and would not pull into the dowel stick very well.
This will be a relatively easy rehabilitation. Mostly, it needs cleaning and replacing the few missing parts.
Go To Part 2