Welcome! This site is dedicated to an extensive collection
of high quality 5 string banjos, the vast majority of which were made between
1875 and 1915 in Boston. Basically, in lieu of a book, I am trying to provide
the kind of information I wish had been available as a “primer” when I began
collecting. Although it will help beginning students and collectors, it has also
been designed for sophisticated banjo lovers. The written information is
extensive and photos are numerous and can be enlarged (details in "Web Site
Pointers") making it possible to scrutinize almost any feature of every banjo.
The site also includes some banjo related collectibles. My major objectives are
listed below under “Goals”. I hope the site will be fun, informative, and
user-friendly. Input is solicited, especially to call my attention to errors.
Groups of Banjos
Web Site Goals Carved
Statues of Banjoists Banjo
Mysteries: The information
and images on this site will hopefully provide the answers to many basic
questions about the banjos produced by the several Boston firms that I call the
Fairbanks "family". Some questions will never be answered and others will be
answerable only in the future. Preparing this site my curiosity was tantalized
as I pondered what I consider a few of the more intriguing enigmas. If viewers
have any theories I will be interested in hearing them. If you have actual
answers I will be fascinated and most appreciative of your sharing them.
Interesting information that relates to these matters (but not answers) will be
found in the appropriate segments on this web site. Viewers are encouraged to
submit other questions that I will attempt to answer or refer you to someone
more knowledgeable. E-mail address is at the top of this page.
A) Fairbanks Electric No. 4 Model: Did such an apparently organized
maker produce models using every number from 0 thru 6 except 4 or have we just
failed to find a signed survivor or to recognize it if unsigned?
B) A true Fairbanks Company catalog: Surely one survives from one of the
several Fairbanks firms doing business from 1890 until early 1904. Where is it
hiding? What will it contain?
C) "VEGA" in an oval and a 2 digit number stamped on the dowel stick:
What can be learned from these curiosities that were almost certainly made close
to the time of the fire and Vega's purchase of the Fairbanks Company and its
patents? Why don't these numbers parallel serial numbers? To what do they
refer? Why do several banjos display the same numbers?
D) True fretless Fairbanks & Cole banjos: With the partnership in
business from 1879 until 1890, why have so few examples been seen?
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