Fairbanks & Cole Expert 5 String
S/N: 9043 1889 11 1/8 x 26 ½ “ 4 5/8 lb.
Background: The Expert is one of the very few models that was pictured and described in both Fairbanks & Cole catalogs and also continued to be offered by Fairbanks after the partnership terminated. An entry in the 1886 catalog implies that the model was being introduced in that catalog. This collection includes an example of an Expert made after the partnership ( Fairbanks S/N-77).
Features of the model: The 1886 and 1889 catalogs carried the same basic information. Pots were 5-ply maple with a full spun covering of German silver. The 3 basic grades cost $ 28, 38, and 48 with necks made of walnut, mahogany, and rosewood respectively. Catalog options included fancy inlays and silver-plating for $ 75 or gold plating for $ 90. With many options from which to choose and a long life span, Experts may vary considerably.
About this instrument:
1) Ex-Bollman Collection and as such appears in his section of the first Tsumura book ( page 108, last banjo on the bottom row).
2) Nuts are square and composed of 2 parts with the ball-end and shaft portion screwing into the hub and making a nearly undetectable junction. This seems to be an obvious transition between the crude 2 part nuts seen on some 1870s Fairbanks banjos and the one piece ball-end nuts so typical on upper grade Fairbanks instruments.
3) Inlays are saw-cut with no engraving and beautifully illustrate saw-cut decoration at its zenith.
4) Carved ivory tuners with beaded edges.
5) Ivory tailpiece with floral design and beaded edges.
6) Boat shaped heel.
7) Tension hoop has a lowered outer surface that hides the flesh hoop.
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