Fairbanks & Cole Un-designated “Commercial Grade” Model “Pony” Size 5 String
S/N: 2754 1883 8 ˝ x 19 1/4 “ 2 3/8 lb
Condition: Near mint.
Background: I cannot identify this from the catalogs. With its remarkable similarity to S/N- 1415, it is obviously a “little brother” to that banjo and perhaps a transitional design. It differs in being made perhaps 2 years later, having raised metal frets, and the position markers on the board are centered from side to side.
During the 1880s, with the advent of classic style playing, banjo quartets and orchestras became very popular using various size 5-string instruments for different parts. The next-to-the-smallest size instruments had rim diameters of approximately 8-9 “ with necks to scale and were called “pony size” by some makers.
About this instrument:
1) It has only 2 dots for position markers but in common with S/N- 1415, they are in frets 6 and 13.
2) This is the only “Pony size” Fairbanks & Cole banjo of which I am aware.
3) Ivory tailpiece.
4) Wooden twist tuners with pearl dots.
5) Simple wooden rim.
Click to enlarge: