S. S. Stewart Orchestra #2 5 String Banjo , c. 1893
S. S. Stewart Orchestra #2 Model 5 String Banjo, c. 1893, made in Philadelphia, natural finish, spunover rim; cherrywood neck with ebony fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case. Item # 6674
An excellent player's example of a late 19th Century S.S. Stewart Orchestra model banjo, with a large 12" head specific to this model. The ebony fingerboard and headstock veneer are adorned with fancy mixed moon and stars pearl inlay, and the carved heel has an ebony heelcap. The inside of rim has attractive birdseye maple graining. There is an inlayed celluloid "S.S. Stewart, Orchestra" logo tag on dowel along with impressed "SSS" headstock-shaped logo. This banjo predates the turnbuckle adjustable neck brace and does not have that feature. The Orchestra was one of Stewart's higher grade models, designed to have a deeper more robust tone for ensemble use in the banjo orchestras of the day and also more typical solo playing.
Overall length is 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm.), 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diameter head, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 27 1/2 in. (698 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/4 in. (32 mm.). This is a very clean banjo for its age; there has been some restoration and it is currently set up as an excellent player in the classical or minstrel style with a skin head and NylGut strings. The dowel stich has had a splice to the back end and has been partially refinished; the original markings and serial number are intact although the last digit is hard to read. The neck is in excellent condition with minimal fret or fingerboard wear and remains straighter than many S.S. Stewarts after this length of time. The rim plating is also very well preserved; the hooks and nuts are a nicely matched original set. The dowel stick fastener, tailpiece bolt, hanger and the tailipece itself are newer. The tuners are the correct 19th century style but gold-plated except for the 5th string peg which is newer. This banjo is an very fine soinding instrument in this configuration, with quite a bit of depth to the sound and plenty of volume. Includes a very nice HSC. Excellent - Condition.
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