When I was an early teen our next door neighbour, a British Colonel in his last days, gave me his banjo. Apparently he had played classical music on the banjo – a little hard to imagine.  Unfortunately I never heard him play but it was a well used banjo. While I tried playing for a while my true love was guitar so the banjo went into storage. Last month I decided to pull it out and see if my preferences had changed at all. The banjo wasn’t in great shape so I did a little restoration work.

The first problem was the skin had split so I ordered a new goat skin to replace the old one.

A new life skill of soaking and stretching the goat skin, a bit of swearing, some spit and polish,
new strings and bridge and it was ready to go

The banjo was made by  J. E. Dallas in London, England between 1893 and 1914.


The restored banjo along with some of my other instruments. My Simon & Patrick acoustic, a 1928 National Triolian Resophonic guitar – the original National guitar, a mandolin c. 1930, a very old classic guitar that someone put steel strings on and needs restoring soon, a hunting horn and an old autoharp.



    • Thanks, yes it is. I can enjoy listening to a well played banjo. Playing one is another thing. I have a theory that a persons personality matches the instrument he/she chooses to play. I tend to be a laid back, quiet, retiring guy and an acoustic guitar suits me. To me a banjo is like the chihuahua of the stringed instruments – loud and a little frenetic (my apologies to banjo players and chihuahua owners) 😉

  1. Laughing at your reply to the above comment. My experience of acoustic guitar and banjo players (as well as chihuahua and perhaps bulldogs) matches your experience. They all have their place in the scheme of things.

  2. You’re really keeping busy this winter, aren’t you? That’s a great project, and I hope the old banjo sees some play time, too. I see your comment to Gunta above – maybe you have to wear earplugs – what an idea… oh, and now I see the first comment – I would have to agree. 🙂

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