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22. Rare old British mandolin banjo (533)   @ 300 euros
Larger photos are available on request.

Old English mandolin banjo

This is an old, English, mandolin banjo by George Houghton and Sons from the early 20th century. It has a nice WIDE fretboard. It is in fair condition, sadly missing the back resonator, but easily played as an open-backed instrument. The head plate says...

  'Melody Major'

This instrument is now restored as far as is reasonable. The 'Clifford Essex' skin is in good condition with 1 slight abrasion. It is sadly missing the original back. It has the original fingerboard in ebony, with relevelled original frets. The tuners, bridge and tail are all originals. It has been restrung with ultra-light GHS bronze wound classical strings, and is now playing well with a strong, full, round sound with good sustain and volume. It has an easy playing action.

Other than cleaning, I have repaired as follows… 1) refinished the neck and head with Tru-oil; 2) levelled the original frets; and 3) restrung and set up.

"George Houghton established his Reliance Works in Heaton Street, Birmingham in 1888 and the range of banjos and zither-banjos he made were branded "Reliance", "Melody JO" and "Melody Major".

 

Mandolin Banjo Specifications (mm.)

Overall Length of Mandolin

610mm

Width of mandolin at widest point

190mm

Approx. Depth of mandolin

75mm at bridge.

Finish

Original finish on the pot, Tru-oil on the neck and head.

Skin

Good quality, 'Clifford Essex' stamped skin... one minor scuff top right.

Back and sides

The back is missing, the sides apparently stained maple. All tensioning hooks are present.

Neck and Head

1-piece, refinished head and neck in good condition.

Fingerboard

Original in ebony with 17 re-levelled 'German silver' frets. MOP position markers at 3, 7 and 12.

Machine heads

Original steel and brass tuners with original buttons. All working.

Tailpiece

Original in steel, with 4 string posts.

Bridge/tensioner

Original bridge refitted.

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 330mm

G string height at bridge

14mm

E string height at bridge

14mm

12th fret to bottom of G string (Action)

2.25mm

12th fret to bottom of E string (Action)

2.25mm

Width of fretboard at nut

33mm

Width of fretboard at widest point

43mm

Sleeve guard

N/A