Retrofret Stock # 6898. Leedy SoloTone Special Model Tenor Banjo, c. 1927, made in Indianapolis, natural lacquer and celluloid finish, brass and walnut rim and flange; laminated white holly neck with celluloid fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case. This is a very fancy and impressive looking banjo, and appears to have been a custom-ordered piece. As with many high-end 1920's instruments, it is gold plated, engraved and swathed in etched pearloid. The headstock and fingerboard are covered with yellow pearloid with copious and very delicate engraving of floral patterns filled with multi-colored paint; the gold plated brass hoop and rim deeply engraved and the heel is carved and painted. 1920's Leedy banjos are far from common today-this appears to be a custom example with most of the features of the SoloTone D model, but with the banner for the model name left blank on the headstock. The tuners are gold-plated Weymann pegs with pearl buttons, rare even on that company's own instruments. One most unusual feature is the resonator back is concave, not convex as virtually all others are; this is so odd we had to examine it closely to ensure it had not somehow managed to "pop" itself inside out. No chance of that, as it's built of quite heavy plywood! The back of the resonator is custom engraved with what appear to be an original owners initials in the center-it looks like "MG" but it's very abstract! This is a very high-end banjo-Leedys are better remembered for their visual appeal than sound quality but this is a good playing and sounding tenor and a real showpiece in high Deco style.Overall length is 34 1/4 in. (87 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/8 in. (29 mm.). This banjo is in well-preserved condition overall, with some average wear and tarnish but no major repair. The original hardware and finish are in good condition overall, and the banjo is set up with a very nice skin head (which is a sonic necessity on these metal-rim banjos!). The armrest is the correct piece but not original to the banjo, and has gold sparkle pearloid on the top, which actually looks fine on this gold-plated banjo. The engraved tailpiece cover is intact with some plating loss, but two of the original three resonator retaining bolts are missing. Oddly enough tension from the single remaining one is sufficient to keep the resonator in place! The wood fingerboard binding has shrunken up a bit, and a small piece is worn away up the neck on the treble side by the rim. The gold plating is generally good with some small spots worn away and tarnished, especially on the resonator/flange rim. Overall a good example of an extremely rare instrument, which is quite possibly one-of-a-kind. Includes a modern HSC. Excellent - Condition.
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