Retrofret Stock # 6297. Ludwig Stratford Model Plectrum Banjo (1925), made in Chicago, serial # 4168, natural varnish finish, laminated walnut neck with ebony fingerboard, brass rim, original black hard shell case. This is beautiful example of Ludwig's mid-1920's craftsmanship, made at the height of the jazz banjo era. The Stratford Plectrum Banjo (and its tenor sister the Bellevue) occupied the middle of the Chicago company's banjo line, but is an extremely ornate banjo considering its original $150.00 price. The engraved hardware is gold plated over a gunmetal rim, an unusual tonal scheme specific to this banjo. As with all higher-quality Ludwigs, the neck and resonator are figured walnut which Mr. Chas. McNeil (Ludwig's resident banjo designer/consultant) considered the "only" suitable wood. The neck is bound and features numerous maple and ebony laminates both horizontally and vertically, with very fancy shaped pearl inlay in the ebony fingerboard and an ebony veneered headstock with engraved inlay and script logo. The tuners are gold-plated Planet pegs, Ludwig's own invention. The resonator has a bound bottom edge with a marquetry strip at the bottom rim and decorative rings inlayed in the back. The hoop and rim are neatly engraved with floral designs, through the plating into brass. The instrument is fitted with the Ludwig banjo action adjustor, two screws at the base of the neck which still works perfectly. These early bottom-tension metal rim Ludwigs feature all brass rim parts (not pot metal) are very high-quality banjos, much rarer and better sounding than the later (post 1927) top-tension versions. In terms of dollar value at the time, Ludwig offered a lot of flash and sound for the money´┐Żand that is still true now! Plectrum Ludwigs are far from common, and this is a lovely and fairly rare example.Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm.) diameter head, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 27 in. (686 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.). Extremely fine original condition; the only alteration is the original gunmetal-finish Ludwig tailpiece has been replaced with a slightly older Ludwig-branded Kersher unit in nickel (The original is included but has some metal fatigue at the bend). The armrest is no longer present. There are a couple of very minor old cracks in headstock face veneer, and a few in the ebony fingerboard. Overall there is some typical finish checking and light plating loss. The original Ludwig "Selected" skin head shows some dirt and scuffing to the top surface but is still intact and remains in very fine playing order, especially for being around 90 years old! The banjo itself plays well and has a fine sound, warmer than expected particularly for a metal-rim instrument (Ludwig banjos are not at their best when fitted with a modern plastic head, so the skin head offers a distinct tonal advantage here). The original Ludwig-badged, gold-lined plush-lined case also in good shape. Excellent Condition.

Year Condition Color Case
1925 Excellent natural varnish Original Hard


Retrofret Vintage Guitars
Brooklyn New York, NY
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Retrofret has been shipping instruments throughout the USA and worldwide for nearly 20 years. We have yet to experience a single instance of damage (...I hope this doesn't jinx our perfect record). Retrofret's shipping department can send parcels via UPS, Fedex, USPS, BAX, DHL and DSV Air and Yusen Air Cargo. We ship instruments and other items on a 48 hour approval basis once we received payment in full. Shipping charges and taxes are not included in the prices listed. Mail order shipments within New York are subject to sales tax of 8.875%. Shipments out of state are not subject to NY city and state tax, although the buyer assumes all other tax requirements of their municipality. Before sending payment, please call to confirm the instrument's availability and the cost of shipment.

If you decide not to keep an instrument shipped to you, notify us by telephone, fax or email within 48 hours of receiving it. We'll take note to expect the return. Please ship it in the same carton via UPS, insured for its full value. We will refund the price of the instrument as soon as we receive it, provided it arrives in the condition in which it left the shop. The customer is responsible for all shipping charges.