FOR SALE 

TRUJO #1 
 
8738-3 FON#
Circa 1927



Interesting example, possibly the first Trujo ever produced.
Now to work on proving that point.
All help welcome, here is what I know from the many I have already worked upon
I'll get to that banjo in a minute...
First some history on the Company



Harry George and Velma Truett were the power behind a West Coast movement to tune the 4-string plectrum banjo like the top four strings of a guitar. Based in San Francisco, Velma was the beauty and most of the musical talent, while Harry George was both the mechanical and business brains. The name "Trujo" is the combination of their last names, Truett & George.
Harry George, a machinist who also played guitar and steel guitar, first experimented with modifying Gibson banjos, but by 1927 Trujo banjos were entirely made by Gibson. The very deep shell and heavy cast metal internal "megaphone" were designed to give Trujos a deep, resonant tone more suited to the low tuning Velma promoted.
1927 was also the year Harry and Velma had their first, and biggest, hits as recording artists. "Ghost Dance", featuring banjo and steel guitar, was released on Columbia. You can hear it on YouTube, and most listeners agree that it lives up to its name. They had another hit in '27 with "Wabash Blues," and thanks to these recordings and lots of advertising Harry and Velma's banjo instruction business was booming.
But the rise of the tenor guitar essentially put an end to trying to make the banjo sound like something it wasn't, and by 1929 Harry George split for Oregon (the duo had never married). Velma sold Trujo to two employees of their Oakland teaching studio and went back to the family ranch in Nevada. By late 1934/'35, Trujo was essentially out of business, and would soon be just another footnote in the history of the jazz-age banjo.
 

RUSS PRESTINGS WEBPAGE ON TRUETT-TRUJO
http://www.banjoexpress.com/trujo.html
 



Starting with the Truett
Circa late 1920s

I had this plectrum some time ago, and I see others like it from time to time
Never in tenor
Pics are old and grainy, sorry.


The Truett was a Double cut peghead, with metallic inlays on the peghead and Gibson style inlay on fboard


The rim on the Truett is 22 bracket like Gibson TB1, full thickness rim, 11" head, single rod, 2 piece armrest
Trujo is not a shoe bracket rim, it has only a tube on a rim bead.
Also the Truett was 93xx FON#, thats more like 1929, 2 years later.


Grover tuners, Maple construction



Trujo #1  


I have been around this banjo since 1999, several people I knew owned it and it always intrigued me. 


It did not have an original resonator
The Leedy Olympian resonator does fit the rim OK, and the  Woody Celluloid really matches the neck well.
It came to me with the resonator below, but the colors were not right for this banjo so I traded it to another banjo.



The first thing that stands out is the crude carving, no colored paints, and a split laminate neck
 


Schaller's on it now, original imprint is Grover 2:1 pancakes, I'm looking for a set
 


Single rod, hand fabricated L bracket, made from Gibson bracket
Thin skirt rim



Disassembly
 


 


Gibson is known for stamping a batch # here in the heel
So this is batch #1 of this run.
 


The rim always has a Gibson FON# (Factory Order Number)  stamped, and this one is Batch #3
If you would like go to Greg Earnest's great website to see the list of #s
http://www.banjophiles.org/SerNumData/8XXX.htm

The only other FON#s around this range, are TB3s
 Circa 1927


And the 3 stamped on top of the rim
 

Tone ring is lighter than the 2.5 # later model Trujo, coming in a full pound lighter.
And here is one reason, unknown to me until now....


This is the only instance of a Trujo tone ring coming in at less than the standard 11"
This is 10-7/8 that's totally unheard of.
An 11" head wobbles around on it


Standard design but scaled down


Second instance of Batch #1 stamp on tone ring
 
 


 



REFRET


I will go in with 147 wire


Leveling
 


2 fresh coats of clear
Next to a 30s model Trujo A
The A has larger lags, the One has the 1920s small lags
 
 
 


Oiled up and ready to install



ASSEMBLY
 
 
 


Waiting on my Grover pancakes



ASSEMBLY
 


 


 


 


 


Yeah, one more look... its 10-7/8
 



NECK INSTALL TRICK
I didn't show pulling it off, this is the reverse of it
 


Hook your  washer and then the nut on a dentist pick with a bend at the end
 


Feed them on  and hold the nut here, grab a sharp pick
 


You roll the nut with the pick, onto the lag and get it snug as you can
 


offset 1/4 wrench to snug it back up


 


Differences in carving from the "A"
 


Differences in inlay from the "A"
 


 



SETUP
 

REMO HEAD - GHS STRINGS
COURTESY OF WWW.BEDFORDBANJOSHOP.COM
FARQUHAR BRIDGE, FOR NOW
Plays well up and down with a nice bright tone
A little different than the 11" rim design
Original Grover "Presto" tailpiece and "Pancake" tuners
 


 


 


 


 


 
 


 


6-14
Setup on Vintage 10-7/8 Rogers Calfskin


a little stained but very good condition playwise
Tone is now warm and full


Original "GIBSON" branded bridge

 




INQUIRE


OTHER EXAMPLES OF TRUJO'S
Here are a few that I have worked upon.
 

TRUJO A  Tenor
(Tyler Jackson's)



TRUJO A Tenor

(Barry Grant's)
 




TRUJO A Plectrum
(B Bostick's)




 

TRUJO B Plectrum
 






TRUJO B Tenor


 


TRUJO SPECIAL  Plectrum
 




 
 
 
 



Style C
TRUJO DELUXE Plectrum
 





 



TRUJO DELUXE Tenor