Howard Alden's
Leedy Solotone D
Tenor Banjo
Repair to play per customer specs.

Howard is a well know Jazz guitarist Worldwide with many fans, I am one of them.
, that has some roots in tenor banjo!
It is an honor and pleasure to get to work on this axe, my Dad would be Proud

Here is a You Tube of Howard and Tyler Jackson on Tenor  banjo, with Rob Wright, in Arizona

And of course, I have to have one of Howard with a couple of other guys that know their way around a guitar fingerboard

OK, enough "Name dropping" ONWARD!


U.G. Leedy was a fantastic engineer, one of the most overlooked banjos from the era with many innovations
Cammed neck angle adjuster is one, this one seems amiss
Neck is loose, will dive in for a look-see.

All inlay present and accounted for, neck could use a re-finish.
Orig frets, thin, may need replacement with modern comfortable wire

Replate on Kershner tailpiece

Celluloid very good for a Leedy, not pulling up everywhere, thats nice.
Good dome, like this pattern

Tuners working OK, will lube them

No heel cracks

Tone enhancer in resonator, the name eludes me right now.
Help me TJ!

Neck plane is past flat, actually has a little back bow so should pull up nicely.

Binding almost looks "In house"

Too much gap, even with front screw tight

That screw is not loose, it just will not tighten because neck dowel is out of whack.

Cam screw in heel works freely

There is a break in the glue seam showing a clean spot, that shows me its pulled pout this far from original depth

I will heat this and pull the device, clean and re-glue with a modern Urethane glue.

Some heat, and the hide glue releases easily, twist out with screwdriver.

It will be glued in with a urethane, this never needs to come out again.

After measuring and cleaning the glue squeeze slots, I have measured the pin to see the depth in the dowel

Bottomed out it is hiding the line, meaning that it was moved 1/8" when it let loose

You can see the cam screw for the angle adjuster well.

Checking the retention, will tape off to pull

Small thin vintage wire, worn out, will replace with modern wire of Howard's choice

Fingerboard is super brittle, tape saves the day again
Will rebuild all fret slots and re-saw for modern "tanged" wire.


I save all "Important" old frets, it is sort of a macabre way of keeping track of whose DNA is what , in case we need to clone banjoist's in the future!
I do not want the "Wannabe's" mixed in with the "Real Deals" :)
Started in 2001 , this old jewelry chest weighs about 30 lbs now

There are marked ones all thru the years

I was hoping I would retire before last drawer was filled, which is double in size of the rest.
1/2way there already ...It's not lookin good...


Since there is no taking the wood marquetry off without ruining it, I have to use my fret slot cleaner to actually cut the slots deeper for the modern wire
It will be sharpened about every 3 slots to get a smooth cut.
The neck is pressed tight where I an cutting so it does not slip and break thru the marquetry.
Tedious, but will get it done

Fretting over the binding, compressing up the neck

All in and glued with #10 CA, ends trimmed

Leveling went well.

Removing old varnish to go back with Mohawk Classic Instrument Lacquer
Will chem strip the rest

Adding some black back into the engraved lines

Tint coat shot

Stripping the tint from marquetry and heel cap laminates to make it pop.

All clear coats from here


Scoring the pin, to get better glue retention

After curing, I stripped the glue squeeze and finish, those cracks are now tight

2 coats to go.

Since the Leedy Kershner tailpiece  had a string post missing, I will cannibalize one from this already broken Ludwig Waverly.

The Irony, Leedy was bought out by Ludwig in the 20s.., so getting a little revenge :)

The Waverly's are threaded posts ,Heating it so it will loosen.

Removing the base so I can tap the threads in.
Whoever repaired it last soldered in 4 pins and one fell out

All fixed, Replaced all the wrong screws and thumbscrews, ready to go.


All back to tension and settling in
I took a Kay armrest and modified i to fit well, and it is nicer than resting on the sharp tension hoop.
If I get in an actual Leedy armrest I will ship it over to Howard.

All Leedy resonators of this design have terrible retention capability, and the thumbscrews only cinch against the rim, no hole for it to ride into.
It matters not how tight you get them, they will not hold fast and any "rap" on the flange will knock it off easily.
I will remedy this will some small zip ties, which I also use to hold Paramount clasps shut
If you want inside you cut them and add new ones

I will continue to dial it in.
 As I said at the onset, this neck has a back bow in it and that makes it VERY flat under tension .
Its very close already and will continue to nail it down.
Tyler will be up in a week or so and he can play it out at a level that I need.
  If there are any small things we can do to make sure it hits on all 8 cylinders once back in Howard's hands.

Thanks Howard, for the opportunity to work with you
And as always,
Thanks for watching,Vinnie