1920s Gretsch
Melody Banjo
Serial # IV  (4)
10" calfskin head
13-3/4" scale
Tuned GDAE, or GCEA

This is the first example of a melody banjo made by Gretsch.
I have had many Gretsch'es of this era, and recognize the peghead shape, hardware, trim , etc.
Some (or all) of the work could have been subbed out to Lange since it has a look of Lange as well.
Many of the makers of the day worked together and still do today.

Has a bad inlay at the end that I do not plan to re-create.
I will fill that in.

The head is tight, not a high quality head but has a good tone, I can tell.

Grover Champion Tuners all VG

Heel has been repaired, but poorly.
 I will re-break and redo the repair.
No big deal
This being #4 it is obviously a work in progress.
There are parameters that are not correct, and I will modify them to make the instrument much more playable
1. heel cut is wrong at head junction, extended fingerboard is too tight to tension hoop.You can see head is buried in the junction, and its not even at full pull.

Divot at #1, I'm not going to fill it, it will not affect playing.

Needs wedges and new finish, hardware cleaned.

The glue they used on repair was thin and gone, easy re-break

New frets to the extension, modern medium banjo wire.

When you are this low in serial numbers, you are still figuring out the design.
I am used to this, and like the fact they hacked them out into some pretty good instruments for the $.

Adding clear coats
Inlay area filled at 15
Fresh rim finish, hardware cleaned

Showing the clearance problem

I will go up in the neck notch and shim under the dowel

Still taking on clear

Broke a 9/64 bit making a new hole, it must have been weakened somehow, this is an easy drill.
Not now though!

That took a while, now to fill and re-drill

It has to be low, just by design it needs to be there

Good angle and height now, will complete neck finish and assemble


Using my "Tone enhancer" on it to get different voices
I have it playing well, easy, I think its going to be a gigging instrument for someone
Has a sweet tone up on the extension, nice and bright by the bridge.
It is "Luck of the draw" with these non mainstream instruments.
I had good luck , not having to spend too much time to just get a good player, not re-invent the wheel.

Glasses, to show its size.
Tuned GDAE
34-24W, 16-11S  , GHS

Shim at the heel on top against tension hoop for extra tightness there

Showing where the heel crack was.

OHSC in VG shape, all latches working
The tone enhancer stays here!