RARE MELODY BANJO
Excerpt from Lee Vinson's Excellent No Nic Webpage
Around 1919 Nokes & Nicolai acquired the banjo business of Boston's F. E. Cole Company and in 1920 began operating from a new address at 5 Appleton Street.2 It can therefore be assumed that Nokes & Nicolai instruments marked with the address of 3 Appleton Street date from between 1912, when the company succeeded that of F. E. Dodge, and 1920 when they began operating from their new address at 5 Appleton Street. Instruments marked with the 5 Appleton Street address were produced after 1920.
F.E. Cole was the brother of famous banjo maker W.A. Cole,
More info on W.A. and F.E. Cole can be found on Mike Holmes' excellent webpage
Instrument has Fairbanks/Vega characteristics, incorporating a Little Wonder Style Tonering and shoe sets but with a grooved tension hoop
It does sport closed ball end tension hooks
It has the same Fairbanks/Vega peghead style as Chas A. Stromberg, companies which used these necks in this era.
Original friction tuners
Brand, but no serial number seen so far
The tailpiece is actually a snare strainer holder for a snare drum.
Read about the patent on Lee's page
The tension hoop has a crude repair that will not suffice.
I will try to add in a section, or form a new one
It has all original hooksets and shoe sets
9-5/8 x 1/2"Maple rim
8-5/8 from nut to 12th fret....17-1/4" scale
Picture by my Stromberg tenor, for scale
Case is for a regular Vega short scale open back tenor
Looking for a hoop like one that is on it, the other has so much
gone its too difficult to repair.
Id rather find one like it and cut it to size, that is one soldering area instead of 2
This 10-7/8 Supertone employs the same design, it looks as if I will cannibalize it for the new hoop .
Now to cut it and bend it to a 9-5/8" radii, and silver solder the joint
Hoop completed and ready to install head
I will hide the repair joint under the tailpiece
I'll use a recycled AMRAWCO, a good quality vintage skin
Ready to trim
We will see how it dries back out and i it does the job
I've ordered some new skins, if not.
Simple neck brace as found on other brands from this era
Head is drying nicely, I will wait a few days before I pull the assembly down and polish all the hardware
A couple of more shots of it scaled against a 19 fret Bacon "Super"
The head dried nicely and is adjusted properly
A slight shortening of the tension hooks is required, they want to bottom out way too soon, with the head still having plenty of adjustment.
A slight design flaw, no big deal
They need to be short like the older Tubaphone hooksets
Strung in Aquila ,Tenor Uke, Hi G, CEA
The nut was broken on the 4 th string and the previous owner chose to lower the first 2 fret wires on the bass side only instead of repairing or replacing it.
I will see if it plays out after I repair the nut
It has plenty of neck angle , enough to use a Farquhar 11/16" bridge and still have a low action
Tone is VERY good, nice and clear, that's a nice feeling.
The skin is as responsive as I had hoped for and with that much string angle, it plays out and will only require minor adjustments from here on out.
That snare strainer makes a pretty good low tension tailpiece, I've seen worse!
MORE TO FOLLOW