PETE Dix's
B&D #7 Symphonie Silver Bell
20 fret tenor

 20 fret tenor




We have 1 bad Planet tuner, I will procure one

Minor celluloid crack and thumb rest area

Normal crazing of Varnish over ebony neck

Original frets will be left in place, and will be leveled and crowned

Divoting in fretwires shown here

Extension in good condition
Neck must be removed to change head as with all extended fingerboards

Richelieu bridge and head
Some parts were replated, probably when these parts were installed
The Orangish color of the plating on the replated parts were giving the pieces that were not plated a glow that looked as copper flashing but is actually brush plating process used by Richelieu at the time
When I get it all apart you can better see the parts color contrast

Seen here better with camera flash on armrest and hooksets
Tension hoop and tone ring match in older gold

Resonator backplate celluloid is shrunken and cracked in places, and lifting in 2 places
Celluloid's loses moisture over time and it has no choice but to crack when its glued down

Mute is complete and functional

Heel contact is good, neck angle and plane are good

3 piece ebony neck and carving all still VG

Original finish on neck
You can see the linear lines  denoting the 3 planks of ebony
Many people say they are 1 piece ebony but that has never been the case in my shop to date
When the dye is still new and the finish is good, you cannot see the seams as well


Stepped flange in VG condition

Orig plating on mute inside
Pedal was replated outside

Matching numbers, all is well
Orig plating on attachment



Gravings intact and sharp
No refinish on rim

Patent info on Oettinger tailpiece
You can see where new plating has worn off on thumbscrews and old plating is showing again
This process of plating is not good for banjo and that is why Richelieu abandoned it. too many come backs


Even that little extension prohibits removal of hoop without neck coming off.
 I have seen 3 of these broken off or cut off, so that a hoop could come off like a regular BD
We will save this one .........:):)

We have a problem here, the forward lag bolt is so compressed into the rim Im sure that whoever put on the head cocked the tone ring and it is caught on the lip
I have seen that 50 times at least
I have to say that tapping it out is not for the weak of heart so TeriAnn........close your eyes and can look!

Of course, now we know just how many were going to fall out.......thats the bright side and the ones that are left.....are stuck!
This is why you take the pics BEFORE you start!


I'll set these and let it dry

This is showing the neck coming out....

And then free........Yes, even I sweated that!

All OK on the heel, that little tiny fleck of wood was the only real casualty and Ill be putting it right back on.

Lightly cleaned and triple waxed

That's easy to tell its original plating when inside looks like this

You can really see the orange plating here

Resonator repair

That is a 3000 micron paper, ultra fine, getting scum off, prepping to seal

I will use Hot Hide glue as they did on the majority and acrylic glue on the biggest gaps to offset that shrinkage

Hot and thinned

Poured on, and squeegee into the cracks

Now, the excess wipes off with water so no biggie, lets let it cure and do more in a little while

Everything wiped and waxed

Domino says " its late Dad, lets watch TV"
OK, for an hour :)

I will clean this with micro polish and wax it

Same as the heel, getting into the cracks

After Renaissance, now it has shine, looks better in person with no flash


A light leveling, they feel pretty good in that aspect

I can use my crowning file to at least radius the bar wire, that will help play smoother

And then the diamond crowning file

Fine wool and Tung oil for the fingerboard ebony, to revitalize it

Here we have a pic of the celluloid overlay lifting, I will shoot in glue and clamp to cure
You can see the more rounded polished fret here too

Tung oil into the carving, it is THIRSTY
This gives life and luster without refinish
It is a hardening Nut oil

More celluloid woes around the edge
It looks awful in close up huh?
That's OK, I see it all the time, I will seal it down all the way round, and that one tip on the bottom overlay too

The razor helps you see it clearly

There is always a makers number right here and this one is a "3"
We do not know what it means ......yet :)

After cleaning and triple wax

I happen to have an original tone ring that was never plated, for this model!

That is the notch that was crooked when they installed it after the new head, it acts like a lock if its not centered on dowel

A couple of stones were so marred I changed them out with some from my stock of real German stones.
I cannot promise they are actually from the "Rhine", but somewhere close!

Cleaned and waxed the front overlay, all hand polishing

Obtained a Planet tuner (peg)  in orig gold, Thanks Leo.
I'll add the MOP button and throw the old broken tuna in the case.

I found a skin head that came from this particular style banjo.
Im not installing it, Im sending it home with the banjo for posterity in case a skin is ever wanted.

The crease from the archring is already set and the head is maybe 30 years young and in good playing condition.
The green area is where armrest fungi grew from sweat.
It's covered for the most part when armrest is on it.

Im using a Waverly Fibserskyn 2, it looks like a skin head but is synthetic.

And an original Bacon Bridge

Mute adjusted

All adjusted out and ready to string

Needed a new bone nut so Im making one from old bone, I like to recycle

Strung to pitch and sounding good

I will let it settle in and tweak it, then get it home
What a fun banjo to have in my shop!!!

Thanks for watching





Tyler was in for some repairs and took a shine to this baby.
It plays perfectly with itself in all areas of the fingerboard.
 He found more harmonics than on anything we could remember and on this particular banjo the Waverly Fiberskyn was the best choice, it sounds like a Perry Bechtel setup.
It was great to have it in the shop at the same time, and he was nice enough to make a couple short sound bytes for TeriAnn which made it special.
Once again, I am blessed to have another of the greatest instruments from the Golden Age on Banjo pass thru my hands.
Thanks for watching