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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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01:42The A.C. Fairbanks Electric was the first banjo to use the scalloped tone ring that was later to be used in the Whyte Laydie model banjos. The scalloped tone ring is based on a patent granted to Fairbanks December 30, 1890, and the "Electric" models (not using any electricity) were made available in the early 1890s ("History of the Fairbanks Banjo Company" by E.J. Kauffman, in the "5-Stringer", Summer, 1977, No. 126) .

In 1894, A.C. Fairbanks sold his interest in the company. A version of the "Electric" was sold with the scalloped tone ring inverted -- with the scallops pointing down from the tone ring. This variant was manufactured at the same time the original design was being sold, and seems to have been abandoned around 1900 (Kauffman, 5-Stringer, Fall Issue 1997). The "Electric" models are popular with both players and collectors. Some extremely fancy Electrics were produced as presentation pieces in the mid to late 1890s.

The Electric became second in the Fairbanks line in 1901 when the Whyte Laydie was offered and third in 1908 with the availability of the Tubaphone. It was available into the early 1930s. Electrics were produced with a full-spun rim and, as a "special Electric" with a half spun rim. Most were Mahagony but maple was also used. Herschel Fenton advertised and sold banjos marked "Electric" circa 1890. Very different from Fairbanks, probably made by Buckbee.
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LAST UPDATED 09-30-2014 05:17


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