FIELDING MINSTREL BANJO FOR SALE
$2,500 including case, shipping (within the US) and insurance
I bought this banjo from the late Will Fielding in 2012 after seeing a You Tube video of Marc Horowitz playing the instrument. I had known Will for years as a banjo-maker and Morris dancer (“I never believed in God,” says my wife, “until I saw Will Fielding dance.”) and I had always wanted a Fielding in my collection. I called Will and drove down to his shop and, after playing it for half an hour, bought the banjo. Will told me it was made from maple he had cut on his own land and modeled after a 19th century Ashborn. As you can see from the photos, it has a frailing scoop, paddle peghead, hand-made Fielding bridge and tailpiece, and antiqued hardware. The only concession to modernity, other than the Nylgut minstrel strings (with special unwound bass string), is the geared fiddle pegs – I don’t know the maker.
The tone produced by the 12” pot is rich and deep, the one-piece neck substantial with a slight “v”, very comfortable even for my small hands. Because it’s fretless, you can set the bridge anywhere you like (though the sweet spot is just south of the center), and the 5th string is placed further toward the heel than usual so that it’s less likely to interfere with the thumb. It’s altogether a fine instrument, the work of a master, but I found myself with little time to explore the minstrel repertoire, and now I have way too many banjos and must sell this one. Breaks my heart, because not only is it a pleasure to play, it is a pleasure to look at, beautiful in its golden simplicity and proportions.
I’ve only played it occasionally and it has never left the house, so it’s in pretty much mint condition. It comes with a hard-shell case padded with felt insert to make a perfect fit. The price is all-inclusive and final. If you are interested in this Fielding Minstrel banjo, you can contact me through Banjo Hangout or by snailmail or phone.