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For Sale: Schall - Waldo 5-string banjo
J. B. Schall 5-string banjo circa 1890. $1,425 plus shipping.
Overall length 36", pot 10 7/8", scale length 26 7/8", neck width: 1 1/4" at nut, 2" at heel. Now set up with action at 12th fret = 1/4".
Beautiful peghead face of engraved metal (German Silver?) plate, metal inlay from nut toward first fret, metal heel cap. Has Schall's distinctive "bump" at the 5th string peg. Vintage Champion pegs, may be original. Pot is metal clad inside and outside, engraving on outside. Distinctive shoes and nuts. Interesting dowel yoke/tightener and dowel-end neck angle adjuster. Minor scuffs as typical for a 100-year old antique. Yellowstone banjo head, medium gage metal strings.
It appears that someone replaced the dowel. The surface with makers marks was salvaged and scarf-glued onto what appear to be new mahogany wood. The repair is very well done and not visible unless you look closely. It appears that the dowel was sanded with the result that the words "Baxter's Model" and "Waldo" words are only faintly visible.
Waldo was an instrument brand sold by the Barrows Music House located in Saginaw, Michegan. More info here: facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=28...3&theater
This is a very ornate banjo by a good maker via a small music shop. It is a very nice player with very nice sound. It is now being shown on consignment at the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim, PA.
"As a hobby he [Schall] played the banjo (extremely well say critics of the period) and while still a young man joined a minstrel troupe with which he toured extensively for several years. His familiarity with minstrel performers and theatrical people , coupled with the growing demand for banjos induced him to open a factory in Chicago in 1870.
Schall sold all the banjos he and his five workmen could manufacture and received high prices for them, but he would not enlarge his factory to keep pace with the growth in demand for his instruments. Also, prosperity proved too much for his and as soon as he had accumulated a few thousand dollars he would neglect his business until he had spent the money and then returned to the factory floor. By 1893 he was also making banjos for the celebrated banjoist E Hall who had a teaching studio in Chicago, and James Waldo.
He died in dramatic circumstances in around 1907 when he was 55. He had just completed two banjos for an act appearing at the Olympic Theatre in Chicago and the players invited him to hear their performance.
Occupying a front seat on the balcony he was listening intently to the instruments he had made when he suddenly rose out of his seat with a choking cry and appeared that he would fall over the balcony when he collapsed to the floor. Ushers rushed to his aid and carried him into the foyer where they attempted to resuscitate him. The act on stage had continued unaware that Schall was dying on the balcony."
(vintagebanjomaker.com, accessed 02-25-19).