Up for sale is a recent project someone started that I completed.
Disclaimer: This is not a mandolin banjo / banjolin as it has a much longer scale length and neck for that matter. It wouldn’t withstand being tuned to the same pitch as a mandolin.
Not entirely sure if this was an 8-string originally (probably not), but someone at least was going for that. With the neck being thicker and wider than other tenors I’ve seen or played, I thought it might make a good candidate for a conversion. Not entirely sure if the rim is original to the neck, but that’s what was on it when I got it. It’s only marked “129” in Roman numerals, likely an assembly number. I know of a couple original factory-made 8-string tenors, such as one made by Weymann and restored by Jake Wildwood. It had different pegs (either 2 on a plate or 4 on a plate cut in half, given four somewhat separate areas cut in the back of the peghead for them), but currently has 4 on a plate on either side, and somewhat crudely attached. Note the black paint on the peghead and heel cap, obviously covering up putty and other “corrections”. These tuners work ok. Peghead has “Jim H.” scratched into it.
Anyway, I made a new cherry dowel as the original couldn’t be reattached. It had a label marked “Crescent”. Added a vintage dowel brace with new ebony wedges. New Remo Renaissance high crown head. New tension hooks and nuts with 20 original shoes to the rim. New brass tension hoop made by Zach Hoyt. Older adjustable tailpiece. New Vega-style armrest. Current strings are GHS singles in .011, .016, .026w, and .040w (doubled courses with bronze-wound 3rds and 4ths), based on the string set gauges Jake mentioned using, tuning it to Irish tuning or GDAE, an octave below mandolin. This gives it lower string tension without being too wobbly, and not adding a lot of stress to the whole thing.
20 3/4” scale length. 1 5/16” nut width. Neck is fairly thick and a comfortable V-shape with very little upbow. Some original fret wear on the first couple frets, mainly strings 1 and 2. 10 3/4” spun over rim. Action is about 1/8” at the 12th on the E’s and a hair higher on the G’s. Older tenor bridge that I reworked for 8 strings. 7/16” height. New bone nut.
Plays well and notes up and down the fretboard except for the second and third strings at the 17th fret as there was a slight bulge on the edge of the rim (which came from being slightly out of round and warped), in which case they bottom out, but nothing to write home about. Don’t figure most play in the upper registers on Irish tenors anyway, at least I don’t.
Check out the video I recorded of it for a sound sample.
Thanks for looking!