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Balkan Brac John Bencic Cleveland 1920′s SOLD

June 3, 2012
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Serial Number N/A, but built in the 1020′s by John Bencic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Pricing $650 CAD, no case. SOLD
Neck Birds-eye maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard, mother of pearl position markers; the first position marker is missing. The neck has a pronounced, deep V shape reminiscent of a cello and features a Stauffer shaped headstock.
Frets Freshly dressed. Frets seem to be made from tempered steel and are extremely hard.
Body Spruce top with curly maple sides and back. The top is built with an arch from side to side. Inset rosewood pickguards with mother of pearl and abalone inlays and bordering, white plastic binding with purfling and an inlaid ablalone layer. Two sections of the abalone are missing.
Finish Original nitrocellulose lacquer finish, lots of play wear on the top.
Hardware/electronics 5-gear tuning machine, nickel plated with white buttons, marked as built in Czechoslovakia. One tuner has been repaired and is missing the button. Bone nut and saddle, nickel plated tailpiece.
Playability/Action Plays well and cleanly – action is currently set to 6/64ths.
Case Case not included.
Comments The label reads: “First and Oldest Mfr of Musical Insts. John Bencic 1317 1/2 E 41st Street Cleveland Ohio”The Brac, used throughout the Balkan countries is the bigger brother to the Tamburitza or Prim. Roughly the size of a small guitar it has a similar tone and voice to the Celtic Bouzouki.

We are estimating that this lovely instrument was built in the 1920′s.

There was a very strong polka music craze in the USA post World War 1 which gave builders like John Bencic a thriving market for their eastern European musical instruments.

The detailed engraving, pearl and abalone inlay work and deluxe woods indicate that this was built by a world class Luthier at the “top of his game”.

Structurally the Brac is in fully playable condition and has never had any repairs except for the one tuner button that was repaired decades ago.

the instrument shows heavy wear over every square inch of the finish…obviously “honest wear” from extensive playing for many years. Our guess was that it was a professional’s instrument.

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