The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Bacon Professional FF Special 5 String Open Back Banjo, 1914


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This is a very nice Bacon Professional FF Special 5-string open back banjo, built for Fredrick J Bacon of Forest Dale, Vermont, around 1914 by the Vega company. Fred Bacon was a very well known professional banjo player who achieved the ultimate in his time’s mass media exposure – recording for Thomas Edison’s Phonograph Company.

The Bacon Banjo Company was formed by Bacon and his wife at their home in Forest Dale, VT in 1906. The banjos were actually built to order by various companies, but primarily by Vega. In 1914, the celluloid Bacon label seen in one of the rear views here appeared in the company catalog. The Bacon Professional FF Special was produced around 1914.

In 1920, the company moved to Groton, Massachusetts and began producing the banjos themselves. In 1922, David Day from Vega shifted to the Bacon company and many of the subsequent banjos are known as Bacon and Day though the company itself did not change its name. They were quite successful at producing banjos until 1938, when a hurricane devastated the area, badly damaging both the workshop and the worker’s homes. In 1940 the company was sold to Gretsch, and Fred Bacon died in 1948.

This fine vintage instrument is in very good original and complete condition, with the original tooled leather case. Though it is an open back model, it has a resonator built into the pot. It is built mostly of maple with ebony for the fingerboard and head plates. and the The tone ring is an early dish type attached to the internal resonator box, and the pot has marquetry trim around the lower edge. The inlays engraved are mother of pearl and use a floral theme. The headstock front features a very nice flowerpot inlay, the rear an engraved blossom, and the heel what might be a leaf. It is strung with a nylon set.

We can’t find a serial number on this instrument, which is not an unknown occurrence, and establish the date based on the Bacon label and other known examples from the time.


Price: $4,375.00 CAD
  • Model: Professional FF Special
  • Year: 1914 | Approximate year
  • Finish Natural Maple
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: N/A
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 06/03/2018

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Soft case
  • Instrument Weight: 6.3lbs 2.9kg
  • Scale Length: 27in 686mm
  • Nut Width: 1.299in 33mm

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