The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Daniels Zither Banjo 5-String, 1890s


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The Daniels Zither 5-String Banjo was built during the 1890’s in London England – pre-UK – by Joe Daniels using his patents for the pot and tailpiece tensioner.

This fascinating instrument features a 9 inch head on a nickel plated metal rim and resonator. The tension hoop is engraved, the top reading ‘Daniel’s Patent’ and the side reading ‘112 Leadenhall St E C’, now the site of The Leadenhall Building. The tailpiece is a reproduction of the original, rather narrow Ivory part, which was damaged and is included in the case. The bridge is a modern compensated part.

The Daniels Zither Banjo neck is a flat-sawn Rosewood, possibly Brazilian or from one of England’s colonial areas. The fingerboard, head plate and heel cap are Ebony, with two lighter and darker wood layers between those parts and the neck itself. Mother of Pearl is used for the inlay set. Visible inside the pot, the neck stick has been spliced, perhaps as a repair. The neck has been refretted at least once over the last 130 or so years.

The headstock is remarkably compact, and this is typical of Daniels banjos. Here, the head is arranged with one of the tuners placed in the center. The 5th string runs through a tunnel, a setup used by Nechville banjos today.

This Daniels Zither Banjo has been recently serviced and set up at The Twelfth Fret Repair Shop.

Zither banjos are typically strung with a mix of steel and gut or nylon strings, but this one is currently strung simply with nylon.

The original leather ‘trap-door’ case is included, and contains the original, damaged tailpiece and a tuner button.


Price: $999.99 CAD
  • Model: Zither Banjo 5-String
  • Year: 1893 | Approximate year
  • Finish Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: N/A, built in the 1890's in London England
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 30/06/2023

  • Consignment Item

  • Instrument Weight: 4.664lbs 2.12kg
  • Scale Length: 25.59in 650mm
  • Nut Width: 1.331in 33.81mm

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