The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌Thompson & Odell Luscomb 5 String Openback Banjo 1890s

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Here is a fantastic rarity, a Thompson & Odell Luscomb banjo in mostly original condition and built during the 1890s in Boston, Massachusetts. This specific instrument was part of the Akira Tsumura collection, and appears in Tsumura’s 1994 book ‘1001 Banjos’.  This banjo has a story!

J F Luscomb was a well known banjo soloist and composer in the 1880s and 1890s, and was granted a number of banjo-related patents that are used on this banjo. His banjo designs were built by Thompson & Odell, a Boston music publisher and instrument maker from around 1888 to 1905 when, following the 1898 retirement of Odell and 1903 death of Thompson, the company was liquidated. The Vega company purchased the musical instrument portion of Thompson & Odell and continued some production into the 1920s.

Akira Tsumura was a passionate musical instrument collector with a focus on banjos, and wrote several books on his collections. These books are scarce and quite valuable; copies of “1001 Banjos” sell for over $1500. He was also president of the Tsumura & Co. pharmaceutical company. Unfortunately, in 1997 he was convicted of breach of trust following the failure of a number of loan guarantees to a subsidiary company, and given a suspended three year sentence. In addition to this, the collection was sold, and over time it has made it to our shop.

Here we are looking at a Thompson and Odell Luscomb 5 string open back banjo, dating into the 1890s. Precise dating is difficult as, typical of the era, it has no serial number and the identifying plate on the dowel is gone. However, it uses the Luscomb patented tone ring, has 28 tension hooks, and has a fully metal clad pot. The neck is Mahogany with an Ebony fingerboad and several layers of decorative woods including Walnut. The head plate is Rosewood, with a lovely Mother of Pearl engraved inlay. The tuners and tailpiece are original. This banjo would have been originally strung with gut, and is here strung with standard nylon strings. It was refretted long ago.

This fine antique banjo is completely playable and is in overall good condition.

A modern black hard shell case is included.


Price: $1,199.99 CAD
  • Model: Luscomb
  • Year: 1892 | Approximate year
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: N/A, built 1890s in Boston MA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 24/02/2021

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 5,456lbs 2.48kg
  • Scale Length: 27.24in 692mm
  • Nut Width: 1.3in 33.02mm

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