1900 Williams and Son Echo Style 17 Banjo SOLD

1900 Williams and Son Echo Style 17 Banjo

R.S. Williams & Sons Co. were a Canadian manufacturer of Pianos, guitars, mandolins and banjos in the late 19th and through much of the 20th century. The Echo Banjo was built in the Oshawa factory from roughly 1895 to 1910.

Made circa 1900, this Williams and Son Echo Style 17 banjo still plays beautifully. Thrilling to play a 100 year old instrument that still plays as it did when new.

Restrung as a “gut string” banjo it has that old time plunky sound one associates with that era. All hardware appears original with one tension hook missing.

The head was upgraded to a modern plastic head probably some time in the 1970s. Personally, I would convert it back to a calfskin head just to keep it completely historically accurate and “original”.

If you are new to gut-string banjos; friction pegs are quirky to use; the friction pegs do hold well but require a great deal of “friction” to do so. Similar to a lute or violin you need to press hard while tuning to force the tapered tuner into hole.

I normally tune with the banjo flat on my lap or on my workbench or a table top; simultaneously tuning while holding down the banjo with my right hand so I can press firmly upwards on the tuning pegs to ensure that they don’t spin loose.

Once you finally have everything set properly the tuning is surprisingly stable. Wooden and bone pegs have been used for thousands of years on stringed instruments. Though this banjo could easily be converted to modern geared tuners, I think that would compromise the historical value of this unusual instrument.

Grant MacNeill,
The Twelfth Fret

You can read the Canadian Encyclopedia page about the history of the R. S. Williams company here

Serial Number: 9831, dates to approximately 1900 and built at the Williams factory in Oshawa, Ontario.

Pricing: $750.00 Canadian, without case. SOLD

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