Fairbanks Banjos
Construction & Tone Rings


Contemporary Electric-Style Banjos

Several modern banjo makers are producing 5-string banjos modeled, to
some extent, on the original Fairbanks Electrics.  These include:

Mike Ramsey of Chanterelle Workshop with his "Electric" model,


Bart Reiter with his "Regent" model.

The Mike Ramsey "Electric"

Ramsey Electric, Front Ramsey Electric, Peghead Ramsey Electric, Back

Mike Ramsey's Electric model is his interpretation of an original
1908 Fairbanks No.0 Imperial Electric.

It has a Whyte Laydie tone ring, and the brackets are attached with bolts
that go through the wall of the wooden pot.

Ramsey Electric Tone Ring

It has, like the original, a mahogany neck with a thin ebony center lamination.
The profile of the neck is somewhat more rounded than the Fairbanks necks.
It also uses a similar horse shoe style of neck clamp and a metal bezel at the end of the dowel stick.

This model, like the later Fairbanks and Vega Electrics is half-spun.   The points of the scalloped ring point upwards, away from the wooden pot.

In deference to current banjo playing tastes it has a frailing scoop to permit easier playing over the neck.

Ramsey Electric, Heel


The Bart Reiter "Regent"

Bart Reiter makes a number of models that are close relatives to various Vega models.
His "Regent" banjo is most similar to the later half spun Electrics.

The following information is taken from the Bart Reiter web site:

Bart Reiter Regent Banjo
The "Regent" Banjo

Whyte Laydie tone ring 
Ebony fingerboard and peghead veneer 
Hard maple neck 
Ivoroid fingerboard binding 
Pearl star peghead inlay 
Dot position markers 
Satin lacquer finish 

Rim Construction:
Three ply laminated maple 
5/8 inch wall thickness 
11 inch diameter 
Notched tension hoop 
24 L-shoe brackets 
Fiberskyn 2 head 
Rosewood cap on bottom of rim 
5/8 inch ebony top bridge 
Waverly tailpiece 

Neck Construction:
26 1/4 inch scale length 
22 nickel silver frets 
Bone nut 
Steel reinforced (adjustable) 
Maple dowel stick 
Veneer laminated in center of neck 
4 planetary tuning pegs 
Geared fifth peg 
Traditional peghead shape and neck contour 



- Return to main Fairbanks Banjos page -

Please contact me with any additions, corrections or comments in general.