The instrument features a long 18.25” scale, arched spruce top and mahogany back.
It’s entirely original but for newer Schaller tuning machines and is well set-up.
There are minor rubs here and there as you can see but not damage, repairs warping etc.
It all started when he was an engineering student at CU Boulder in the 1960s. He loved to play banjo, and liked to work with metal and wood.
The Philly school was led by Samuel Swaim (with an “m”) Stewart, who probably did more than anyone to popularize – and legitimize – the banjo.
He famously favored wood-rimmed banjos with metal-clad “spunover” construction where a sheath of shiny metal was wrapped around the outside and curled or rolled over the top edge to let the head sit atop a kind of hollow tube.
Straight-from-the-catalog instruments are fun – and reassuring – because you know exactly what you’ve got.
Neck and frets are in good shape, body is crack free and well arched.
With a tone somewhere in between a carved and a flat-top instrument this Kay Kraft Mandola offers something pleasantly unique. Pennsylvania-based Weymann & Son were a smaller-scale manufacturer of fretted instruments operative between 1864 and WWI.
Chuck plans to eventually rebuild the house – and for now he and his wife are living at their shop.
He says sometimes he feels OK, and other times he feels terrible. Chuck is sure he will get through all this just fine, and he plans to keep making banjos for as long as he can.