Luscomb/Thompson and ODell Isbell Artist 5-String Openback c.1900


SKU: CON-1700 Category: Tag:


This is an amazing banjo. It plays and sounds great and simply oozes vintage coolness.  This banjo has a lot of different names attributed to it, so it is confusing. Most likely, this banjo was made by Thompson and Odell in Boston for Luscomb, or at least its neck. Most Luscomb banjos don’t have wooden rims like this and not inlaid like this one. Harry J. Isbell was a banjo player from St. Louis and possibly a builder (he does have a banjo design that is patented, not this design). Did he put a Luscomb neck on a rim he made? Possibly. On the headstock is the name J.A. Durham in gold paint. We don’t know who he was. Did he have Isbell customize a banjo for him? Again possibly. The inlay on the neck, we haven’t seen one like this before. So, that is what we think the banjo is.  Of course, it could be any combination of that, or something else all together. The banjo itself is in amazing condition and looks to be mostly original, except for most likely the head and bridge. The carving around the neck’s heel, we haven’t seen that on other Luscomb banjo necks, custom? The 5th string tuner’s button looks to be changed. There are two holes on the neck’s heel plate and one that goes thru the dowel stick. Perhaps it had a coupler on it at one point, similar to earlier SS Stewart banjos? It looks like the dowel has been moved at one point, as there is a hole thru the rim for the tailpiece. Overall, this banjo is in very good condition and comes with a hard case.

  • Made in Boston, Mass by Thompson & Odell (we think) c.1900
  • 27″ scale length
  • 1 3/8″ nut width
  • Inlaid pot
  • 12″ rim (thereabouts)
  • 30 tension hooks
  • Hard case


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