Like many Banjo players, Bob French tinkered with his instruments. But Bob did more than tinker; he is known to have made or assembled probably a dozen or more instruments. The Fox Banjo being auctioned was donated by Grace to BMAM. Bob usually started with a “factory second” banjo neck from Jim Cox’s shop; these would typically be a neck with cosmetic or other defects that Jim did not intend to put on one of his own models. Bob would change the lettering on the headstock, substituting an “F” for the “C” in the Cox logo on the headstock. Bob acquired other banjo parts from various sources; some might come from Jim Cox directly, with other parts perhaps from Stew Mac or other vendors. Other parts may have originated on other instruments that Bob had previously owned.
It is made from a beautiful piece of highly-figured tiger maple, with the ”Hearts & Flowers” inlay pattern on an ebony fingerboard, and it is straight. The resonator, also highly-figured maple, has some buckle rash. The Fox banjo’s rim, resonator, tone ring, and other Cox parts were all top-quality standard stock from Jim Cox’s shop; other parts from other sources were also first rate. The tuning pegs, with dark amber buttons, are unusual and very attractive.
The instrument clearly has been heavily played; the metal patina and ‘buckle rash’ are a dead giveaway to heavy use. Bob is known to have had other high-value banjos, but this Fox Banjo was certainly played on many occasions.
To get the banjo in great shape, BMAM engaged Glenn Nelson, a first-rate luthier, and a banjo specialist, co-owner (with his wife, Barbara,) of Mockingbird Music, in Berlin, MA. Glenn has done a wonderful restoration. The instrument is now noticeably improved cosmetically, is in tune, with good string action and intonation; has new strings, a new bridge, improvements to the fret board, and other important upgrades.
BMAM is auctioning off this one of a kind storied instrument. We hope it will find a buyer whose interest in the instrument is enhanced by its history as an instrument made and played by one of the founders of New England Bluegrass music.
For complete details and additional pictures visit www.mainebluegrass.org
Bids will be collected from Noon EST July 23, 2021 through 5 PM EST on Saturday, September 4, 2021. High Bidder to be notified at that time.
STARTING BID: $600.00
RESERVE PRICE: $750.00 (If bidding ends before the reserve is reached, the BMAM reserves the right to retain ownership of the item.)
Please bid in increments of $25.00
To see current High Bid: BIDS
Please note: Purchaser will be responsible for shipping costs if distance requires.