A truly beautiful and rare 4 string Plectrum banjo from New York's premier makers Rettberg and Lange. The fancy Orpheum No3 Special was the highest cataloged model in the numbered style series. Along with the oversize rim Brass Band model, this represents Orpheum's instrument craft at its finest.
Orpheum No3 Special Plectrum banjo features
- Maple pot and neck
- Heringbone and checquered wood design inlay on pot
- Archtop tonering
- 24 flat hooks and rounded nuts
- Clamshell taipiece
- 2 footed maple/ebony bridge
- Maple detactcheable resonator
- Remo smooth top banjo head
- Ebony fingerboard
- decorative floral inlays
- Bone nut
- 9 ply headstock design
- Rear facing planetary tuners with pearloid buttons
- Fleur de lis inlay on back of headstock
Individual serial Number:7576
Tuning: DGBE but can be tuned standard plectrum CGBD or other tunings
Finish: Natural Gloss finish
Case: Original fitted case
Note: The resonator and 4 small flange plates can be reomoved to play as an openback.
Set-Up: Each banjo we supply is individually set up in our on-site Specialist Workshop here at Eagle Music. Any banjo purchased from Eagle will be fully SET UP, checked for intonation and playability and tuned ready for playing straight out of the box!
More information about Orpheum banjos
Circa 1920 Orpheum #3 Special Banjo
Orpheum banjos were made by William Rettburg and William Lange, two music industry veterans who purchased the bankrupt Buckbee banjo company in 1897. In its day, Buckbee was the largest banjo maker in America, a firm that made instruments for Dobson, Benary, Farland, Bruno and perhaps a dozen more companies. The banjos made by Buckbee were primarily in what we think of as the minstrel style, with thin wooden shells, no metal tone rings and large, usually fretless necks. Rettburg and Lange had figured out early on that the instruments that Buckbee was making were quickly going out of fashion. By 1903 they had developed a simple tone ring that helped increase the banjo’s volume along with giving it brighter crisper tone. The Orpheum banjo proved to be a big success and by 1915, it was one of the most popular banjos styles in America.
Orpheum banjos came in a variety of styles including five-strings, banjo mandolins, plectrums and tenors, like today’s Catch. Orpheum banjos were very well made and they have a lighter, delicate tone than the instruments from Gibson and Epiphone that come out a few years later. The #3 Special was the fanciest model in the catalog although a couple of more ornate models were available by special order. This model boasts exquisite pearl inlay, heel carvings and wooden marquetry. The neck and shell are made of maple and the gold friction pegs have solid pearl buttons.