Paramount Tenor Harp
© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF
Like the Gibson Tenor Lute, this instrument is basically a tenor banjo neck mounted on a wooden body. It was made in the 1920s, and it appeared in the Paramount Banjo catalog of that period.
William Lange's Paramount Banjo Company made a large number of professional quality instruments, and had a galaxy of celebrity endorsers. Lange advertized that his company was the only banjo company that made all their own components - even the geared tuners.
This "banjo" is exceptional in that it's entirely wooden. The "head" or top is solid spruce and has a low but distinct arched configuration, which helps support the downward pressure of the bridge. The resonator back is solid maple and rims are laminated maple. It has a maple neck with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. All the purfling and binding simple and tasteful, also of Brazilian rosewood.
Some things to look for: Check out the rather crude "handstop" behind the nut. It's far less delicate than Paramount's other instruments. It has a standard mandolin tailpiece (original). "Patent Pending" is stamped twice near the tailpiece as is the very low serial number. (I doubt there are any high serial numbers on tenor harps!) Don't miss that unique bridge.
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