By the early 1930s the loud, clanging bark of the tenor banjo was losing favor as dance bands shifted from the faster dances of the Roaring '20s to more romantic tunes suitable for cheek-to-cheek maneuvers. Many tenor players switched to tenor guitar or at least had one at the ready, but Paramount, one of the largest American banjo manufactuers, developed new models that delivered a more mellow tone. The "Super Paramount" models like this one featured a deeper tone chamber, and also offered a more complex tailpiece with built-in mute that allowed the player to instantly damp the bridge to achieve a sweeter tone with more sustain. While the walnut neck was not significantly more ornate than earlier high-end Paramount models, the resonator and rim had elaborate floral marquetry with engraved metal parts jeavily gold-plated. But all these extras didn't come cheap, and at the height of the Great Depression this banjo sold for a whopping $300 (more than a Martin Style 45 guitar). These high prices, especially when combined with the four-string banjos fading popularity, meant that not many were sold and examples in this condition are indeed rare. This one is in remarkably original condition, and although we assume the metal parts on the shell may have been replated the resonator and headstock have their original Paramount "Wear-Ever" finish (lacquer, and the back of the neck has probably been lightly oversprayed). No sign of any structural repairs, and the original case with zippered lining is in equally fine condition.

stock no. 54750

ModelSuper Paramount Artists Professional Tenor
Nut width1 1/8"
Scale length23"
Fretboard MaterialRosewood
Neck materialWalnut
ResonatorInlaid Walnut
Tone ringSuper Paramount Tone Amplifying
Total frets19
TunersGold Page Geared
CaseOrig. Hard
Serial No180
Diameter11 1/8"