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For Sale: Kyle Creed 12” Cherry Open Back Banjo

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This banjo was built in 1981 by Kyle Creed in Galax, Virginia. It is all cherry wood with an ebony fingerboard. It has a nickel plated Little Wonder style tone ring that Mr. Creed clearly sourced from a different banjo, as there are bracket shoe marks on the skirt that do not line up with the shoe configuration of this banjo (see photos). It measures 13 & 1/4” from the nut to the twelfth fret, but notes true up the neck when the bridge is set at 26 & 5/8”. It has the zero degree neck angle characteristic of almost all Kyle Creed banjos, so the fretboard is in the same plane as the head. This results in a fairly high action with a low bridge. As you may know, Kyle Creed was one of the first Old Time banjo players to play over the neck, and he never put a scoop in his builds, hence the flat neck angle. There is slight visible fret wear in the first five frets, particularly under the second string. It truly is subtle and causes no issues with buzzing. It has what appear to be original 5-Star brand tuners with celluloid buttons. I replaced the damaged original skin with a new John Balch skin head. (The head was a “second” and has a very small patch on the inside which cannot be seen from the front. See photo) The tension hoop sits a little high because of the relatively low crown height of the new head. John Balch provides instructions on his website for stretching the head, but I have not done this because it doesn’t interfere with playing, and it gives room for the head to settle over time. Included is a clean but used TKL archtop case with a doodle from well known Georgia folk artist N. Hartness.

The tone is loud and sweet with just a hint of brightness when played without stuffing. It really does sound like a Creed. If you are familiar with his work, you probably know that consistency wasn’t his thing. He used a huge variety of woods, tone rings, hardware and scale lengths but somehow most of his banjos end up having “the sound”.

I have seen and played perhaps a half dozen Creed banjos in the past, and I can say this one is better than average in terms of construction and finish. There is one small knot mark at the fifth string you can see in the photos, but it is solid and very shallow. Other than that, the cherry has an exceptionally clear and straight grain. The hardware is very clean and shows little tarnish.

This is an expensive banjo that I am selling as described, so I will not accept returns. I have done my best to describe the banjo fully and accurately, but please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Fully insured shipping to anywhere in the Lower 48 is included. Given the rarity and value of this instrument, I would much prefer to deliver it in person. I am willing to meet the buyer anywhere within a ten hour drive of Bloomington, Illinois to hand deliver the banjo. If you are local or able to travel to Central Illinois to pick the instrument up, I will reimburse you $250.




Interested in buying this banjo?
to arrange purchase

Price: $6,500.00 USD

Shipping: Shipping Included

Posted By: RevJr

United States, Bloomington, IL, 61701

Condition of Banjo:
Used - Very Good Condition

Type: 5-String Openback

Brand: Kyle Creed

Ad Status: Active, #104139

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