1960's Mosrite Bantar?

brrobert
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1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby brrobert » Sat Dec 02, 2023 7:42 pm

This is an odd bird I came into... A six string guitar banjo (bantar) that is supposed to have a Mosrite neck.

When Mosrite bought the Dobro name and plant in Gardena California, they made the Mosrite Dobro (a/k/a Mobro) there until they moved it to Bakersfield. During that time, one of the Dopyera brothers tried his hand at making banjos under the names “Dopera”, “Dopera Original” and “Dopera’s Own”: Four string tenor banjo, 4 string plectrum, 5 string Banjo and 6 string Bantar (the model I have). Apparently, they are quite uncommon, by some accounts only 10 of each model. They were a flop and they stopped production after a limited run.

During this time, the Dopyeras were on friendly terms with Mosrite, and there has been some suggestion that many of their creations were actually constructed in a corner of the Mosrite factory or at the Gardena plant under Mosrite ownership. Mosrite was already making necks for the new Mobro's and it is believed that they made the necks for the Dopera banjos. It definitely has the feel of an electric guitar neck over a banjo neck.

There are a lot of similarities between this Dopera Bantar and Mosrite necks: slim profile, volute, glossy maple neck. There are also some similarities to the Mobro necks: dot markers, Waverly, open back strip tuners, the truss rod cover is reminiscent of some Mosrite truss rod covers, metal of the truss rod cover is of the same kind as the nut on the square neck dobros.

But there are differences.... Some Mobros used a zero fret and placed a serial number at the bottom of the fretboard like the guitars. The bantar has heel cover-- I couldn't find that on any Mosrite instrument.

Does this neck look like it might have been made by Mosrite? Is this a Mo-Jo?

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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby t-bone » Sun Dec 03, 2023 2:35 pm

that thing is super interesting, thank you for sharing. is the scale 24.5? is there any way to date this instrument? is the neck one piece of wood? so many questions. very Mosrite, whether done by Mosrite or by someone whom had worked for Mosrite and picked up how to make a neck. i would love to hear the story behind this one. very cool
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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby brrobert » Mon Dec 04, 2023 6:59 am

Yes, scale 24.5 (or 24.75... depends where the bridge is) and one piece neck with rosewood fingerboard.

The information I found indicates that the Dopera Banjos were made in the Gardena plant 67/68 post Mosrite purchase of the Dobro name.

Definitely a cool thing-- and the connection to Semie is all the more cool. It does feel like other Mosrite necks I've had. It has been refretted, but other descriptions I found said that the fretwire on the Dopera Banjos were like Mosrite frets. But there are so few of them that there isn't a lot of info.

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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby t-bone » Mon Dec 04, 2023 10:19 am

that is a really great find. thank you for sharing the photos. the Dopera era of Mosrite’s story is so interesting to me.
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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby 101Volts » Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:47 pm

brrobert wrote:This is an odd bird I came into... A six string guitar banjo (bantar) that is supposed to have a Mosrite neck.

When Mosrite bought the Dobro name and plant in Gardena California, they made the Mosrite Dobro (a/k/a Mobro) there until they moved it to Bakersfield. During that time, one of the Dopyera brothers tried his hand at making banjos under the names “Dopera”, “Dopera Original” and “Dopera’s Own”: Four string tenor banjo, 4 string plectrum, 5 string Banjo and 6 string Bantar (the model I have). Apparently, they are quite uncommon, by some accounts only 10 of each model. They were a flop and they stopped production after a limited run.

During this time, the Dopyeras were on friendly terms with Mosrite, and there has been some suggestion that many of their creations were actually constructed in a corner of the Mosrite factory or at the Gardena plant under Mosrite ownership. Mosrite was already making necks for the new Mobro's and it is believed that they made the necks for the Dopera banjos. It definitely has the feel of an electric guitar neck over a banjo neck.

There are a lot of similarities between this Dopera Bantar and Mosrite necks: slim profile, volute, glossy maple neck. There are also some similarities to the Mobro necks: dot markers, Waverly, open back strip tuners, the truss rod cover is reminiscent of some Mosrite truss rod covers, metal of the truss rod cover is of the same kind as the nut on the square neck dobros.

But there are differences.... Some Mobros used a zero fret and placed a serial number at the bottom of the fretboard like the guitars. The bantar has heel cover-- I couldn't find that on any Mosrite instrument.

Does this neck look like it might have been made by Mosrite? Is this a Mo-Jo?


...

I can't comment much on this since I've not delved into the many Mosrite Dobro models just yet, but closely related enough is this 5 string "Mosrite Dobro D-8, 5 String Banjo." It doesn't look like a typical banjo, it just has a Dobro Resonator Body (a photo is below.) Here's a direct link to my post of it over at Facebook, though not much else is said about it there:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3294258 ... 844941008/

One of these (if it's the same thing) popped up on eBay around 2008 - 2010, which is how I knew about it; someone posted about it here at the forum. But I didn't save photos of that listing, so I really don't know if it's the same thing, and this next catalog scan is the best reference I have for one.

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- Austin
1966 Ventures II (German Carved, B670.)
1970s "Not a Blues Bender" Bodies: 2.
1976 Brass Rail Deluxe #10.
2013 Fender Pawn Shop Bass VI.

brrobert
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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby brrobert » Tue Dec 05, 2023 11:37 pm

Very cool! That 5 string banjo was nicknamed the Hootenet b/c the headstock looks like an owl.

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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby 101Volts » Wed Dec 06, 2023 11:59 am

brrobert wrote:Very cool! That 5 string banjo was nicknamed the Hootenet b/c the headstock looks like an owl.


Huh, what do you know, it does. I missed that.

Also, the Bantar that you've posted certainly has a sizable Volute on it. Not even my 1966 Mosrite, which I thought had a large volute in the first place, looks like it can compete with that. But also, the rear end of my 66's headstock is flat even though its front is not - and the Bantar's Headstock is angled back.

- Austin
1966 Ventures II (German Carved, B670.)
1970s "Not a Blues Bender" Bodies: 2.
1976 Brass Rail Deluxe #10.
2013 Fender Pawn Shop Bass VI.

brrobert
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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby brrobert » Wed Dec 06, 2023 7:17 pm

Interesting. I can't recall ever seeing a dobro with a volute, but i don't have a lot of experience with them,

I read that the Dopera's designed the headstock to evoke a mandolin scroll. The engraving on the resonator is really quite something. Those brothers had style!

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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby 101Volts » Wed Dec 06, 2023 11:55 pm

brrobert wrote:Interesting. I can't recall ever seeing a dobro with a volute, but i don't have a lot of experience with them,

I read that the Dopera's designed the headstock to evoke a mandolin scroll. The engraving on the resonator is really quite something. Those brothers had style!


I should clarify, just in case I gave the wrong impression; I didn't mean that I have a Dobro - I don't. I'm not sure whether or not Mosrite Dobros have a Volute. When I said my 1966 Mosrite, I was referring to the one mentioned in my signature; a 1966 Ventures II of the second version under that name, which was shortly later re-named the Ventures Mark V.

Though I own two Mandolins, I'm not sure which type of scroll headstock you're referring to.

- Austin
1966 Ventures II (German Carved, B670.)
1970s "Not a Blues Bender" Bodies: 2.
1976 Brass Rail Deluxe #10.
2013 Fender Pawn Shop Bass VI.

brrobert
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Re: 1960's Mosrite Bantar?

Postby brrobert » Thu Dec 07, 2023 6:55 am

I had a Mobro years ago... like in the 90's. I don't remember much about it-- including whether there was a volute. I can't think of a Dobro with a volute, but I'm not really a dobro player. I sound bad enough with frets; playing with a slide makes me seasick. And sustain only prolongs my mistakes...

The aesthetics of the Bantar neck doesn't really look like Mobro necks that I've found online. The similarities are more with the Mosrite electric guitar necks. I can say that this Bantar neck feels like the necks from other Mosrite electric guitars that I've owned, and shares many similarities in construction. Was it a collaboration between the Mosrite luthiers and the Dopyera brothers? We just know that it was made in a time and place where they were co-existing. I read that the first Mobros were constructed in Gardena using many of the Dopyera parts on hand. I think the used to call these kind of things "floorsweep" guitars in the Gibson Kalamazoo factory.

The reference I found to the headstock and a Mandolin scroll.... I think the design is meant to evoke the scroll in the upper bout of mandolin body, not the headstock. It is more abstract, I suppose. It was the late 60's after all!

There were some mandos with scroll headstocks, though. Here is one from a modern maker, but the older makers did that, too:

https://hirschguitars.com/models/mandol ... l-peghead/

This old Regal kind of looks like the Bantar headstock. The owner is saying it is a smurf headstock:

https://www.tdpri.com/threads/regal-rev ... s.1141527/


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