Aria Pro II Late 1970s



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·      Original arch top converted to flat head configuration by Arthur Hatfield

·      Maple neck with rosewood (or possibly ebony) fingerboard

·      Maple resonator with concentric rings

·      Carved heel stock

·      ‘Traditional’ neck inlay and ‘hearts and flowers’ fiddle shaped peg head overlay

·      Pre-two band gold plated Gotoh tuners

·      Hatfield gold plated 20 hole flat head tone ring

·      All original hardware (other than tone ring and tuners)

·      Presto four hump tail piece

·      Levy’s Leather strap

·      Early 80s Gretsch case


“As a lowly grad student at UT Knoxville in the late 70s, I loved to visit Pick ‘n Grin music store where my favorite banjos were the Aria Pro II models they had in stock. I looked forward to the day when I would be able to afford one of those. In the early 80s, I traded for a flat head version from Geoff Hohwald who was then working with the Music Mart located in Smyrna, GA. I later (1987) traded this banjo for a Gibson RB100 at Pick ‘n Grin. Truth be known, the Pro II was a better quality instrument than the mid-sixties RB100, but it was “not a Gibson!” In the mid-90s, I began my search anew for a Pro II – in particular the arch top version seen here. After a search that lasted about a year and a half, I located one through David E. Schenkman at Turtle Hill Banjos in Bryantown, Maryland. It was in excellent shape and had been played very little.  I happened to be in Knoxville at that time and carried it to Pick ‘n Grin for spikes to be installed.


Though it was an excellent instrument, I really felt the arch top configuration was not the best it could be and around 2005, I carried it to Arthur Hatfield to convert to a flat head configuration. He replaced the multi-ply rim with a 3 ply Cox and added one of his gold plated 20 hole flat head tone rings. Everything else was kept original. The banjo was actually a bit lighter and the sound is all one could expect from a maple flat head banjo with wood that is approaching forty years of age (neck and resonator). I also replaced the original tuners with a set of gold plated pre-two band Gotoh tuners and I like the contrast between the chrome (arm rest and other hardware) and gold plating.


This banjo has had a great journey to this point and it is a favorite player for me. And my memories of Pick ‘n Grin with Bud Brewster, Glen Laney, Ed Wing and others who worked there are intertwined with this instrument.”


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$ (Inquire for price) This banjo is no longer available through this website.