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Banjo/Banjolin head replacement

Richard Bridge 24 Aug 05 - 04:39 AM
Dave Hanson 24 Aug 05 - 04:55 AM
mooman 24 Aug 05 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 24 Aug 05 - 06:09 AM
Leadfingers 24 Aug 05 - 06:29 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Aug 05 - 11:55 AM
mooman 24 Aug 05 - 12:09 PM
Dave Hanson 25 Aug 05 - 02:42 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Aug 05 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Russ 29 Jun 09 - 04:01 PM
leftydee 30 Jun 09 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,cliffy 12 Feb 10 - 12:44 AM
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Subject: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 04:39 AM

I tried to search but the search was not working.....

I am trying to get a banjolin (an 8-string mandolin-sized(and tuned) banjo) playable after rescuing it from a skip (dumpster).

I'm nearly there but when I bring the strings up to pitch the skin (head) sags a lot, even though it sounds tight when no strings are on. The little feet on the bridge look as if they might almost go through it. I'm using standard light (9 thou top strings) mandolin strings. Are these too heavy?

Well, I could tighten it until it looked right. HOw tight is "right" and how do I konw when I get there? I am missing two tensioners so I am worried about tensioning the skin too much.

Or I could put another bit of wood (something like a lollipop stick (a flat one, not a round one) or a bit bigger) under the feet of the bridge to raise it a fraction and also to spread the load on the skin.

What is worrying me is that if I split the skin - do they come in standard sizes (this one seems to be 9 inches, but, and it may be a big but, it looks to me as if the metal hoop round it which the tensioners pull on came from the manufacturer attached to the skin like a drumhead).   

Is this plausible? There is no manufacturer's name on the banjolin and parts of it look a bit home-made. If I split a skin like that are replacements available with the metal hoop attached? Or is the price of such a thing likley to be more than a dumpster banjolin is worth?

I see other banjolins on ebay - they usually look as if they have smaller heads (maybe about 8 inch) with wooden pots on the back. Mine is open-back. Are skins replacable/available with rim if necessary in standard sizes for such things, and how much do they cost?


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 04:55 AM

Richard go to FRETS.COM run by Frank Ford, there is everything and more about all stringed instrument repair, set up and maintenance.

eric


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: mooman
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 05:37 AM

Richard,

It sounds like you have a vellum rather than synthetic head. Possibly it could take a little more tightening but there is always the risk of splitting and they need to be tightened evenly which may be a problem if you have a couple of tensioners missing.

A good man for this sort of thing is Andy Perkins in Faversham. He has a huge range of banjo bits and pieces and certainly could replace a vellum. It's a bit tricky to attach the vellum to the ring if you haven't done it before but easy for someone accustomed to it. A new head, vellum or synthetic, shouldn't cost very much. Another person who can do this is Doug Parry (but I don't have his details any more).

Peace,

Richard (moo)


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 06:09 AM

Doug Parry is somewhere in Hertfordshire, sorry can't be more precise but there is always Dave Stacey, banjo maker supreme in Letchworth, Herts and you might also Try Pete Stanley in north London.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 06:29 AM

Richard - Doug Parry trades as John Alvey Turner http://www.johnalveyturner.co.uk
in Ware Herts but Andy Perkins is closer to you . Best of luck with it !


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 11:55 AM

I have history with Perkins - and it is not good.

The head is vellum. I like that sound better.

It seems that the skin does have to be attached to the ring - so if it gets buggered I'll just have to find out how. Careful with that axe Eugene.

This instrument is truly crap - I just wanted something to plunk really loudly at morris dancers with. No truss rod. No means to true the neck to the body. Non-matching machine heads (one side back to front). Headstock had been split up the middle and when I got it the machine heads were nailed on(!).

A Perkins solution is likely to be unaffordable (I was talking to someone else who used to use Perkins the other day). I expect Perkins is good if you have a really good banjo and want an expert on banjos.

Perkins site seems to charge a considerable amount for the tensioners too - and I see his tailpieces are three to four times the price on ebay and his bridges much more than the one I got in my local shop.

So what about putting a foot under the bridge to raise it and spread the load? I could try that later tonight when I have re-cut the nut that I was "rebuilding" yesterday with superglue gel.


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: mooman
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 12:09 PM

OK...didn't know all that!

The lollipop stick idea would certainly spread the load and, as the instrument is not a fine one, could provide a servicable solution.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 25 Aug 05 - 02:42 AM

Get in touch with Tony Sullivan at Halshaw Music, he's pretty much of an expert and a nice guy to boot.

eric


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Aug 05 - 05:57 AM

Thank you for the tip eric.

I have spoken to Tony, and ordered the missing hooks and attachments, and a proper banjo-mandolin bridge, for a very modest sum, and I may be on my way to resolution!

He alo advised me that it seems as if my vellum is way too slack, so when I get the new hooks and can clean up the threads on the old ones I will be trying to winch it up a bit!


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 04:01 PM

Richard,

Skin heads have their own rules. They are quite sensitive to relative humidity. If you get too enthusiastic about winching the head up on a humid day, it might pop on a dry day. If you have a hair dryer you might want to apply it gently to the head to dry it out a bit and raise the bridge. I have reconciled myself the fact that there will be days when I will get no useful sound out of the instrument.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and banjo player)


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: leftydee
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 09:57 AM

Lark In The Morning (google it)probably has anything you need.


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Subject: RE: Banjo/Banjolin head replacement
From: GUEST,cliffy
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:44 AM

I need a 11,5cm vellum {framus nashville}.searched high and low.my one has a hairline
crack.help


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