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Tudorp
04-01-2011, 08:15 AM
Bango is my 1930 Harmony Banjole I restored a few years ago. I decided to do some major surgery on Bango a couple weeks ago. He really didn't have a fretboard. The old brass bar frets were simply pushed directly in the neck wood. When I restored Bango awhile back, I lowered the action quite a bit to where he was playable. But, action was still higher than I like as Banjoles usually are. Besides that, the old brass bar frets are rough at best to play and not very smooth. Can shave your fingerprints right off if you get carried away. So, I decided, he needs surgery to compete with the late model banjoles that are a bit more user friendly. Attached are a couple pictures of Bango as he preps for surgery.

his neck, old brass bar frets and markers removed.
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/04012011d.jpg?t=1301680819

Then I sanded the old finish off the surface so I will have good adhesion of the titebond II and the new rosewood fretboard.

Thanks to Scott (Two Dogs Plucking) for donating his time and materials for this surgery. Scott out of the kindness of his heart sent me a new rosewood fretboard scaled to 12 3/4" scale (Bango was 13" scale what that was an odd scale), a fist full of fret wire, and pearloid markers. Thanks Scott, the 12 3/4" scale is perfect, and will better than the old odd ball scale Bango was born with.

So, at the moment, Bango is laying in my music area in traction as he bonds with his new rosewood. Then, installing the frets, and markers, then clean up and dressed.

What this will accomplish is allot really. I will be able to lower the action a bit more as I like, AND be able to raise the string to skin distance to gain back the sustain and volume I lose in the original nut and bridge work to lower his action before. With a new nut and bridge adjusted to the new fretboard will bring my action as it should be, and give me that distance for the strings to ring on the skin. Lovin it.

In the meantime, while I wait, I decided to do something with those ugly white buttons on the geared tuners I put on him a couple years ago. I stained them in a solution I came up with of coffee grounds, a bit of red mahogany powder stain from Re-Ranch, and a few cap fulls of denatured alcohol. Makes a nasty brew to let the white buttons sit in for about an hour. After removing and cleaning them up, here is what I ended up with. Cool looking I think..

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/tunerstain2.jpg?t=1301680819

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/tunerstain1.jpg?t=1301680819

They'll be more of Bango later...

Thanks again Scott for your help with the new parts..

Steve vanPelt
04-01-2011, 08:25 AM
Generally, most folks call me Steve, but Scott isn't too bad I guess. I've been called worse. Glad to see Bango is bonding with his new fingerboard, and I'll be watching this thread as it progresses. Oh, and the dots are mother of pearl, no 'oid' involved. Those tuner knobs look pretty cool. Looks like this is going to be a great project.

Steve

Tudorp
04-01-2011, 08:31 AM
Generally, most folks call me Steve, but Scott isn't too bad I guess. I've been called worse. Glad to see Bango is bonding with his new fingerboard, and I'll be watching this thread as it progresses. Oh, and the dots are mother of pearl, no 'oid' involved. Those tuner knobs look pretty cool. Looks like this is going to be a great project.

Steve

Ah sXXXt.. .Sorry about that Bill.. Uh.. I mean Steve.. hahhahha.. I was just chatting with an old high school buddy of mine this morning, His name is Scott, so apparently I still have him in mind, lol..

Again, apologies.. ;)

Tudorp
04-01-2011, 08:42 AM
By the way Steve.. 2nd to none packing on that fretboard.. I thought I was trying to get into a toy from Toys-R-Us, hahhah.. Man, you had that thing bound up so tight, it isn't rosewood anymore, it's diamond.. hehheh.. Thanks for that tho.. I was concerned about it being thin and breaking in transit..

ksiegel
04-01-2011, 08:49 AM
Just wondering... did bango originally have friction tuners, rather than the geared tuners?

The neck is similar to my old Stella, including the frets right into the wood but the Stella has friction tuners - I've been told they are "Champion" pegs, which is virtually identical to the Grover 2B tuners.

As to the action, that explains why the bridge on my Stella was a 3/8" bridge, rather than the 1/2" or 5/8" that seems to be standard nowadays.

Of course, I had to replace my bridge, still need to sand the new Grover 30 down to a lower height, and figure out where to get a file to deepen the notches so the strings stop popping out. I tried folding a piece of sandpaper, but it makes a wide "V", rather than just a deeper notch.

I'm looking forward to seeing Bango's rebirth - almost as much as I'm looking forward to my new Firefly Banjo Uke from Fluke!

-Kurt

Tudorp
04-01-2011, 09:07 AM
Kurt,

Bango originally had friction. When I got him a few years ago, he was a basket case, and had two tuners, one cracked, and the other, just worn out. One of the holes was messed up too, so I just re-drilled them slightly over and fitted it with a set of Ping geared tuners. Bango was in bad shape when I got him. I was able to save the skin, so he has his original head skin which I thought was cool.

As far as strings popping out, it does on Bango too sometimes, but I think that is just a banjo thing if you are getting into it, it'll pop out. I deepened the grooves a little on Bangos bridge, but ya don't want to go too deep, or cause binding (will cause tuning issues). A cheap set of jewlers files works just fine. They have several shapes in a set, including square, flat, round and a couple others..

Bangos bridge started out as a 1/2" but took that down to 3/8" or so, then built him a nut out of bone to set up action then. Of course, all that has to be done again with a new set to accomidate the different height of the fretboard.

Jnobianchi
04-01-2011, 09:19 AM
Great thread! I'll be watching your progress!

Tudorp
04-01-2011, 09:32 AM
Bango is under tremendious pressure as I put the squeeze on his neck.

Here is Bango's neck, under traction until tomorrow. Funny thing I noticed. He has a modern bar type clamp (new school), and an old wood clamp that is every bit as old as he is, if not older (old school). I love those old clamps and always seem to use them (I have a garage full of those old school tools). Just thought that was a funny detail in the photo ;).

Tomorrow I will hammer in his mother of Perle markers, and the new frets... I can't wait to play him again..

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/bangosurgery4.jpg?t=1301686107

ksiegel
04-01-2011, 10:00 AM
As far as strings popping out, it does on Bango too sometimes, but I think that is just a banjo thing if you are getting into it, it'll pop out. I deepened the grooves a little on Bangos bridge, but ya don't want to go too deep, or cause binding (will cause tuning issues). A cheap set of jewlers files works just fine. They have several shapes in a set, including square, flat, round and a couple others

So, where does one find jeweler's files? I looked at Home Depot and Lowe's, and they don't know what I'm talking about. (Surprised? Not really.)

I figure I'll copare the old bridge to the new, and try and file the slots the same height - they never popped out of the old bridge. (the one that snapped in half when i tried to move it...)

Come to think of it, I've never had strings pop out of the bridge on the 5-string banjo, but I figured that was because the metal strings intrude on the wood.

-Kurt

Tudorp
04-01-2011, 10:06 AM
So, where does one find jeweler's files? I looked at Home Depot and Lowe's, and they don't know what I'm talking about. (Surprised? Not really.)

I figure I'll copare the old bridge to the new, and try and file the slots the same height - they never popped out of the old bridge. (the one that snapped in half when i tried to move it...)

Come to think of it, I've never had strings pop out of the bridge on the 5-string banjo, but I figured that was because the metal strings intrude on the wood.

-Kurt

On an actual banjo it isn't so bad, due to the metal strings, and they are under allot more tension than a uke. Also depends on the material of the bridge. I use maple bridge with ebony insert w/bone against the strings. that being a bit harder I think may be cause of the popping out being more common. It's not too bad tho if slotted for it.

No suprise they don't know what you are talking about at Home Depo. Basically the Radio Shack of the home improvement places, hahhaha.. But, they probably have them there. But if not, you can get them at pretty much any art, or hobby store, ebay is chaukled full of sets for a few bucks. But, hobby and modling uses them allot so anywhere that sells modling supplies. Harbor Freight, Northern Tool and Supply, any of those places will have em..

Chap
04-01-2011, 11:48 AM
For jeweler's files, and other small tools, I go with Micro Mark when shopping online, or check out any local hobby store that carries model train or R/C supplies.

Tudorp
04-01-2011, 11:51 AM
For jeweler's files, and other small tools, I go with Micro Mark when shopping online, or check out any local hobby store that carries model train or R/C supplies.

Actually I am shocked I forgot that one. I have a dang tool bag full of small tools from there in support of my model railroading hobby. Love that place..

Tudorp
04-02-2011, 04:36 AM
Bango got out of traction this morning and then a good sanding. After looking at the neck, the headstock looked kinda weird now being not at the same level as the fretboard. It would work, but more of a cosmetic thing. So, I decided to laminate it to thicken the headstock, and bring it to the same level as the fretboard. By the way Steve, thanks for the scrap peices you packed with the fretboard, they worked perfectly for a laminate. I guess they are maple? But anyway, I wanted to make it look like a faux Ebony laminate which is kinda common I think on higher end string instruments. Gibson does it allot anyway. So, I think an ebony laminate headstock would look good on Bango too. I am thinking about inlaying "Bango" in some sort of script on it too, but not sure yet. If I can find a scrap peice of mother of pearl somewhere I'll use that.

But anyway, after the headstock lamination sets for awhile, I'll sand it smooth with the headstock, re-drill for the tuners, and move on from there.. So far, looking pretty good.. Might hammer in the frets and markers later today..

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/bango34.jpg?t=1301754570

Tudorp
04-02-2011, 09:16 AM
I still need to do some work on Bango, but couldnt wait to play it, so I slammed him back together for a trail run. He plays wonderful now, as a new banjole. I need to take him back apart, refinish neck and all, clean and dress the neck and headstock up a bit, make a new nut and he's jammin again. Sounds much better, and the action is WONDERFUL. The action is like playing a standard uke now.. Awesome decision if I say so myself to do this modification. Now, back for the post op stuff.. ;)

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/P1020961.jpg?t=1301771570

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/P1020962.jpg?t=1301771570

itsme
04-02-2011, 09:46 AM
I really like how the dye job on the tuning buttons came out. Very creative of you. :)

ksiegel
04-02-2011, 10:07 AM
Looks very nice! But... what are those colored strings? OOOOooooooooooooooohhhhhh..... SHINEY!!!!!



-Kurt

Tudorp
04-02-2011, 10:36 AM
hahaha.. Those strings I got from Jasper Happy in the UK. He makes them. They are fun, but kinda "bright" for me. I put them on Bango for awhile, and just stuck them back on him since they are still good and didn't want to open up a new set until I get him all set up right.. Jasper started doing that for his students so he can tell them the strings by their colors vs by their number, then people started liking them, so he started selling them on Ebay. The cool thing about them, is they are small diameter, and all are "about" the same in diameter.

Tudorp
04-02-2011, 11:49 AM
Bango's new and improved neck, with a little color...
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/bangoneck6.jpg?t=1301780822

Also, while I was feeling creative today, I thought I would remedy another issue typical with banjos. Sometimes they can be uncomfortable with your arm resting on the tension ring and the J hooks. So, a solid mahogany armrest sounded nice.. Now I just need to find some armrest brackets for it.
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Bango%20Surgery/armrest.jpg?t=1301780822

Gmoney
04-02-2011, 12:11 PM
Tudorp, I just HAD to comment on your ingenuity, skill, & persistence. This project is looking so FINE! Here I sit w/an unstarted soprano Grizzly kit not 10 steps away, a vintage Camp Uke hanging on the wall w/a couple of small cracks that need repairing to make it saleable or playable. In the meantime, you disassemble a banjo uke, sand it down, trim, fret & affix a new fretboard & headstock veneer, reattach the neck for fit/finish/playing & then take it back off for finishing! Oh & while you are at it you make a mahogany armrest for it?!?! You rock, brother!! You are an inspiration!

From the UUBL thread to everywhere else you post on UU, thanks for sharing your bit of the world w/the rest of us!

ALOHA!

Tudorp
04-03-2011, 01:28 AM
Thanks.. But I just enjoy working little projects with my hands. It's therapudic for me. Besides that, the banjo comes apart and goes together pretty easy. That's one of the many reason I love banjos..

dkcrown
04-03-2011, 02:22 AM
I really like what you did to those tuner buttons, Tudorp. It is interesting how the stain took to them. They look like stone.

Tudorp
04-03-2011, 02:30 AM
Thanks.. That's kinda what I was hoping for, although I was open to whatever came out of it. I heated the mixture up a little bit (don't do this at home, ;)) which was a risk working with alcohol, but I was in the science mindset that it would loosen up the molecular yadda yadda of the plastic making it take to the dye better and permanently. I'm no science guru, but it sounded good in my head, lol.. But, the dye did take very well, and in a cool random pattern. I do like how it came out too.

BTW: I did it to the white buttons on "Iz" too (Ohana sk-35)

Gmoney
04-03-2011, 03:19 AM
Looks very nice! But... what are those colored strings? OOOOooooooooooooooohhhhhh..... SHINEY!!!!!


Tudorp already mentione where he gets here, but another UU member mentioned that she gets hers here:

http://www.guadalupecustomstrings.com/the_strings

Specifically, the "Fibre Core". Has them on all her ukes. Also likes the white ones as well. I think I may order a set or two to give them a go.

Tudorp
04-03-2011, 03:38 AM
Jasper Happy sells them for about $5 for a two sets. Shipping was only a buck or so to the USA. They aren't bad strings really, just brighter than I like. But what I do like about them is their small diameter. On Jasper's anyway, I can't speak for the others..