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Thread: Banjolin restoration / ukification advice sought

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    4

    Default Banjolin restoration / ukification advice sought

    Just bought a vintage banjolin (Paid over the odds for it at £100 sterling but I just loved the look of it !)
    The neck is a wreck (warped and bowed) so I intend to build a new one ( I have built necks before so Iím fairly confident about it . I wish to convert it to a uke banjo as that is what I am learning to play
    So I now have some decisions to make and would welcome comments/suggestions.
    Do I keep the same shaped head with the geared machine heads (guitar style) mounted on each side and possible cut them down to two per side (They are unplated brass so this would be quite feasible). The alternative is a banjo style headstock with friction or geared tuners. The geared option could either the schaller type or the individual side geared type
    The fretboard is narrow (1inch at the nut) so I wish to produce one of (say) 1 ľ inches.
    If I do this perhaps I may as well produce a concert scale. Any comments (well almost any !) would be appreciated) I will now try to attach photo without the aid of grandbanjolin.jpgchildren !
    Thanks in advance folks

    David Marks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wakanda
    Posts
    6,468

    Default

    If you are making a new neck AND wish to string it with 8 strings, or even just 4, standard ukes are usually 1.375" for soprano, concert and tenor nut width and baritones are 1.5" nut width.

    If you have little previous experience with fretted instruments (assumed based upon your saying 'learning to play'), I can tell you that 4-strings of uke strings are going to feel pretty tight and hard to fret notes on individual strings cleanly on a 1" or 1.25" nut.

    Just FORGET a D maj chord 2220 altogether unless your fingers are less than 1/4" wide from the last knuckle to the fingertip...

    You may want to go to a music store and try some ukes, and bring your calipers or micrometer and take some measurements and get a feel for it in your hands, for some of us, even 1/8" can make all the difference betw playability and massive frustration...

    Hope this helps!
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    928

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidFMarks View Post
    Just bought a vintage banjolin (Paid over the odds for it at £100 sterling but I just loved the look of it !)
    The neck is a wreck (warped and bowed) so I intend to build a new one ( I have built necks before so Iím fairly confident about it . I wish to convert it to a uke banjo as that is what I am learning to play
    So I now have some decisions to make and would welcome comments/suggestions.
    Do I keep the same shaped head with the geared machine heads (guitar style) mounted on each side and possible cut them down to two per side (They are unplated brass so this would be quite feasible). The alternative is a banjo style headstock with friction or geared tuners. The geared option could either the schaller type or the individual side geared type
    The fretboard is narrow (1inch at the nut) so I wish to produce one of (say) 1 ľ inches.
    If I do this perhaps I may as well produce a concert scale. Any comments (well almost any !) would be appreciated) I will now try to attach photo without the aid of grandbanjolin.jpgchildren !
    Thanks in advance folks

    David Marks
    Hi David,
    I have converted a couple or three of these type of instruments over the years, my advice for what it's worth would be a concert scale neck, headstock shape of your choice, 1 inch and 3/8th at the nut. Grover or similar open geared tuners and you're good to go. From what I can see the head and body seem in good shape, so no extra expense there.
    Best of luck,
    email me If I can be of any help.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dpophotography@yahoo.co.nz
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Many thanks for the helpful advice folks! I Will make a concert scale neck as you suggest. When you say 1 3/8" I presume that is the full width of the nut as distict from the distance between the outer strings. I built a concert scale and a tenor which I based on the Deering Goodtime as I had a couple of banjos spare with nice hardware. Both of them seem to play well and are comfortable to finger. The nut width on both of those is 1 1/2inches but I feel that is starting to look a bit heavy for the body of the old mandolin banjo. As mentioned previously the existing neck on the one I will be restoring is only 1 inch .. Looks slim and elegant but I wouldn't give much for my chances of playing it. I will post a photo when its finished . Wont be yet I'm afraid as the agreement with "senior mnagement" is that I was allowed to purchase it if she can give it to me on my birthday in August ( my 80th for God's sake ... how the devil did that happen ?) Need to crack on then and finish it before I fall off the perch ! Thanks again folks ... very helpful
    Kind regards
    David

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    928

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidFMarks View Post
    Many thanks for the helpful advice folks! I Will make a concert scale neck as you suggest. When you say 1 3/8" I presume that is the full width of the nut as distict from the distance between the outer strings. I built a concert scale and a tenor which I based on the Deering Goodtime as I had a couple of banjos spare with nice hardware. Both of them seem to play well and are comfortable to finger. The nut width on both of those is 1 1/2inches but I feel that is starting to look a bit heavy for the body of the old mandolin banjo. As mentioned previously the existing neck on the one I will be restoring is only 1 inch .. Looks slim and elegant but I wouldn't give much for my chances of playing it. I will post a photo when its finished . Wont be yet I'm afraid as the agreement with "senior mnagement" is that I was allowed to purchase it if she can give it to me on my birthday in August ( my 80th for God's sake ... how the devil did that happen ?) Need to crack on then and finish it before I fall off the perch ! Thanks again folks ... very helpful
    Kind regards
    David
    Hi David,
    Yes, 1 3/8ths inch refers to the Nut width.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dpophotography@yahoo.co.nz
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

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