Recently I bought an Orpheum banjo ca. 1930 that came with a Richelieu mute. I should take a picture, and when I do I'll post it. But right now all I have is the image below, showing the parts: two rubber rollers, a metal roller and the frame.
The whole thing came apart when I broke down the banjo to clean it, and while I (eventually!) figured out how to put it back together the thing strikes me as presenting a problem when it comes time to change the strings next. Of course next time it won't come apart because I'll be changing strings one-by-one, but it could still be an interesting experience.
Does anyone have experience with this odd beast? Do you like using it, do you find it useful, and do you have any tips for changing strings? Many thanks --
Although I've never had or used one of these, I'd say (given the photo of it) that you'd pretty much have to disassemble it to be able to change the strings since it seems to be both on top of and on the bottom of the strings there. Perhaps you could do one string at a time with it on, but it looks like a chore (to me). I've got a similar "problem" with my Nechville's rolling capo.
The capo rolls on two rails (one on the treble and one on the bass side of the neck) and is pretty tight against the fretboard. It's difficult to try and lift it enough to get a new string under it, so I just dismantle the capo when changing strings. It's easy enough to do, but you sure can't change strings really quickly. I guess there's a trade-off there with having my capo or your mute right there on the strings and "handy to use", vs. changing strings.
Thank you, dmiller. Do you like the rolling capo? I've never seen the need, but then I don't play gigs etc. And I never saw the need for the moveable mute but now that I've got tings set up I like it. It took me half an hour to position the bridge correctly, but once I had it in the right place the the mute began to work as I imagine it should. The tone of the banjo is nice, but it's also handy to clomp down on it a bit. As for getting used to changing strings, time will tell!