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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: First banjo? Helix Jackrabbit @$499


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/161301

Helix - Posted - 10/29/2009:  07:36:00


Value emerges in a depressed market: www.helixbanjos.com

Helix Jackrabbit @ $499 is made from high pressure VERTICAL bamboo flooring, very springy acoustic qualities. Weighs just 5 pounds with the tone ring..

specs: 18 brackets Helix rim/ 3 piece Helix neck of bamboo, laminated solid peghead and heel design. Helix tone ring and tension hoop. Ren head, Gold Tone hardware/entry planetaries. The neck has a Rosewood fretboard, Walnut top/back/heel caps. Bamboo headstock inlay. Helix headstock. spikes @ 7 & 9.

Bamboo Longneck for $49 extra. That's a Helix Antelope Jack, backwards truss rod, solid peghead and heel.

$50 shipping case required, 50% buyback on the case. Refund of shipping overages, reimbursement of overnight letter, return policy.

I am a new custom builder, I've been on the hangout for 3 years, 2 years with my trademark. I have 36 rims in 36 months being played.

The idea for the bamboo rim came from different hangout members, Xnavyguy, Roll Player who used bamboo bridges, tank772, and way leads unto way. Bamboo is structurally sound, acoustic, renewable, GREEN and lightweight..

Made in Arizona.

The Banjo Hangout.org has helped me immensely, I have met the greatest and best people here. Real culture aided by electronics. I am very grateful and very supportive. Thank you Eric, and all others involved.



















Here's Chance the Banjo from the Fuzzy Bottom Boys taking a break after chasing a Helix Jackrabbit....



http://www.helixbanjos.com
(_)===='===::}


Edited by - Helix on 11/12/2009 14:08:33

1four5 - Posted - 10/29/2009:  07:55:46


I can now vouch for Helix being one of the best sound per $ available. I've got his maple version rim (Sunbeam s/n 3) and it quickly rose to the top of my fleet and took over gig duties. At 5 pounds, my back is very happy too. It took awhile to get used to... I had to keep looking down to see if it was really a very lightweight open back I was playing. The grain orientation and construction method used, produces a rim with incredable drive.

Dean


Edited by - 1four5 on 10/29/2009 08:33:45

ksfatman - Posted - 10/29/2009:  09:10:26


Larry, can you do a scoop on the fingerboard?

jhofman01 - Posted - 10/29/2009:  13:50:07


What do the spoons do on the back of the Hurricane?

Booger McGee - Posted - 10/29/2009:  15:06:43


Neat banjo! I was just standing in the local supermarket a month ago looking at a salad bowl made from bamboo and thinking to myself "hmmm, this is beautiful, lightweight, and strong--I wonder if anyone has ever made a bamboo banjo pot?" Great minds think alike!

xnavyguy - Posted - 10/29/2009:  15:15:31


Interesting how casual conversations about ideas can eventually turn those ideas into reality. Very nice work, Mr. Hill.

Jerry

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance."

1four5 - Posted - 10/29/2009:  17:06:00


I've just got to ask, as I am totally uneducated, what wood is harder, Maple or Bamboo? The only thing I know about Bamboo (I'm showing my city slicker ignorance) is fishing poles and hippy curtians... I had no idea it grew thick enough to build stuff out of! Larry, I totally LOVE your headstock design! The first time I saw it, I thought the tear drop was a cut-out.

Dean

kyblugrass - Posted - 10/29/2009:  17:14:36


quote:
Originally posted by Booger McGee

Neat banjo! I was just standing in the local supermarket a month ago looking at a salad bowl made from bamboo and thinking to myself "hmmm, this is beautiful, lightweight, and strong--I wonder if anyone has ever made a bamboo banjo pot?" Great minds think alike!





I bet Mike Gregory has tried.

Scott
“You Can Hang a Sign on a Pig Saying It's a Horse...But It’s Still Just a Pig.”

Helix - Posted - 10/29/2009:  19:37:39


Mike Gregory carved his own longneck. He uses paper dolls to do headstocks, just folds the paper, I learned it from him.

The spoons were an idea that came while washing dishes and holding a spoon under the stream from the faucet, and watching water shoot over to the fridge when I hit the sweet spot.

Probably only 2 spoons would be enough, but the daisy of 12 lets there be two slap shots: one off the cup of one spoon to the back of the next spoon.

1935 silver, they're ten years older than me, they go ding,and they work as a passive distributor.

The horizontal flooring is only 7 or so laminations. No good , just for bridges.

The VERTICAL flooring weighs 150 grams more per piece 5/8"x 3-3/4" x 38. With 15 laminations per piece, the 3-piece neck has approx 40 laminations giving a virtual solid heel and headstock. By turning the neck beam 1/4 turn, you now have a horizontally expanding neck that won't expand vertically, so the neck will stay stronger and straighter. Truss rod is going in backwards, ala OME.

The #001 has no truss rod, I want to see what she'll do, solid peghead.

Thanks for taking a look, we have all specs. up now .

http://www.helixbanjos.com
(_)===='===::}


Edited by - Helix on 10/30/2009 06:52:25

xnavyguy - Posted - 10/30/2009:  05:09:04


Larry,
On you new homepage, the upper right image shows some planks of wood. They look a little like the chunk of grapefruit you sent me last year. That stuff had a real sweet note. I didn't see any grapefruit in your list of rim offerings. Are you planning on building any more of those? I got some pretty fantastic bridges out of that material and would think the rims would be equally fantastic.

Jerry

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance."


Edited by - xnavyguy on 10/30/2009 05:09:56

Helix - Posted - 10/30/2009:  07:01:00




This is why I like using what is at hand. This is an Orange limb when slabbed, it had this great pattern inside, I love that, I love the way God does it. Secret. Inside. Lovely, just iron deposits. Where I live, people feed and water their trees.

I have enough to make 5 grapefruit rims, then I have to go looking for more, it's rare, nobody cares about this stuff, There is an orchard grinding machine that is making urban infill, no more orchards here in Phoenix, wow.

Jerry, I have some nice 4" & 5" limbs of Grapefruit. I loved your bridges, I'll try hard to make some as nice as yours. Mail call.

http://www.helixbanjos.com
(_)===='===::}

country frank - Posted - 11/04/2009:  04:48:12


Larry, thats a really good looking banjo for the money. Fantastic wood/finish and i really like the peg head profile.

Is this the same rim that Dean has ?

BTW. i am burning you a disc right now featuring the Cherry AT no. 9

Viva Helix banjos!

Proud Union Man

Regards from London.


Helix - Posted - 11/04/2009:  20:47:41


Hi Frank, this banjo is loud and kind of brassy, sassy, I would say, lots of action with little input............

No, Dean has the same type rim as you, Fresnel, his is Maple with the same ledges inside the rim as yours.

The Bamboo is pretty springy all by itself.

http://www.helixbanjos.com
(_)===='===::}


Edited by - Helix on 11/06/2009 13:16:18

country frank - Posted - 11/05/2009:  02:01:46


BINGO!, Larry, IMVHO that fresnel system contributes massively to the performance of [these] rims. I have a bunch of other banjos, as you know, but nothing vibrates and projects like that cherry number 9 AT.
Why no-one else [to my knowledge] employs that simple but fundamental idea i just don't know. It works, Dean says it works, i know it works.

Proud Union Man

Regards from London.



Edited by - country frank on 11/09/2009 04:26:36

1four5 - Posted - 11/05/2009:  02:12:19


quote:
...but nothing vibrates and projects...


I'LL Say!!! I still look down in amazment... wondering where the power supply is and were all the sound is coming from

Dean

1four5 - Posted - 11/05/2009:  08:54:43


Frank, what head do you have on your Helix? I went through all my heads, and just picked the best old frosted generic Remo I had. I have a brand new frosted 5-Star I want to try on it, but it sounds so incredable right now, I don't want to change a thing! I only have 12 banjos in my past and what I've played in all the music stores, and nothing even comes close. My Helix has a magic in the rim that I've never heard (or felt) before.

Dean


Edited by - 1four5 on 11/07/2009 01:56:07

Helix - Posted - 11/05/2009:  16:23:23


Thank you friends, tortoise wins.

http://www.helixbanjos.com
(_)===='===::}

devoall - Posted - 11/07/2009:  00:41:49


quote:
Originally posted by country frank

One word Dean - fresnel - i am bowled that you have the same rim cut, reading your initial posts on the subject i had a feeling i was reading my own response to my Helix, if it hasn't been patented already i'd jump all over that.

Just to compare, i also have a straight walled cherry AT of Larry's. Now that has shoes instead of a OPF, and a standard inside cut, otherwise its the same as the no.9. They are apples and oranges, totally incomparable and as if one comes from mars and the other from the sun. Point is the fresnel and OPF combination to my ear [and playing style] is just head and shoulders above ANYTHING in the same league, and i really mean ANYTHING.



Proud Union Man

Regards from London.

www.myspace.com/countrygrit




I also have the Fresnel on my cherry blossom #11 It sounds pretty great. The fresnel coupled with the deeper than average open back pot make it a screamer. My banjo teacher even commented on how great it sounded(especially for the inexpensive price)and he was playing a 1920's Vega Tub a phone conversion.

Larry makes quality products.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------" Take it easy, but take it."--Woody Guthrie

country frank - Posted - 11/09/2009:  04:32:00


quote:
Originally posted by 1four5

Frank, what head do you have on your Helix? I went through all my heads, and just picked the best old frosted generic Remo I had. I have a brand new frosted 5-Star I want to try on it, but it sounds so incredable right now, I don't want to change a thing!
Dean





Hey Dean, i use a low collar, [archtop remember], thin frost remo on my Helix rims. I generally prefer the remo thin frost to pretty much any other head as [to my ear] it seems to respond better to my finger style.

That said i did try a thick frost [very thick] remo on the cherry number 10 and had some success with it. That rim is currently waiting for another neck so i might go back and have another look at the thick frost, especially as i am minded to put a long neck on it, i THINK it might sound really deep and hollow with that rim/neck combo.

Larry, i mailed you offline my friend.


Proud Union Man

Regards from London.

www.myspace.com/countrygrit

1four5 - Posted - 11/09/2009:  07:07:28


Thanks Frank!
I chickened out of putting the 5-star on my Helix, and left things as they are with the thinner frosted Remo, it just sounds to good to mess with (and that in itself is a breakthrough for me). I used it at an outdoor bluegrass jam over the weekend, and it performed fantastic! (I wish I could dsay the same for my lame playing)

Dean

RyanHerr - Posted - 11/10/2009:  07:58:12


Looks like a great value! I like to use heavier strings (13 15 22w 28w 13) and tune down to E, Eb, D, or Db. I am wondering if your banjo can handle that and how it would sound? Have you ever made a 12" pot? What about a wider neck at the nut?



Helix - Posted - 11/10/2009:  08:40:18


I have some leftover parts for 12". I haven't made larger than 12". What I like about the math of these rims is that 8 blocks work so well proportionately, whatever the size of the rim. I have tone rings already rolled, I have a notched 26 bracket counter hoop in chrome.

Thus the new 21-man 5-string banjo actually played on a flatbed trailer, no, that was last night in my dreams.

I would probably recommend a backwards truss rod, but I've had my solid neck in a test situation nightly for the last two weeks, here in the desert, stays in tune.

I'm spec.ing 1-5/16" at the nut, so wider is just a matter of, well , I know the guy cutting stuff.

We need to discuss the interior evironment from the tone ring on down. To me, that's the sports page.

The whole package of volume and tone with attack, sustain and delay comes into play, so dynamics become more expressable, less input for way more out. This isn't hype, we all play these beauties. They get better real quick. The bamboo is more open to suggestion.

I hope this helps, we are whittling away at the website to clear up any doubt..

Thanks to everyone for the gracious support. I strive to return every grain.




http://www.helixbanjos.com
(_)===='===::}


Edited by - Helix on 12/28/2009 14:30:32

mike gregory - Posted - 12/29/2009:  03:07:09


PARTIAL QUOTES:

quote:
Originally posted by kyblugrass

quote:
Originally posted by Booger McGee

>> I was just standing in the local supermarket a month ago looking at a salad bowl made from bamboo and thinking to myself "hmmm, this is beautiful, lightweight, and strong--I wonder if anyone has ever made a bamboo banjo pot?" <<



>>I bet Mike Gregory has tried.

Scott<<



I don't recall any of my four or five Salad Bowl banjos being bamboo, but that's just because I haven't seen any bamboo bowls in the thrift shop.
I do have one vey light-colored bowl that I haven't started on yet. MIGHT be bamboo.

I do have a HELIX rim, upon which I put my own Seeger-length neck.
Loudest openback I've ever played.

And, since I pick nits a lot better than I pick banjo, I will point out that I have been informed that bamboo is not a wood; it is a GRASS. Now, if you get a Helix bamboo rim, and order it stained the color of a clear summer sky, what kind of banjo IS that, by strict definition?

Brian T - Posted - 12/29/2009:  12:22:38


Because bamboo is related to smaller grasses, the distribution of the water-conducting, tubular cells is very distinctive, especially in the end/transverse view (Helix, post above, second photo from bottom of the neck blank) First, the outermost surface has a brown tone (green in the living stuff). Second, the interior woody-looking part appears dotted, freckled if you will and that pattern of "freckles" changes across each piece from most near the outside and fewer as you look inward. I see the ends of some 45 pieces of bamboo in the end of that neck blank. Extraordinary mechanical properties, that stuff.

Maybe it would be related to a Linda Ronstadt song: "Blue Banjoooo?"

mike gregory - Posted - 12/29/2009:  12:56:03


PARTIAL QUOTE:
"Maybe it would be related to a Linda Ronstadt song: "Blue Banjoooo?"

Unquote.



I knew Linda was somewhat Hispanic,
but I had never considered the Blue band Jooooish!

I learn something new here every day.

Mazel tov, blue guys!
And I hope you guys sue the Smurfs and WIN. They had no right to go steal your idea for a skin tone.

WE SHALL NOW ATTEMPT TO RETURN THIS THREAD TO A DISCUSSION OF THE "JACKRABBIT" BANJO.


Edited by - mike gregory on 12/29/2009 13:01:46

Brian T - Posted - 12/29/2009:  22:39:59


The RackJabbit what?

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