Hi folks. I'm thinking about putting nylon strings on a bottlecap banjo. I know some people have done it on here as I've searched some old posts but I'm wondering if I'll need to change the tailpiece. I cant find anything specifically relating to this in older posts. It has a cheap tailpiece at the moment but wondered what tailpiece I'd need. Would I need to fit a wooden one? The banjo is a cheap Chinese produced one and about 20-25 years old. To be fair it doesn't sound to bad I just thought I'd have a go experimenting with it. Cheers fellers. Dave
Cheers fellers. So I can use the metal tailpiece without it tearing up the nylon strings. I didn't know how to attach a wooden tailpiece to be honest I've seen a few on Google images that look like they are wired or strung on. I think I might change the nut anyway for what its worth
If it's the usual cheapo tailpiece I'd recommend getting a no-knot tailpiece. The way I tie nylon strings meant the loop was too long to thread the strings through the holes to go under the plate. To get around this I chain drilled and filed a slot near the end of the plate and ignored the holes made for the strings. I then pulled the strings on top of the plate and through the slot. Though this could all probably be avoided if you tie strings a different way to me.
There are strings made of nylon and string made of polyester.
With nylon, like those sold by Labella, they are somewhat abrasion resistant and don't stretch that much (but still stretch).
The polyester compound sold as "nylgut" tend to be compromised very easily by any slightly sharp or rough edge. They also stretch excessively.
I have found that with nylon any tailpiece can be made to work. A simple taut line hitch directly to the post (with a small overhand stopper knot) would have prevented the loops from stretching open. I typically use a figure 8 on a bight for my loops. It is easy to control the loop size and they are super fast to tie.
I would not get into changing parts on a bottle cap-- even a $10 no knot would be too much. There are plenty of classic era banjos that may be had for cheap right now (which were all designed to be strung with gut).
About nylon strings, Pete Seeger wrote in "How to play the 5-string banjo" (pagina 51) : They have a soft, sweet tone. Paul Cadwell tells me he prefers to go to a sporting goods store and get nylon fishing leader. The 1st and 5th strings use the kind guaranteed for a 10 lb fish. The 2nd a 15 lb fish, the 3rd a 20 lb fish.