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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Deering goodtime openback setup question


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/357213

Gixxer340 - Posted - 09/24/2019:  08:42:40


I have searched around and have not found a specific answer to my question so I thought I would post it instead.

I have a Deering goodtime openback and, with the coordinator rod in the neutral position, the string height is very high (1/4+" at he 22nd fret). I can bring it down by shortening the rod but that puts the rim out of shape by more than 1/4" to get the strings where I want them. The banjo currently has a 5/8" bridge on it.

My questions is, should I go with a 9/16" (or even 1/2") bridge to bring the strings down or is the coordinator rod the preferred way to adjust the string height? And... If I go with a shorter bridge, will that give me more problems with my picking hand?

Thanks for any help
Jeff

Culloden - Posted - 09/24/2019:  09:42:49


A thin wooden shim at the top of the neck where it touches the rim would be the quickest way to fix this. Reshaping the heel would be the absolute best fix but try the shim first and see if it does the job.

Parker135 - Posted - 09/24/2019:  09:45:09


See if the neck can be moved up a bit little. Sometimes the Goodtime holes aren't quite where they need to be. You might consider elongating the holes a little if necessary. That's better than warping the rim.


Edited by - Parker135 on 09/24/2019 09:45:58

davidppp - Posted - 09/24/2019:  09:54:04


You should definitely check whether the neck can be mounted higher on the rim. Often those holes are elongated at the start to allow for action adjustment.

sculliganman - Posted - 09/24/2019:  10:34:43


Go to the Deering website and download the free Goodtime Maintenance manual. You should be able to slide the neck up on the rim. You should not need shims or other bridges.

Gixxer340 - Posted - 09/24/2019:  10:50:47


Thanks for all the replies. I will try the suggestions tonight and report back.

Jeff

Helix1 - Posted - 09/24/2019:  13:43:14


Nothing against this type of construction, a lot of people play notes with them. It's a spec. banjo made with jigs that have plus or minus tolerances.

So use an old credit card, they're .023" glue it to the top of the heel of your neck. Your neck angle needs to be 3 degrees, find out what the spec for them is.

If you have to ovalize a hole, do so, it won't change the value of the instrument. Leave off the rim rod for a while.

My cousin solved this by going 11/16" bridge or some acrobatic thang.

PaulRF - Posted - 09/24/2019:  15:46:16


quote:

Originally posted by Gixxer340

I have searched around and have not found a specific answer to my question so I thought I would post it instead.



I have a Deering goodtime openback and, with the coordinator rod in the neutral position, the string height is very high (1/4+" at he 22nd fret). I can bring it down by shortening the rod but that puts the rim out of shape by more than 1/4" to get the strings where I want them. The banjo currently has a 5/8" bridge on it.



My questions is, should I go with a 9/16" (or even 1/2") bridge to bring the strings down or is the coordinator rod the preferred way to adjust the string height? And... If I go with a shorter bridge, will that give me more problems with my picking hand?



Thanks for any help

Jeff






My Goodtime came with the action too high and as some people suggested here I found the best way was with a shim.  The manual does suggest adjusting the rod but like you I didn't want to put the rim out of shape.  I used some mahogany shims that Steve Davis made for me for a previous banjo but later on with another banjo I found using feeler gauges easy to use or as Helix suggested you could try a credit card.



Cheers, Paul

PaulRF - Posted - 09/24/2019:  15:59:00


I did ask Deering at the time why the neck was set high and they stated it was because a lot of claw hammer players played them.



A couple of bits from the manual.  Since I had already practiced shims on another banjo that was the easiest way for me to fix the height and it did not take long to do because if I can remember correctly all I had to do was loosing the strings right off and also the rod and just slide the shim at the top of the neck between it and the rim.  Tightened the strings again and checked the action.  Took a couple of different size shims to get the action right and this is where the feeler gauges can make it easy.



 






Edited by - PaulRF on 09/24/2019 16:12:42

Old Hickory - Posted - 09/24/2019:  16:39:21


quote:

Originally posted by Gixxer340

...string height is very high (1/4+" at he 22nd fret). I can bring it down by shortening the rod but that puts the rim out of shape by more than 1/4" to get the strings where I want them






While 1/4-inch at the 22nd fret is high, the second part of your comment strikes me as inaccurate or not likely.



I believe Deering spec is 1/8-inch at the 22nd fret, so your quarter-inch action is only 1/8-inch too high (or slightly more depending on the actual measure).  Since the amount you want to reduce the action is less than a quarter inch, the amount out of round the rim might become from tightening the coordinator rod is also less than a quarter inch.  And from my experience, the amount the neck and rim move in achieving any change in action is less than the amount of that change.



I think a combination of raising the neck up the rim (if possible) plus slight tightening/shortening of the coordinator rod will do what you want. But  f you still feel like it's taking too much co-rod adjustment to bring the action down, then shimming at the top of the heel (at the upper bolt) with a piece of credit card, veneer or aluminum flashing is a fine solution.

rudy - Posted - 09/24/2019:  19:39:15


Although coordinator rod adjustment is often suggested for setting the string height over the upper frets it is important to note that it often isn't effective with single rod banjos.  On double rod banjos adjusting the bottom rod will have a much more significant effect on action adjustment.



It does not surprise me that the OP states that it severely eggs the rim before the desired result is seen.  This simply is a poor method of setting the string height.  It's better marketing hype than being actually useful.

Gixxer340 - Posted - 09/25/2019:  09:40:05


Ok, I tried all the suggestions. I was able to get the neck to move up about 1/16th" but it didn't make the difference I wanted. I still have to pull the pot out of round to get the action down where I want it. I think it is time to try some different height bridges. Does anyone have a 9/16" and/or 1/2" that they wouldn't mind selling cheap? I don't want to spend a lot until I know what height I want to go with.

Thanks again for all the help on this.
Jeff

Old Hickory - Posted - 09/25/2019:  13:26:31


Didn't try a shim? That won't stress the rim. 



Stew-Mac has 9/16- and 1/2-inch bridges for under $5 each. The shipping will nearly double that.



Golden Gate 1/2-inch bridge on eBay, just under under $8 shipped.


Edited by - Old Hickory on 09/25/2019 13:33:42

Emiel - Posted - 09/25/2019:  13:48:33


There also may be too much neck bow. That, of course, cannot be changed as the Goodtime does not have a truss rod…

Helix1 - Posted - 09/26/2019:  06:24:10


He would have other info if there was neck bow.

Gixxer340 - Posted - 09/26/2019:  09:23:16


The neck seems fine. I could probably go with a shim and be ok, or crank down on the coordinator and be ok, or go with a lower bridge and be ok. I have actually been playing this banjo for a while now but decided to try to get the action down to where my other banjo is (about a 32nd below an 8th at the 22nd) and I didn't want to stress the rim too much to, if I didn't have to. The only thing I am worried about with the shim is that it will reduce the contact between the heel and the pot and change the sound. Maybe that would be a good thing, who knows. I will try it.

Again, Thanks for all the great advise. I will try some things and post back when I decide what worked best for me.

Thanks again
Jeff

Helix1 - Posted - 09/27/2019:  06:04:08


Jeff, I'm going to go ahead and comment on shims. You still make good contact at the heel, it just changes the angle, there isn't much wiggle room.

We are all supportive and curious as to what solution you derive for your playing style.

Gixxer340 - Posted - 09/27/2019:  06:14:58


quote:

Originally posted by Helix1

Jeff, I'm going to go ahead and comment on shims. You still make good contact at the heel, it just changes the angle, there isn't much wiggle room.



We are all supportive and curious as to what solution you derive for your playing style.






My thought is, unless the shim has the exact correct thickness, and tapers to zero over the length of the heels height, you will be sacrificing some measure of contact over the portion of the heel that the shim does not cover. Maybe I am misunderstanding how the shim is used. 



Thanks again



Jeff



 

Parker135 - Posted - 09/27/2019:  06:32:44


You may be overly concerned about the neck to pot joint and it's impact on what you hear. For example, many builders cut the heel at a slightly smaller radius than the pot in order to get a nice fit at the edges. Meaning that some contact area is sacrificed and it just doesn't seem to matter.

Helix - Posted - 09/27/2019:  06:35:10


No kidding, many of us use an old credit card. @.023, no tapering . When you gently tighten the neck again, it makes great contact.
My dog might hear any complaint.

Shims are common. I do an amount of shop and rim change out. People use various solutions to get what they want, or use what little resources they have. They bend studs, crack entry level rims, embed big lock washers into the heel instead of shims., etc.

Many of us cut our heels to a 5" radius instead of 5.5" The heel forms to your rim because there is microscopic and cellular movement. Same with a shim. Don't use cardboard or a matchbook cover, those are like blockages to the transfer of music, they dull thangs.

Gixxer340 - Posted - 09/27/2019:  06:51:49


Ok, so what is the best shim material? Plastic, wood (hardwood I assume) or metal (brass or steel). Definitely something that I will try. And 1 final question (i hope). If the rim is still out of round, with the co-rod set to neutral, should I force it back to a perfect circle or just leave it where it is naturally. And by naturally, I mean, likely where it has set to by being forced out of round for a while. (i.e. should I try to push it back to round if it has already taken a set)

Thanks
Jeff

Old Hickory - Posted - 09/28/2019:  10:14:59


People use all of those materials -- plastic, metal, wood. And each has been recommended on this site by experienced builders. I get the impression from their experiences that there is no "best."



My personal preference is wood or wood products.  I have used pieces of hardwood veneer, strips of maple binding and most recently pieces cut from hard maple cards that I bought on Etsy for this exact purpose. Here's an example. Not the same seller, but same product and comparable low cost.



For even thinner shims, I've used the wood fiber veneer sheet sold by LMII. I bought this in .02 and .01 thickness for creating pinstripe purfling lines. It was handy for shimming.



On Etsy, I also bought some brass shim stock to have just in case.



My friend Dick Guggenheim uses aluminum flashing. Several Hangout members use cut-up beer or soda cans.



And of course credit cards. It all depends on how much angle adjustment you need. As long as the neck attachment is type, the shim material seems not to matter



I understand your point about a shim creating an area of no-contact between the heel and rim, depending on the depth of the shim. A tapered shim certainly eliminates that condition, though I agree with others that it's not really a problem. You can either make your own, buy tapered carpenter's shims at a hardware store or lumber yard (though they might get too thick too fast), or buy thin tapered guitar neck shims from Stew-Mac, ranging from .25 degree to 1 degree. Costly.



Many people will say the best long-term fix is to recut the heel. If you can't do that yourself, that seems to be an unnecessary expense on a Goodtime.



I'll leave it to others to say whether an out-of-round rim is a structural or acoustic problem needing correction on a banjo with no tone ring or flange to be mal-fit from the altered shape.

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