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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Should I buy a long neck an put it on an old pot? Is that Possible? How do?


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/376598

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  08:00:04


How Do indeed...



Hi,



I'm currently (more like constantly) thinking about upgrading to a long neck banjo and being left handed and in the UK has left me with limited options.



To my knowledge, I can either buy a rarely sold pre owned, pay big bucks for a custom, import one from US, or buy the parts and put it together myself.



currently I am looking into the building it myself option and have come across this listing for a neck on ebay.

 



Can anyone with experience in this area take a look and let me know if its a good buy or not? I understand the 5th strings machine head hasn't been installed and this has made me hesitant but maybe that is easier then i imagine? 



What do we think gang? Buy this for about £200 including shipping and start buying the other parts or do i just accept that i'm better off just saving up £1000+ and looking for something not put together on my kitchen table?



 

csacwp - Posted - 07/26/2021:  08:05:57


You are better off saving up for a purpose-built long neck. Those Asian necks on eBay are poorly made and use unseasoned (green) wood. Installation on an old pot made for a dowel stick would be a fair amount of work, and you'd have to butcher an antique in the process.


Edited by - csacwp on 07/26/2021 08:06:59

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  08:15:46


quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

You are better off saving up for a purpose-built long neck. Those Asian necks on eBay are poorly made and use unseasoned (green) wood. Installation on an old pot made for a dowel stick would be a fair amount of work, and you'd have to butcher an antique in the process.






Ah I see. Doesn't sound like something that would last long. 



Sorry I think shouldn't have used the word "old". I think I've mislead you into thinking I've got something aged and beautiful. 



I mean the pot from my Harley Benton HBJ-25LH or the Ozark 2104GL that has been in my parents attic for the last few years. 



 



Thanks for the reply :)

csacwp - Posted - 07/26/2021:  08:26:50


quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

You are better off saving up for a purpose-built long neck. Those Asian necks on eBay are poorly made and use unseasoned (green) wood. Installation on an old pot made for a dowel stick would be a fair amount of work, and you'd have to butcher an antique in the process.






Ah I see. Doesn't sound like something that would last long. 



Sorry I think shouldn't have used the word "old". I think I've mislead you into thinking I've got something aged and beautiful. 



I mean the pot from my Harley Benton HBJ-25LH or the Ozark 2104GL that has been in my parents attic for the last few years. 



 



Thanks for the reply :)






I see. Do those pots accept coordinator rods or a dowel stick? 

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  08:32:34


quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

You are better off saving up for a purpose-built long neck. Those Asian necks on eBay are poorly made and use unseasoned (green) wood. Installation on an old pot made for a dowel stick would be a fair amount of work, and you'd have to butcher an antique in the process.






Ah I see. Doesn't sound like something that would last long. 



Sorry I think shouldn't have used the word "old". I think I've mislead you into thinking I've got something aged and beautiful. 



I mean the pot from my Harley Benton HBJ-25LH or the Ozark 2104GL that has been in my parents attic for the last few years. 



 



Thanks for the reply :)






I see. Do those pots accept coordinator rods or a dowel stick? 






coordinator rods for both.

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  08:37:05


For more context...



The pots and other parts I would likely use would be either scavenged from an old Ozark 2104GL that's been gathering dust in my parents attic for a few years or my Harley Benton HBJ-25LH or bought new from ebay.

csacwp - Posted - 07/26/2021:  09:02:48


If you can find a neck that uses coordinator rods, fitting it to one of those pots would be fairly straight forward. You'd potentially have to shape the neck heel fit the pot though.

Helix - Posted - 07/26/2021:  09:12:09


To make a lefty, we just flip the pattern



Both of your pots will accept a longneck

A regular dreadnought guitar case will accept a longneck, but a bass gigbag has more padding



I have used one of the Asian longnecks supplied by the customer. You might have to cut the heel to the right angle

Also return policy isn’t even worth the original purchase. Tempting, huh?



Find a local cabinet shop and go play banjo for them, run their broom, get scrap, earn it, learn from them,  I get solid Cherry scrap 2” x 12” x 24” for rims and a song. Banjos make friends



You can make a fine laminated neck from thin pieces and a shadow pattern you can make from the necks you have at hand You need to extend the 22 frets to 25, that, too is possible



Good tuners, better tuners, etc are online, use a geared 5th

You can cannibalize one of the other necks for the nut and tuners and fingerboard if need be, but more fun is building

Here’s a picture of a 60 yr old 5 piece lammy neck from a barn factory called Stamm



There is a lefty neck website


Edited by - Helix on 07/26/2021 09:14:58




Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  09:14:39


quote:

Originally posted by csacwp

If you can find a neck that uses coordinator rods, fitting it to one of those pots would be fairly straight forward. You'd potentially have to shape the neck heel fit the pot though.






 I'm not sure what you mean by "shape the neck heel to fit the pot".



or rather, I cant picture how that would be done?

csacwp - Posted - 07/26/2021:  09:20:48


The curvature/shape of the neck heel may not sit flush against the pot, in which case you'd have to reshape it using files, etc.

Helix - Posted - 07/26/2021:  09:30:21


At a 3 degrees slant, the neck heel needs to be cut to a 5” radius to tightly fit the 11” pot
Better if done by drum sander, but hand chiseling was done in olden days

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  09:31:30


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

To make a lefty, we just flip the pattern



Both of your pots will accept a longneck

A regular dreadnought guitar case will accept a longneck, but a bass gigbag has more padding



I have used one of the Asian longnecks supplied by the customer. You might have to cut the heel to the right angle

Also return policy isn’t even worth the original purchase. Tempting, huh?



Find a local cabinet shop and go play banjo for them, run their broom, get scrap, earn it, learn from them,  I get solid Cherry scrap 2” x 12” x 24” for rims and a song. Banjos make friends



You can make a fine laminated neck from thin pieces and a shadow pattern you can make from the necks you have at hand You need to extend the 22 frets to 25, that, too is possible



Good tuners, better tuners, etc are online, use a geared 5th

You can cannibalize one of the other necks for the nut and tuners and fingerboard if need be, but more fun is building

Here’s a picture of a 60 yr old 5 piece lammy neck from a barn factory called Stamm



There is a lefty neck website






wow that's beautiful. 



hmmm yeah that return policy is a bit poopy. I would ask you if that neck you put on was any good but then who knows if that came from the same place. 





haha yes maybe if i were a better carpenter I'd give building my own.



 



do you have a link to the lefty neck website? 

GrahamHawker - Posted - 07/26/2021:  10:10:33


quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

coordinator rods for both.






I have a feeling that these have the single co-ordinator rod and screw through the heel system and probably have a single large hole in the rim which will make standard co-ordinator rods tricky.  There are people in the UK who make necks. This person often sells banjos and necks on Ebay.



ebay.co.uk/itm/294293244500



So you could buy a half decent banjo, fit a neck you have had made and then sell the right hand neck.

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  10:48:09


quote:

Originally posted by GrahamHawker

quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

coordinator rods for both.






I have a feeling that these have the single co-ordinator rod and screw through the heel system and probably have a single large hole in the rim which will make standard co-ordinator rods tricky.  There are people in the UK who make necks. This person often sells banjos and necks on Ebay.



ebay.co.uk/itm/294293244500



So you could buy a half decent banjo, fit a neck you have had made and then sell the right hand neck.






yes that exactly them. One big hole and a single co-ordinator rod. 



how does it make it tricky? do long necks have 2 co-ordinator rods?



excellent. I will keep an eye on the store. 



I wonder how much it will cost to get someone to make me a neck? 

GrahamHawker - Posted - 07/26/2021:  10:58:54


quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

yes that exactly them. One big hole and a single co-ordinator rod. 



how does it make it tricky? do long necks have 2 co-ordinator rods?



excellent. I will keep an eye on the store. 



I wonder how much it will cost to get someone to make me a neck? 






Decent banjos have two co-ordinator rods with small holes in the rim. The large hole could be in the way. The screw through the heel connection is found on cheap and often a bit nasty banjos and is weak. Some banjos have one of the better co-ordinator rods and a bolt connection instead of a rod which is OK.

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  11:19:10


quote:

Originally posted by GrahamHawker

quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

yes that exactly them. One big hole and a single co-ordinator rod. 



how does it make it tricky? do long necks have 2 co-ordinator rods?



excellent. I will keep an eye on the store. 



I wonder how much it will cost to get someone to make me a neck? 






Decent banjos have two co-ordinator rods with small holes in the rim. The large hole could be in the way. The screw through the heel connection is found on cheap and often a bit nasty banjos and is weak. Some banjos have one of the better co-ordinator rods and a bolt connection instead of a rod which is OK.






Oh okay. That makes sense. I guess I'd have better results buying a pot made for 2 co-ord rods rather then trying rig up a new neck to my current / old pots.

Andyrhydycreuau - Posted - 07/26/2021:  11:19:52


Fitting the fifth string tuner isn't hard. Andy Banjo advises on the hole size for a tight fit. From memory it's 9.5mm diameter and 10mm deep.
I got my long neck off eBay for a bargain, and old pot, with an Asian neck already fitted to an old Vega Tubaphone pot. (By a uk luthier and with a dowel and Vega neck brace)
It was being played as a super long plectrum, so the owner didn't want a 5th string. I don't know where the neck came from, (except Asia...) but it's straight and true and solid.
TBH it's brilliant, versatile, and probably good for technique as it makes you find alternative fret hand fingering. Good luck!

J.Albert - Posted - 07/26/2021:  11:29:48


My advice:



You're in the UK, so getting any banjo is going to be a bit more difficult, especially if it's coming from the USA.



Forget about a "long neck". Aside from the "styling", they offer very little over a regular-length neck.

So...set your sights on finding a left-handed standard neck.

That's going to make things much easier.



And start looking for one that's all "put together", be it used or new.

Because its a lefty, THAT is going to be hard enough in itself.

There aren't many of them to begin with, not even in the US.



If I was in England and had-to-have a lefty-long-neck, I'd give Prucha a call in the Czech Republic. He can custom build one, as good or better than any banjo you could find anywhere else. But it's gonna COST you.



You didn't tell us if you have a budget, and what it is...?

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  11:35:54


quote:

Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau

Fitting the fifth string tuner isn't hard. Andy Banjo advises on the hole size for a tight fit. From memory it's 9.5mm diameter and 10mm deep.

I got my long neck off eBay for a bargain, and old pot, with an Asian neck already fitted to an old Vega Tubaphone pot. (By a uk luthier and with a dowel and Vega neck brace)

It was being played as a super long plectrum, so the owner didn't want a 5th string. I don't know where the neck came from, (except Asia...) but it's straight and true and solid.

TBH it's brilliant, versatile, and probably good for technique as it makes you find alternative fret hand fingering. Good luck!






 



Wow nice to hear from someone who's had a similar product. Would it be alright to ask you about the price and if you have any pics (so i can feel jealous haha)?

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  12:05:50


quote:

Originally posted by J.Albert

My advice:



You're in the UK, so getting any banjo is going to be a bit more difficult, especially if it's coming from the USA.



Forget about a "long neck". Aside from the "styling", they offer very little over a regular-length neck.

So...set your sights on finding a left-handed standard neck.

That's going to make things much easier.



And start looking for one that's all "put together", be it used or new.

Because its a lefty, THAT is going to be hard enough in itself.

There aren't many of them to begin with, not even in the US.



If I was in England and had-to-have a lefty-long-neck, I'd give Prucha a call in the Czech Republic. He can custom build one, as good or better than any banjo you could find anywhere else. But it's gonna COST you.



You didn't tell us if you have a budget, and what it is...?






you're right. Left handed is weirdly the bigger hurdle of the two. 



Currently I don't plan on giving up long necks and pretending to be cack handed Pete Seeger but that does feel like it might be the sensible choice.



I'm not sure i Know who Prucha is. Is he a forum member? or just a well known Luthier?



gosh budget... I'd planned on the Ebay build being £200 for the neck and then about £100 to £150 for rest.



If i were to buy a commercial one. I'd go £1000 - £1500 but then i'd need a couple months to set that money aside.



(I don't know how much a custom banjo costs but would be willing to have savings goals)


Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/26/2021 12:16:23

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  13:13:33


There's a guy here in Wisconsin, USA, who holds a right-handed 5 string upside down.
I moved his 5th peg down to near the tailpiece, so it wouldn't stick out in his way.

If you don't ALREADY play a regular length 5-string, why not teach yourself to play upside down, and then get a regular 5-string long neck.


Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  13:21:06


quote:

Originally posted by mike gregory

There's a guy here in Wisconsin, USA, who holds a right-handed 5 string upside down.

I moved his 5th peg down to near the tailpiece, so it wouldn't stick out in his way.



If you don't ALREADY play a regular length 5-string, why not teach yourself to play upside down, and then get a regular 5-string long neck.






That is a very clever solution to your friends problem.



I already play a regular length 5 string left handed banjo and the idea of learning a long neck upside down sounds rather daunting. Kudos to your friend playing it that way. I used to play a guitar upside down when noodling about as a student and it was always a interesting challenge.



those pictures tell a very interesting story :)


Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/26/2021 13:22:50

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  13:43:32


The OLD joke goes like this:

"How did you sculpt such a lifelike statue of young David?"



"I just got a big hunk of marble, and chipped off anything didn't look like David."



Making your own neck isn't all THAT hard.



I've done it seeral times.



If it was hard  work, I wouldn't be doing it.



If I wanted a HARD job, I'd get my name legally changed to





Mom!   MOM!  MOMMMM!



 

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  13:44:43


Just glue up some hardwood and saw, chisel, and rasp off anything doesn't look like the neck you want.

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  13:47:47


quote:

Originally posted by mike gregory

Just glue up some hardwood and saw, chisel, and rasp off anything doesn't look like the neck you want.






A very simplified explanation but I see your point. It wouldn't be impossible for me to do it and there are resources out there to show me how and i can always ask a friend who does carpentry to assist.


Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/26/2021 13:48:05

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  14:08:14


If you have a friend who will allow you to use a bandsaw, a drill press, and a drum sander, DO it!

Another cheap trick:
I have been told that a bass guitar neck is pretty much the same length as a Seeger neck.
I'll go measure mine, and get back to you.
If it's close enough, just make a heel to fit your banjo, and belt-sand the neck to your desired profile.

Plug, veneer, and re-drill the peghead, and you've saved HOURS of work.

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  14:12:38


I don't know if I have a friend with any of those things but I do hav a brother in law who makes bat houses, brid houses and stables :)

I will have to speak with him about his tools and capabilities and maybe this can be a project for us to do when the family get together over the holidays.

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  14:34:41


Photo of a neck I made, and a used bass neck I bought.
I forgot that you'd have to pull the frets and suchlike, but, hey, an almost finished neck is a lot less work than a pile of boards.


Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/26/2021:  14:39:39


it looks like your neck is longer than the Bass. A very interesting comparison.

This has been a very intersting thread and given me a lot to think about.

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  14:50:29


Camera angle SEEMS to have offset.
Banjo is 24 & 1/2, bass is 23 & 3/4 (Yankee inches, not metric)
Not a whole lot of diff.

mikehalloran - Posted - 07/26/2021:  16:18:49


I have an old Bay State or Gatcomb pot fitted to an early ODE lefty long neck. It's not pretty but does work. It's at Gryphon having some neck work done or I'd show a few more pictures. The ones I'm attaching are before any work was done by them or me.



You can buy long necks or have them made. Helix and Gold Tone offer them. Like others, I'm not a fan of the ones on eBay.



Bob Smakula offers a Schaller left handed 5th string geared tuner (he also had some hooks and nuts that matched my originals).



Smakula Fretted Instruments

 


Edited by - mikehalloran on 07/26/2021 16:25:14


Helix - Posted - 07/26/2021:  17:20:57


Peggy Seeger lives in the UK, she plays longneck, seek her out



Brilliant Mike and Mike


Edited by - Helix on 07/26/2021 17:23:41



 

mike gregory - Posted - 07/26/2021:  20:00:11


I don't know what the shipping and import fees would be, but I have a banjo, part of which was made by HELIX, and he does excellent work.
Ask him what he'd charge.

Helix - Posted - 07/27/2021:  04:16:54


We use bass fingerboards and truss rods for a longneck.

Flipping and rotating the pieces like cabinet fronts and table tops is standard cabinetmaking 101 = basic.

If you do it right like Mike Halloran's Ode neck then the heel should look like this with an "A" tree pattern where the pieces push against each other for a century, literally.



Some of us use flooring planks of bamboo to get 45 laminations as shown.

Hickory flooring comes @ 5/8" thick without veneers.

Thus your choice of materials widens as you get more information.



Because of the length and weight of the longneck, the other two pots mentioned would not be ideal and cobbling is not your goal.



Something substantial in the 7 pound range would be my goal.


Edited by - Helix on 07/27/2021 04:22:54



 

Andyrhydycreuau - Posted - 07/28/2021:  13:56:46


Here are some photos of mine.
The Asian neck was set up to be fitted with co rods.
The previous owner paid for a banjo luthier to make and fit a dowel stick at his desired back angle. You can see on one of these pictures how much it's angled back, and how big the bridge is.
All of that is too specialist for me to do. Also, notice the inlays. The rectangular ones were added by the same luthier, cos the original owner never played with a capo. Long-neck dot inlay patterns are usually in the position required if you capo at the 3rd fret. Weird but usually true.
Also very important to note that the owner who paid for the luthier sold it eventually, after nearly 18 months on eBay, to me at a very significant loss.
This cost in total less than the pot would be worth on its own. The pot is an 11 and 13/16ths.
All I did was fit the fifth string tuner, and the pip. The pip is a screw that holds the wire in place from inside a plug.
It sounds brilliant, and it is definitely worth going for a long-neck in my view.
Your biggest problem is the lefty thing. And you might have to get one made. A custom neck built for a pot would probably cost £700-£1000, if you can get a good old pot with a tone ring, it would keep its value and maybe pay back. Not so much on a not such good quality pot .
You quite often see John Grey long necks, they have a sound good quality neck, but a pretty rubbish plywood pot. They sound fine, and they're not pricey, but I've never seen a lefty.
Good luck!


Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/28/2021:  15:21:56


That's brilliant! bet you were really chuffed to get that at a bargain. Thanks for the lovely pics and ecouragment. I will have to keep my eyes open and see what I can find.

I wonder if there are any kits for making one myself.

thats a interesting tail piece you've got Andrew. I cant tell what its made of from the picture but it looks pretty substancial.

Andyrhydycreuau - Posted - 07/29/2021:  00:45:09


quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

That's brilliant! bet you were really chuffed to get that at a bargain. Thanks for the lovely pics and ecouragment. I will have to keep my eyes open and see what I can find.



I wonder if there are any kits for making one myself.



thats a interesting tail piece you've got Andrew. I cant tell what its made of from the picture but it looks pretty substancial.






The guy I bought it from had a long reach, 4 string tailpiece, so I made a long reach 5 string tailpiece out of brass. (So I have a 4 string Framus "oetinger" type tailpiece for sale soon.....)



TBH, it's nice, I'm pleased with it, but it's not necessary! Any tailpiece would have done, though I guess the sound would be different.



All the best,



Andy


Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/29/2021:  08:36:05


quote:

Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau

quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

That's brilliant! bet you were really chuffed to get that at a bargain. Thanks for the lovely pics and ecouragment. I will have to keep my eyes open and see what I can find.



I wonder if there are any kits for making one myself.



thats a interesting tail piece you've got Andrew. I cant tell what its made of from the picture but it looks pretty substancial.






The guy I bought it from had a long reach, 4 string tailpiece, so I made a long reach 5 string tailpiece out of brass. (So I have a 4 string Framus "oetinger" type tailpiece for sale soon.....)



TBH, it's nice, I'm pleased with it, but it's not necessary! Any tailpiece would have done, though I guess the sound would be different.



All the best,



Andy






I understand. I love the look of brass hardware but I don't know how much it actually brings for the price beyond looking very nice.



I'm sure one of the Tenor players will snap up your old one pretty quick if its as nice as that one.


Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/29/2021 08:36:54

mikehalloran - Posted - 07/29/2021:  17:09:10


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

We use bass fingerboards and truss rods for a longneck.





Something substantial in the 7 pound range would be my goal.






Hmmmmmm?



mikehalloran - Posted - 07/29/2021:  17:14:45


quote:

Originally posted by mike gregory





Another cheap trick:

I have been told that a bass guitar neck is pretty much the same length as a Seeger neck.

 






Most Fender basses are 34", some are 30" but a few are 32"



Most long neck banjos have a 32" scale. Any neck or fretboard supplier with a CNC (nearly all nowadays) can knock out a 32" scale neck or fretboard.



Even if you whittle a neck out of a block of basswood, having a properly slotted fretboard will save tons of time and help ensure playable results.

Helix - Posted - 07/29/2021:  19:38:20


mikehalloran: Bob Weir and a good bass.

calicoplayer - Posted - 07/30/2021:  15:45:14


Re: long neck banjos: here's another perspective, perhaps not a popular one.

Having had and played a long neck banjo years ago, I found that its extra three frets were not very useful, and I eventually sold it. Unless you plan to consistently sing in a lowered key, probably E, the extra three frets just seem to get in the way. An easier solution is to use medium gauge (rather than light gauge) strings on a standard neck banjo, and simply tune down to E when you want to play uncapoed in E. Or just play standard chords in the key of E, to sing along.

Long neck banjos are often unbalanced and need careful attention to strap placement to keep the instrument steady as you play. Also, playing on the first three frets used to put a real strain on my left shoulder. And the extra length makes them a bit harder to keep in tune than a standard banjo. They can also be a bit more susceptible to humidity-related shifts in the wood.

If you do decide to get a long neck, I would encourage you to be sure that it has a truss rod and ideally some level of lamination in the neck, to prevent warping.

If you watch players who use long necks, you'll observe that many of them keep a capo almost permanently on the third fret. I've always suspected that if it wasn't for Pete Seeger's use of one, and the fascinating origin story of his first long neck, these banjos would have been just a cul de sac in the highway of banjo history.

But, that's just my opinion, and I know that devoted long neck players will offer strong countervailing arguments in favor of long neck banjos. I'm not trying to start a conflict, but I thought it would be worthwhile to weigh in on this.

Rebecca With a P H - Posted - 07/30/2021:  16:12:10


quote:

Originally posted by calicoplayer

Re: long neck banjos: here's another perspective, perhaps not a popular one.



Having had and played a long neck banjo years ago, I found that its extra three frets were not very useful, and I eventually sold it. Unless you plan to consistently sing in a lowered key, probably E, the extra three frets just seem to get in the way. An easier solution is to use medium gauge (rather than light gauge) strings on a standard neck banjo, and simply tune down to E when you want to play uncapoed in E. Or just play standard chords in the key of E, to sing along.



Long neck banjos are often unbalanced and need careful attention to strap placement to keep the instrument steady as you play. Also, playing on the first three frets used to put a real strain on my left shoulder. And the extra length makes them a bit harder to keep in tune than a standard banjo. They can also be a bit more susceptible to humidity-related shifts in the wood.



If you do decide to get a long neck, I would encourage you to be sure that it has a truss rod and ideally some level of lamination in the neck, to prevent warping.



If you watch players who use long necks, you'll observe that many of them keep a capo almost permanently on the third fret. I've always suspected that if it wasn't for Pete Seeger's use of one, and the fascinating origin story of his first long neck, these banjos would have been just a cul de sac in the highway of banjo history.



But, that's just my opinion, and I know that devoted long neck players will offer strong countervailing arguments in favor of long neck banjos. I'm not trying to start a conflict, but I thought it would be worthwhile to weigh in on this.






Thanks for the honest opinion. It's usually to hear someone who's had one and not kept it tell us what brought them to that conclusion and be given a chance to see if the issues they found will be ones we're willing to deal with. 



Personally my reason for wanting one is a bit to do with limited vocal range and alot more to do with aesthetics and romanticism. Pretty much what you said and I'm happy to laugh at myself for that. 



Thank you for offering the alternatives though. Those sound a lot more reasonable for someone at my skill level who doesn't own the tools nor have the skills to make one or have the money to buy a custom one at the moment (reaslised after looking into prices a little more).



To be honest at the moment I'm thinking I'm going to self impose a cool off period of a couple months before I let myself start looking properly again and then see where I am financially / if my brother in law is willing to help me build. Currently I'm moving homes and I've realised that maybe the money from the sale of my current home would be better spent on a new boiler or furniture rather than commissioning my own banjosaurus.



Again, thanks for the honest opinion. I appreciate hearing your perspective. 


Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/30/2021 16:13:38

Im banjobruce - Posted - 07/30/2021:  17:30:42


My experience with Asian necks has been quite good. I’ve converted 5 tenor pots (Vega, Washburn, Paramount & 2 Majestics) into 5 string open backs and they are all great sounding and looking. I will be doing an Orpheum soon. That said, unless you are into woodworking and have a good selection of tools and experience using them, I wouldn’t advise undertaking this task. To do the job right also requires creating fixturing to hold the neck in order to get the proper setback angle and arcing to accommodate the 2 or 3 radii the neck must fit up to. It’s also nerve wracking since one simple miss-cut will ruin the neck for good.

I usually get a kick out of photos of long neck banjos being played. They are invariably capo’d up to standard tuning, and still, none of them look like Mr. Seeger.

BeeEnvironment - Posted - 07/30/2021:  17:47:33


quote:

Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

How Do indeed...



Hi,



I'm currently (more like constantly) thinking about upgrading to a long neck banjo and being left handed and in the UK has left me with limited options.



To my knowledge, I can either buy a rarely sold pre owned, pay big bucks for a custom, import one from US, or buy the parts and put it together myself.



currently I am looking into the building it myself option and have come across this listing for a neck on ebay.

 



Can anyone with experience in this area take a look and let me know if its a good buy or not? I understand the 5th strings machine head hasn't been installed and this has made me hesitant but maybe that is easier then i imagine? 



What do we think gang? Buy this for about £200 including shipping and start buying the other parts or do i just accept that i'm better off just saving up £1000+ and looking for something not put together on my kitchen table?



 






Hi! I might not be as experienced as some other members here (definitely, for sure!), but you may find this helpful.



I recently, also, wanted a long-neck (Seeger style) banjo, and because I am a high-schooler living in USA, I did not have many options for saving up or buying a long-neck (which are super pricey nowadays!). I only have one banjo, which I am alright with, but a long-neck will give me a few more key options, and I also just wanted the experience.



So, I decided to build my own long neck, using whatever I had (wood, hand-saws, pocket knife). While it did take some careful planning and thoughts (this is my first time doing this!), I just recently about wrapped up my neck completion (still touching it up though)! I used a fresh piece of white pine wood from my backyard to make the neck, and a regular pocket knife to shave out the main design and get rid of the bark, sap, cambium, living layers, etc...



I posted a discussion on my banjo build: banjohangout.org/topic/376502/1



While you might not like to do this, or don't have the time to carve a neck out, here are a few photos of the results so far with the neck. Note that the photos from today are titled, "Entire Neck, just about fully carved out, but still needs some shaving on sides", and, "Holding the neck, showing the frets"



Anyway, hope this helps!



Russ


whistlinghen - Posted - 07/30/2021:  19:16:48


Rebecca- I have one of those Asian-made necks, and for the price, it's not that bad, and I've not had any problems with it warping. Besides, it's REALLY the cheapest and easiest way to go while you decide if you really want to play a long-neck (I didn't really find it that helpful to have those extra frets and my arms are a little too short to play it comfortably). Despite what these guys are telling you, it's NOT really that big a deal to stick a neck on a pot, it's just a matter of lining up your hanger bolts. If the action is too high, you can just put a shim in. To do it perfectly (like a luthier would) IS a real art, and if you decide that the long-neck is the way you want to go, that's another story, but unless you're playing professionally (and a lot of stuff way up the neck), there's really a LOT of leeway when it comes to banjo adjustment, and it's pretty easy to learn as you go. I played right-handed for about thirty-five years until I go a neurological condition that affects the fingers of my right hand, and now I'm re-learning to play left-handed on a left-handed neck-and having a lot of fun. Though they're a bit harder to find, there ARE good left-handed banjos out there , so if that's what you're comfortable with, stick with it. Building a neck is a pretty big deal, so don't let these guys talk you into it yet-if you haven't figured it out yet, most of us banjo players have a bracket or two missing -in our brains. Best, emily

Enfield1858 - Posted - 07/30/2021:  20:32:21


@Rebecca With a P H - I've only just picked up on this thread, but I'd second Andrew Taylor's suggestion of contacting Andy Perkins, whose company - andybanjo.com - builds banjos in Faversham - so no hassle with customs, as there would be if you buy one from the Czech Republic (or any EU member state at the moment).  I've had first hand accounts of some real horror stories of tens of thousands of pounds worth of brand new rifles from CZ being scrapped because the English customer didn't get the Customs invoice in time to pay the Customs duties within three days (and it's the shippers who scrapped the goods, not Customs!)



Last year, when I started on banjo, I ignored the suggestions of people to "just learn to play on a right hand banjo - it won't take long".  Though I was born left-handed, my superstitious dad forced me to use my right hand before I was even old enough to sit up. I spent two years trying to play guitar right-handed - and got nowhere.  It was only last year that I was doodling on a friend's (RH) bass guitar that I swapped it across as if it was a left-hander, and BAM!! - it felt so right!  I know there are plenty of left-handers who can and do adapt to playing RH banjos - but I'm not one of them.  Within a matter of weeks, I was playing banjo better than I managed on RH guitar after two years;  admittedly, I've been fortunate enough to find a damn fine teacher, but even so . . .



The one I got was a LH open-back Grafton Gem - and I'm delighted with the way it plays and the way it sounds.  Though they don't list a LH long neck banjo on their website, they do RH long necks and LH standard necks - as well as replacing broken necks and adjusting and correcting the fit of necks to pots.  As far as out of the ordinary requests goes, they say this;



"In addition to set-ups, repairs and restorations, the Banjo Works also carries out conversions and modifications (please see the list below for some examples). Whatever sort of job you want done, contact the Banjo Works for an estimate.

New 5-string necks fitted to classic period tenor banjo rims;

New 5-string necks fitted to period spun-over banjo rims to replace a failed original neck (our rescue banjo line);

New rims fitted to older banjos to improve tone & stability;

Various type of tone rings fitted to existing or new rims;

Resonators added to open-back banjos; resonator banjos converted to open-back;

Fingerboard scoops installed.



Just to point out; I've no connection with the company, except as a very satisfied customer - but I do think it would be worthwhile contacting them to check out the possible options.

Tel: 01795 590 374



HTH, and best regards,

Jack


Edited by - Enfield1858 on 07/30/2021 20:35:23

RicNew38 - Posted - 07/31/2021:  02:55:24


Just before the pandemic began I bought one of the long necks from the Taiwanese ebay site you mentioned in your original post.
It came completely finished with a nice lacquer polish and only needed tuners and lag screws for the coordinator rods and is fitted to a
Stew/Mac 'old time' pot. I am very pleased with the final result and have had no problems with it at all.
One thing I have noticed is the shipping cost seems to have doubled since I ordered mine.
Richard.

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