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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Coordinator Rods and action

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:

DocSavino - Posted - 01/10/2022:  13:11:00

I was always told to adjust the coordinate rod to adjust the action on a Banjo neck. I just called up Nechville concerning a Necvil Nuvo I had a question on and in the conversation they mentioned that while they don’t have coordinating rods on the Nechville‘s they believe that one should not adjust a coordinator rod at all because it potentially bends the rim. Has anyone else heard this? Does this mean that every time I adjust a coordinate rod I’m going to (& have) negatively impacted the rim? Thanks in advance. Doc

Edited by - DocSavino on 01/10/2022 13:13:19

ChunoTheDog - Posted - 01/10/2022:  13:37:29

To cut a long story short, on a Mastertone style resonator banjo, the co-rods shouldn't be used as the primary method of lowering the action through tightening the rod because it places needless pressure on the rim and inhibits sound vibration.

At the extreme end of the spectrum it could egg the rim or cause delaminations.

It can safely be used to make very micro adjustments to an already set action (we're talking less than one turn of the nut past neutral).

Playing around with the lightest pressure changes on the co-rods can also help you alter the banjo's tone as well when doing a set up.

RB3 - Posted - 01/10/2022:  14:15:45

I own a Gibson banjo that was manufactured in 1932. Below is a pdf file of the Gibson catalog from that year. Page 7 of that catalog has an explanation of how Gibson recommends that the string height on my banjo should be adjusted.

Edited by - RB3 on 01/10/2022 14:16:44

wrench13 - Posted - 01/10/2022:  15:10:48

$200 for a F5 mando? Wheeeew!

saw_woods - Posted - 01/10/2022:  15:25:57


Originally posted by wrench13

$200 for a F5 mando? Wheeeew!

My parents bought their first house for $11K... inflation is an insidious thing

Alex Z - Posted - 01/10/2022:  15:57:23

Yes, Gibson did instruct that the banjo action could be changed by adjusting the lower co-rod.  The whole point was to egg the rim by applying pressure! smiley  The Stelling set-up instructions give the same advice as Gibson.

But just because Gibson recommended it doesn't mean it's a good idea, without limit.  Gibson also says "gives desired results without endangering the tonal quality."   Do we believe this?

There always is a little bit of looseness or give between the rim and the tone ring (provided the tone ring hasn't be hammered on.  In my experience, adjusting the co-rod within this little bit is OK, but adjusting it beyond that will definitely "endanger the tonal quality", even on a Stelling which has a different type of fit between rim and tone ring compared to a Mastertone design.

One turn of the nut is the distance of one thread on the co-rod.  This is too much -- that's the thickness of a shim that might be fitted in.   Think 1/8 to 1/4 turn.  This might be enough to tweak the action at the 12th fret by half a 64th inch.  Beyond that, better to insert a shim. 

Edited by - Alex Z on 01/10/2022 15:59:39

rcc56 - Posted - 01/10/2022:  16:52:39


Originally posted by wrench13

$200 for a F5 mando? Wheeeew!

In 1932, $200 was the better part of a year's pay for a lot of folks who were lucky enough to have jobs.   The Great Depression, ya know.  That's why Gibson and Martin added $25 instruments to their lines.  BTW, Gibson nearly went out of business in 1932.

Edited by - rcc56 on 01/10/2022 16:53:35

KCJones - Posted - 01/10/2022:  16:56:41

It doesn't "potentially" bend the rim. It absolutely bends the rim, and that bending is how the action chances, in fact bending the rim is the entire point of adjusting those rods to change the action. As you bend/warp the rim it changes the neck angle, which changes the action.

I wouldn't do it to any banjo I cared about.

jan dupree - Posted - 01/10/2022:  20:12:34

3/4 of a turn is not going to alter tone. Even it did, it's not that it's going to be in a negative way, it would just sound slightly different. Maybe more decay, punchier, mellower etc. You might even like the tone even more. They just don't want you cranking down the nut causing a flatten rim, when all you have to do is get a lower bridge.

Edited by - jan dupree on 01/10/2022 20:13:50

desert rose - Posted - 01/10/2022:  23:02:49

Remember those prewar banjos were not playing bluegrass and the tone demands were not the same, and YES it eggs the rim and yes it effects the tone

Helix - Posted - 01/11/2022:  02:12:51

I am surprised at several things.

Nechville's response for one.

Bacon and Day Silver Belle No.5, 1926, I believe was the first with rim rods.

By loosening both of the back nuts by the tailpiece, the lower rim rod gives 1/8" +/- adjustment to the strings going over the heel at the rim/neck junction.

The lower rim rod does the work, the upper rod holds the neck on.

The rods are there for a reason.

Other types of rims don't deflect the same way that laminated rims do, that makes them more architecturally stable, but still adjustable.

Edited by - Helix on 01/11/2022 02:13:29

Fathand - Posted - 01/11/2022:  04:00:39



 BTW, Gibson nearly went out of business in 1932.

And again in 2018.

rcc56 - Posted - 01/11/2022:  07:58:26

And also in 1985-86.
The difference was that in '32 it was mostly because of an external circumstance: the depression.
In '86 and 2018 it was due to internal circumstances-- i.e. the way the company was managed.

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