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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Replacement necks

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MickeyReeves - Posted - 05/31/2023:  20:37:45

Hey all!

I have this "Kasuga" banjo pot assembly that I've had for a while, but for the longest time its had this awful beat up fender neck on it.
Its to the point now where it needs a new nut and a fret-job anyways. I'd love to get a new neck I dont know anything about the banjo other than its a Kasuga pot assembly.
Is there only one or two standard sizes for necks?

Mickey Reeves

Norand - Posted - 06/01/2023:  02:05:54

Gold tone sells replacement necks in different price brackets.
The Bela Fleck neck looks awesome!

lightgauge - Posted - 06/01/2023:  03:31:13

There are three types of heel cuts for coordinator rod style necks, depending on pot type. One pc. Flange, two piece flange, or straight side for shoe bracket pots. Most replacement necks will need some fitting done to match a specific pot to achieve correct string height and clearance. Something like the Goldtone may be a good option for a Kasuga pot. Custom built necks may exceed the value.

Norand - Posted - 06/01/2023:  04:28:41

I think Gold Tone advertises a full setup and to cut the neck to the specific pot for 200 dollars. That seems fair. For about 500 bucks you could get an OB-150 radius neck fitted. If you like the sound of the Kasuga pot, it could be seriously good value...

But I agree with Bobby, custom made necks would set you back two or three times that ammount and would be considered serious overkill.

Helix - Posted - 06/01/2023:  05:52:22

I am on my 3rd Gold Tone OB-150 neck for customers. You will have a Maple voice. Even blems are available, just ask.

As an on shore banjo supplier with domestic jobs, GT has full shop services. I recommend sending them the old neck since you seem to prefer the patent dodger sound and weight.
There are many competent banjo people in BC, look at the hangout register for openers.
Sell the Fender neck, or donate it to someone who could learn from and with it. Just sayin'

Old Hickory - Posted - 06/01/2023:  08:44:40

Is your Kasuga pot from one of their 1970s bowtie-inlay banjos? If so, be aware that the tone rings (pot metal) from the early 70s were less than the prevailing 11 inches standard (something like 10-7/8 or 10-15/16.  The inner diameter of their one-piece flange was 10-5/8 inches, which is smaller than the 10-11/16 and 10-13/16 Gibson sizes, the 10-3/4-inches of the older Stew-Mac flanges, and the 10.78 inches of the older Saga/Golden Gate flange.

Banjo neck heels have to be cut to hit the areas above the flange and below the flange in a way that produces the correct angle for good string height. Different size flanges lead to different lengths of the lower portion of the heel to achieve that fit.

And since banjo makers will turn rims so the flange goes on without scraping the skirt area (below the flange) there can be variance in how much clearance they allow -- which means outside diameters of rim skirts can be all over the place.

Plus, some makers intentionally cut their heels with a slightly smaller radius than the part of the rim they touch so as to create a tighter fit.

This means there are not one or two standard sizes. Off-the-shelf, pre-cut, necks can work or can be made to work. But if you buy a neck online you won't know whether it works until you get it.

There's a good chance your Kasuga pot has their extremely light weight multi-ply (almost plywood) rim and pot-metal tone ring. Fixing the current neck might make sense. Buying a replacement neck only makes sense if you can find one relatively inexpensively, because even then you are very likely to spend more on the neck than the banjo is worth.

A better course might be to sell the Kasuga and add whatever anount you're willing to spend on a neck to create a budget for buying a better banjo. You might be able to find a used RK-35/36 or OB-150 for under $900. 

Clancy Mullins is selling a 1970s US-made Fender Artist with an ugly but stable neck repair for $800.  There's a Japanese-made Fender Leo in the classifieds for $575. That's also pot-metal ring and multi-ply rim, but better banjos than the early 70s Kasuga bowties.

Good luck.

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