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7071 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Sterner website
The Sterner tailpiece can be purchased either as a stand-alone tailpiece or a 'conversion-kit' where the 5:th string tuning peg and the string loop end fixing point is reversed to get the tuning peg out of the way of the fretting hand. I bought the 'conversion-kit' and I've installed both the tailpiece and the 5:th string conversion. The full kit consists of 1) a tailpiece with an adjustment screw and a 5:th string tuning peg fastening ring, 2) a bushing to fix the string loop end in the neck.
The Sterner tailpiece is a quality component, and it's really easy to install. I put it on my new Recording King RK36 Madison banjo, which had a cheap fake-Presto installed from the factory, and I'm really happy with the result. Note separation improved a lot, which I think is important.
The Sterner tailpiece is truly innovative and differs from the rest of the bunch. Is that a good thing? Not always, and there are normally good reasons for designs becoming 'best practice'. However, the Sterner tailpiece has some new features that really work; wider 'stance' makes it stable and prone to resist twisting. It's made out of thick steel plate and really sturdy, easier to re-string with the placement of the loop end hooks, and last but not least IT LOOKS GOOD (at least in my eyes).
5:the string conversion review:
When writing this review I've had the 5:th string conversion installed a couple of days to get used to the 'look'n'feel'. I DON'T miss the 5:th string tuning peg sticking out from the neck. It's a smooth, nice feeling to play without it, but my left hand is still trying to grab the tuning peg at the neck position if I need to tune the 5:th string, even though it's not there anymore. How about the installation? The 5:th string tuning peg came off after heating it slowly with a lighter to soften the glue (not all banjos have glued tuning pegs but this one had). I had to adjust the hole in the neck to fit the bushing, which was by no means complicated. I also had to remove the plastic 5:th string nut and replace it with a railroad spike to be able to use the standard length string loop end winding. I've installed railroad spikes before so this was not a big deal either. I was a bit nervous about gluing the 5:th string tuning peg to the tailpiece fastening ring, but it worked well using 'Epoxy Rapid'. Actually the instructions cover all the aspects, but it helps to be a bit handy I guess.
I've only played the banjo a couple of years, and I'm maybe not conservative and having developed strong habits, and I have difficulty seeing the drawbacks with this design, except for the initial tuning confusion. It's easy to see why there has been other designs looking to remove the 5:th string tuning peg from the neck. I'm already favoring the converted banjo to my other, traditional banjo.
This was the best Christmas present this year!!
Overall Rating: 10
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