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Nov 15, 2017 - 12:02:20 AM
150 posts
Joined Jun 27, 2017

Hi all
have  a conversion 5 string Vega Little Wonder Banjo its has 28 hooks and would appreciate any suggestions for a suitable armrest for the banjo.It has to be an armrest that is easy to install and supports the playing arm adequately and must be comfortable to rest on.Let me know your recommendations and thoughts.Thank you everyone.Tani

Edited by - Tani on 11/16/2017 16:53:09

Nov 15, 2017 - 2:47:39 AM
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RG

USA

2668 posts
Joined Aug 7, 2008

I'm a big fan of the original wire armrest which is on my Little Wonder conversion. Folks like Bill Rickard make great reproductions that fit just right...

https://rickardbanjos.com/product/vega-style-wire-arm-rest/

Nov 15, 2017 - 4:23:33 AM
like this

1316 posts
Joined Apr 7, 2010

quote:
Originally posted by RG

I'm a big fan of the original wire armrest which is on my Little Wonder conversion. Folks like Bill Rickard make great reproductions that fit just right...

https://rickardbanjos.com/product/vega-style-wire-arm-rest/

 


Though  Rickard Banjos manufactures many of the parts they sell, they buy vintage style wire armrests from me. In addition to Rickard, Elderly buys and sells several hundred per year. There are also many small musical instrument shops and banjo builders that offer my wire armrest. Of course you can purchase directly from me as well.

Since 2010 I have been the sole importer and supplier of these armrests around the world. As a banjo player I notice any banjo I try that doesn't have an armrest. All banjos I sell receive a wire armrest before they go out the door.

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com


Nov 15, 2017 - 5:48:05 AM

Exile1981

Netherlands

21 posts
Joined Apr 13, 2017

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula
quote:
Originally posted by RG

I'm a big fan of the original wire armrest which is on my Little Wonder conversion. Folks like Bill Rickard make great reproductions that fit just right...

https://rickardbanjos.com/product/vega-style-wire-arm-rest/

 


Though  Rickard Banjos manufactures many of the parts they sell, they buy vintage style wire armrests from me. In addition to Rickard, Elderly buys and sells several hundred per year. There are also many small musical instrument shops and banjo builders that offer my wire armrest. Of course you can purchase directly from me as well.

Since 2010 I have been the sole importer and supplier of these armrests around the world. As a banjo player I notice any banjo I try that doesn't have an armrest. All banjos I sell receive a wire armrest before they go out the door.

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com

 

 


I'm using that armrest since a couple of months now, although I absolutely like the looks of it I'm not quite pleased with how it has to be mounted. It has come lose several times now, but you can't tighten to far because then you tighten the tension hoop also. 

Nov 15, 2017 - 6:41 AM

1316 posts
Joined Apr 7, 2010

quote:
Originally posted by Exile1981
I'm a big fan of the original wire armrest which is on my Little Wonder conversion. Folks like Bill Rickard make great reproductions that fit just right...

I'm using that armrest since a couple of months now, although I absolutely like the looks of it I'm not quite pleased with how it has to be mounted. It has come lose several times now, but you can't tighten to far because then you tighten the tension hoop also. 


It seems to me you are being timid about tightening the two nuts that hold the armrest. If they are the same tension as all the others the armrest will stay on and not increase the head tension. Your issue is not one I have had in the 1,000+ armrests I have personally installed. Using a lock washer between the nut and armrest leg might be another simple cure for your issue.

I hope my feedback helps you become 100% satisfied.

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com

Nov 15, 2017 - 6:49:19 AM

3576 posts
Joined Sep 21, 2007

Count me as another user of the "Hartnett" armrest repops from Bob. I think they are great and very affordable.

You can take some latex tubing, pour rubbing alcohol through it, slide it over the wire armrest, and let it dry for a rubbery surface. It does not look as cool but it works great.


Nov 15, 2017 - 7:00:36 AM

3890 posts
Joined Aug 28, 2013

I've never had a problem with the Smakula wire armrest (purchased from Elderly years before I knew about Mr. Smakula). There is no reason for it to come loose or to cause tightening of the tension hoop.

Nov 15, 2017 - 7:05:33 AM

rudy Players Union Member

USA

11360 posts
Joined Mar 27, 2004

If you're a do it yourself type, it's worth the effort to make your own.  I put these on all the jos I make and totally love them.

Nov 15, 2017 - 8:59:12 AM

1316 posts
Joined Apr 7, 2010

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Count me as another user of the "Hartnett" armrest repops from Bob. I think they are great and very affordable.

You can take some latex tubing, pour rubbing alcohol through it, slide it over the wire armrest, and let it dry for a rubbery surface. It does not look as cool but it works great.


I have one customer that uses my wire armrests covered with latex tubing for a leg rest. Thanks for the rubbing alcohol tip to get the tubing to slide on.

I have been searching for an attractive, easily installed, long wearing coating for those with nickel allergies, but have not come up with anything that meets all three criteria. 

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com

smakula.com 

Nov 15, 2017 - 9:19:54 AM
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4146 posts
Joined Jun 3, 2011
Online Now

I like the Thinline armreast from Little Mountian Music.  I have several on my banjos.

http://www.littlemountainmusic.com/banjomate-thinline-armrest-1/

Nov 15, 2017 - 3:20:18 PM

rudy Players Union Member

USA

11360 posts
Joined Mar 27, 2004

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Count me as another user of the "Hartnett" armrest repops from Bob. I think they are great and very affordable.

You can take some latex tubing, pour rubbing alcohol through it, slide it over the wire armrest, and let it dry for a rubbery surface. It does not look as cool but it works great.


I have one customer that uses my wire armrests covered with latex tubing for a leg rest. Thanks for the rubbing alcohol tip to get the tubing to slide on.

I have been searching for an attractive, easily installed, long wearing coating for those with nickel allergies, but have not come up with anything that meets all three criteria. 

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com

smakula.com 


Bob, You might think about having a batch of armrests done with the top bail powder coated / baked.  It's tough, and you could pick something unobtrusive like basic black.

Heat shrink tubing could be a very quick, inexpensive, and durable alternative.

Edited by - rudy on 11/15/2017 15:22:23

Nov 15, 2017 - 3:46:51 PM

150 posts
Joined Jun 27, 2017

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

If you're a do it yourself type, it's worth the effort to make your own.  I put these on all the jos I make and totally love them.


Rudy what material is in use for the making of this armrest? Tan

Nov 15, 2017 - 7:44:05 PM

Kimerer

USA

739 posts
Joined Feb 17, 2006

I have one of the wire arm rests on my Little Wonder pot as well. I think that the wide, flat arm rests are more comfortable, but there was no room between the hooks and the pot to install the single point mounting hardware. The wire rest is better than the tops of the hooks.

Nov 15, 2017 - 8:31:26 PM
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RG

USA

2668 posts
Joined Aug 7, 2008

Bob, didn't know that you were the supplier of the repro Vega armrests...and I should have since your shop is a real go to for anything old-time banjo or banjo in general.  Thanks for making those, they are my favorite style of armrest!  Now if you could just make a repro of the Cole's neck adjuster...haha!

Nov 16, 2017 - 7:05:45 AM

3890 posts
Joined Aug 28, 2013

Mr. Smakula: I'd be careful of covering a wire armrest with latex or similar products. There are people who are allergic to nickle, but there are also those who are allergic to latex and other soft plastics.

Perhaps a different type of armrest, maybe made of wood, might satisfy those with either allergy, but that would require more tooling and might be more expensive to produce.

What I like about the wire armrests are its mounting and adjusting capabilities, which should be a feature of all armrests.

Nov 16, 2017 - 7:27:35 AM

rudy Players Union Member

USA

11360 posts
Joined Mar 27, 2004

quote:
Originally posted by Tani
quote:
Originally posted by rudy

If you're a do it yourself type, it's worth the effort to make your own.  I put these on all the jos I make and totally love them.


Rudy what material is in use for the making of this armrest? Tan


I use Garolite XXX opaque black phenolic, available at industrial supply houses such as McMaster-Carr.  I had the material in several thicknesses from 1/16" to 1/4" thickness in my shop, so experimented with it a bit.  It is easily shaped by sanding, so it's easy to contour the top and then polish it.  The resulting rest looks like very black and high quality ebony, but won't break like real wood might.

I settled on 3/16" thick material which allowed a nice top contour but didn't cause the player's arm to be held too far above the head level.  I had made some of the usual wood type armrests that you see shown here on the hangout and couldn't get used to my arm being held up above the head.

A unslotted fingerboard blank of Richlite or other synthetic would work just as well, I suppose.

The basic design is covered in a topic I did a few years back entitled "World's Best Armrest".

https://www.banjohangout.org/archive/285010

The website assembly instructions (minus pretty photos...) can be accessed here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20160426155953/http://www.bluestemstrings.com:80/pageBanjoArmrest1.html

Edited by - rudy on 11/16/2017 07:39:03

Nov 16, 2017 - 9:07:48 AM

150 posts
Joined Jun 27, 2017

Hi Rudy
Thanks for posting the details.Can you make me one for my Conversion Vega Little Wonder Banjo.Will place a photo of the Banjo here within 24 hours so you can see the banjo.Let me know the measurements you require and whether you are willing to post the armrest to Oz.My preference would be for a lighter colour like brown or something similar that will blend with the maple rim on the Vega.It has a neck by Gary Chattel and conversion by Derrick Chetwyn both members here on BHO,so till later with a picture post.
Looking forward to your reply.Thank you Rudy,

Cheers Tani

Nov 16, 2017 - 1:24:31 PM

150 posts
Joined Jun 27, 2017

quote:
Originally posted by Tani

Hi Rudy
Thanks for posting the details.Can you make me one for my Conversion Vega Little Wonder Banjo.Will place a photo of the Banjo here within 24 hours so you can see the banjo.Let me know the measurements you require and whether you are willing to post the armrest to Oz.My preference would be for a lighter colour like brown or something similar that will blend with the maple rim on the Vega.It has a neck by Gary Chattel and conversion by Derrick Chetwyn both members here on BHO,so till later with a picture post.
Looking forward to your reply.Thank you Rudy,

Cheers Tani


 A luthier Nerd shows  his style:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvPpsZcx97c

Nov 16, 2017 - 2:41:22 PM

150 posts
Joined Jun 27, 2017

Nov 16, 2017 - 2:59:39 PM

dbrooks Players Union Member

USA

3333 posts
Joined Mar 11, 2004

I am another big fan of Bob Smakula's wire armrest. I have them on 3 of my banjos.

David

Nov 16, 2017 - 3:14:02 PM

rudy Players Union Member

USA

11360 posts
Joined Mar 27, 2004

quote:
Originally posted by Tani

Rudy here is a link to the photo of the conversion Vega.It has 28 hooks:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596935447030019&set=a.106314759425436.4272.100001407363962&type=3&theater


Hi Tani,

Sorry, I'm not doing any custom work of any kind.  If you check out the luthier search function over to the left side of the screen (under Marketplace) you'll find a few luthiers from down under who would most likely make you anything you would like.

Nov 16, 2017 - 4:21:06 PM

150 posts
Joined Jun 27, 2017

Ok Rudy may go with the Vega style wire Armrest that Derrick Chetwyn is sending thru post from Q’land.All the others are sure attractive and may go with the thinline or other brand on my next banjo.Thank you to all for posting.What a ride! 

Tani in Oz.

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