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Jun 14, 2018 - 3:05:45 AM
655 posts since 8/3/2012

I recall reading a post in the forums that said the Iida 229 arch-top uses a peculiar non-standard head size. Can anyone tell me what size head would fit a 229? I would like to have a head on-hand BEFORE taking apart my banjo (especially since I've not done this before). I realize that Iida model numbers were very erratic during this period, but hopefully the pot dimensions remained consistent.
Is there any way to determine the head size prior to removing the tension hoop?

Also, in addition to installing a highly calibrated sock-in-the-pot, any suggestions for lessening the harshness of an aluminum pot arch-top?

Jun 14, 2018 - 6:21:11 AM
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1437 posts since 10/12/2011

I don't know about the head size, you'd really need to take the head off to measure it accurately.

To help tone down the harshness of the aluminum rim, I once cut a cheap wood rim and compressed it inside the aluminum rim dampen it. It worked well. I never cared for the sock or sponge trick. I also mounted a Fiberskyn head.

Jun 14, 2018 - 7:44:42 AM

RioStat Players Union Member

USA

4543 posts since 10/12/2009

I had an Iida aluminum archtop, and yes, the head was "odd-sized"....11" Remo was too small  and 11 1/16" Remo was too large. Good luck finding an 11 1/32"  or 11 1/64" head....ain't gonna happen.

I'm lucky enough to work at a place that has an "in-house" machinist with a metal lathe. I brought the rim/pot and an 11" Remo into work, and had the machinist chuck it up and turn the "tone ring" part of the rim down to where the 11" head fit perfectly. This also allowed me to use a standard (Recording King) notched tension hoop, instead of the original, thin, plated steel hoop. The heavier tension hoop added some much needed mass to the pot and helped tone down the "shrillness", also.

As buckholler (my buddy Scott) says, use a Fyberskin and wood rim insert to tone down the aluminum.......but you'll have to make sure your rim / "tone ring" is 11", not a little bit over.

Jun 14, 2018 - 8:20:44 AM

655 posts since 8/3/2012

@RioStat
Thanks for your "less than optimistic" verdict, but facts is facts. When you say the 11 1/16 was too large... was it a problem with the flesh hoop not allowing proper alignment of the hooks, are was it a different issue?

Jun 14, 2018 - 8:29:13 AM

RioStat Players Union Member

USA

4543 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by g0rdog

@RioStat
Thanks for your "less than optimistic" verdict, but facts is facts. When you say the 11 1/16 was too large... was it a problem with the flesh hoop not allowing proper alignment of the hooks, are was it a different issue?


Yes, and the tension hoop would not sit properly on the flesh hoop.

Jun 14, 2018 - 8:41:59 AM

655 posts since 8/3/2012

Scott,
Thank you for your valuable (and depressing) information.

Jun 14, 2018 - 6:58:13 PM

655 posts since 8/3/2012

Considering the number of 70's Asian aluminum pot banjos that are still floating around out there, one would think somebody would have come up with a remedy for this.

Jun 15, 2018 - 9:33:43 AM

RioStat Players Union Member

USA

4543 posts since 10/12/2009

I gave you the remedy....lathe-turn the thing down to 11" smiley

A quick Google search shows 6 machine shops in Temple TX.......one of them would probably do it for a few bucks, maybe even just "out of the goodness of their heart"

Wouldn't hurt to call 'em and ask!

Jun 15, 2018 - 10:20:17 AM

655 posts since 8/3/2012

@RioStat
OK, please have patience with me here, since I only have a vague idea of what's "under the hood" of the pot assembly and no knowledge of machining (plus I'm not the brightest crayon in the box). Are we talking about milling down the OD of the rim to 11" down to the point just above where the tension hook guide thingies are?

Jun 15, 2018 - 11:03:08 AM

RioStat Players Union Member

USA

4543 posts since 10/12/2009

Bill, I'll post a couple photos of what I'm talking about when I get home this evening.

A lathe will grip the rim / pot and spin it at fairly high RPM's and then the machinist will put a cutting tool against the area that needs the size reduced, and peel off a couple hundredths or thousandths of aluminum. Don't have to remove much.  It only needs done on the outer diameter of the rim, where the head sits.

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