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New Eastman WL banjo - Question on build

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Jun 14, 2018 - 8:08:31 AM
140 posts since 6/14/2018

I just bought this one. Upon looking at the pics, I noticed the heel cap is not even touching the rim. Wondering if I should maybe get some binding of some sort and put it all the way around the rim under the bracket band to fill in this gap, which is gonna drive me nuts.


 

Edited by - Jake Halfron on 06/14/2018 08:10:50

Jun 14, 2018 - 9:51:05 AM
Players Union Member

jduke

USA

1019 posts since 1/15/2009

Congratulations, the Eastman WL s are great banjos. The fact that the heel cap does not meet the rim is not a flaw, as such, and certainly has no affect on the banjo's tone or playability. My original Vega WL # 2 comes close, but does not actually butt up against the rim. It's not anything anybody would be critical of.

Personally, I would leave it as is. In fact I did when I recently put an Eastman WL neck on an old Tubaphone tenor pot.

Jun 14, 2018 - 9:56:02 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Thanks man, I've read a lot of bad stuff on here about them, which has me bummed out over my decision.

Jun 14, 2018 - 10:01:41 AM

405 posts since 5/31/2004

I see that space as a good thing. If you ever need to lower the action, there's room for the neck to tilt back.

Jun 14, 2018 - 10:06:11 AM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by BobHenry

Thanks man, I've read a lot of bad stuff on here about them, which has me bummed out over my decision.


Yeah, I don't think I would really care either.  I am surprised they let that one go.

For reference, the cap on mine meets the rim...

But it should not affect the tone or playability.

Jun 14, 2018 - 11:12:06 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Damn, I guess I got a lemon.

Jun 14, 2018 - 11:38:42 AM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by BobHenry

Damn, I guess I got a lemon.


Do you like the way it plays, feels and sounds?

Had they been available at the time I would have bought one of Bernunzio's 2nds.  There were "defects" on original Vega banjos too.

Jun 14, 2018 - 11:46:51 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Well I don't have it yet. Just little things like that drive me nuts. Worst case, I'll just put a band of binding around the rim under the bracket band. Or maybe I'll do what I've never done before and live with an imperfection. To think, that I had 2 Bart Reiters, a whyte laydie and a tubaphone, before Bart stopped the cool inlays and sold them years ago. So, starting from scratch and wishing i still had my old banjos. Had 2 custom Ramseys as well.

Jun 14, 2018 - 11:47:33 AM
likes this

1323 posts since 6/2/2010

I would just throw it in the dumpster tonight.

P.S. - tell me where you live first.

Jun 14, 2018 - 12:27:19 PM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

Easiest solution would to be to put something between the heel and the rim only, perhaps a fitted strip of ebony. The end is filled, the banjo maintains the original look, and you will be able to take off the bracket band if you ever need to tighten up the brackets.

FWIW, I recently changed the head on mine to a top frosted and discovered that the metal work is top notch. The hooks are fitted to the hoop and everything acts like it was made to go together.

Most banjos seem like the hooks came from one machine shop, the hoop from another, etc., and then assembled together.

The fit of the Eastman metal parts on mine remind me of the metal parts on my Clifford Essex banjos in the way they mate together.

The no knot replicas on these are the truest to the originals I have seen. The posts are round and smooth with notches the same size as they were made in 1901-- ready for gut or nylon strings if you were so inclined.

Jun 14, 2018 - 12:28:32 PM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Hehh. I don't have it yet guys. Chances are I'm making an issue out of nothing. I have been impressed with Eastman guitars in the past, but as I mentioned, there's a few threads out there stating poor craftsmanship on this banjo, while others seem pleased with the thing. If I like the thing and the gap bothers me that much, I'll put a new heel cap on it or figure something out. I'm 47 and it seems all I do is fix crap and I just want to play the thing.

Jun 14, 2018 - 12:28:55 PM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

I blew up the photo you posted. I'd leave it alone and play it if it was mine with no second thought.

Jun 14, 2018 - 12:36:23 PM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Yeah that would be the smart thing to do :)
Does the bracket band go through the heal or stop at the heel edges? Looks like it goes through, but then there must be a hole for the dowel stick. Excuse my ignorance, I've never owned a bracket band banjo.

I shouldn't have gone on the internet last week and started watching banjo videos. I got bit and now I'm back in.

Jun 14, 2018 - 3:08:18 PM

hoodoo

Canada

289 posts since 10/6/2017

I also recently ordered one of these banjos. Its currently being shipped. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I hope that there are no imperfections. I'll try and post some pics as a reference as well

Jun 14, 2018 - 6:56:20 PM

342 posts since 2/19/2012

BobHenry, I don't recall seeing or hearing a lot of criticism of the Eastman WL. Country of origin aside, I think folks have generally been impressed with it, but maybe I missed something. Can you be a little more specific?

Jun 14, 2018 - 8:03:21 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

12868 posts since 3/27/2004

It's odd that all of the Eastman WLs at Bernunzio (and necks separately) are listed as "B" stock with imperfections.  They are all listed as new banjos or new parts.  The website states these are made exclusively for Bernunzio, so that's what comes out of the factory.

Jun 14, 2018 - 9:23:47 PM
Players Union Member

gtani7

USA

700 posts since 3/22/2017

This was the recent trussrod thread, most Eastman WL banjo or neck owners are happy, a couple mention swapping out tuners or speednecking banjohangout.org/topic/340377

Jun 15, 2018 - 6:34:47 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

It's odd that all of the Eastman WLs at Bernunzio (and necks separately) are listed as "B" stock with imperfections.  They are all listed as new banjos or new parts.  The website states these are made exclusively for Bernunzio, so that's what comes out of the factory.

After I bought mine and looked at the pics again it was listed as B stock and I called them and they said it's brand new basically and had no issues. 

 


Jun 15, 2018 - 7:21:05 AM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

It's odd that all of the Eastman WLs at Bernunzio (and necks separately) are listed as "B" stock with imperfections.  They are all listed as new banjos or new parts.  The website states these are made exclusively for Bernunzio, so that's what comes out of the factory.


I heard a rumor (and this was only a rumor) that there was a MAP associated with these.  It seems to me that if you look carefully enough you can find a "defect" and then it becomes "B Stock" at a discount.  --Get it?

If I look carefully enough at any manufactured product I will find something wrong with it (that is a part of my real job).

As I understand it they were an exclusive to Bernunzio for a term that has now passed. He did the legwork to have them replicated by Eastman, put the original in their hands and picked apart their prototypes until they got it right.  In return he had rights for distribution for a certain amount of time.  That was just what I heard and since I have nothing to do with them except as a customer (and casual acquaintance with John through the ABF).

Jun 15, 2018 - 7:41:23 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Makes sense, I often wondered if they were exclusive to Bernunzio, how other places were selling new ones.

Jun 15, 2018 - 9:53:23 AM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2113 posts since 3/10/2008

Two things. You may need to snug up the clamp on the dowel stick that presses the heel against the pot. OR, I had this problem with a banjo with a dowel stick--the heel had just pulled away from the pot. I cut veneer to fit between the tension band and the end of the neck. If you think of this in terms of leverage, you can see that an open space at the tension band can allow a weak joint there to bend. This made the neck more stable--less retuning the strings when I change tunings. I can't hear any change in tone after I did this easy fix.

Jun 15, 2018 - 10:58:37 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

Yeah I'm no good with text man. I'd have to see it to understand what you mean. I thought about putting a band of binding (black, or tortise) around the underside of the bracket band, but I'd have to glue it and I assume the bracket band comes out from the bottom. I've never had a bracket band banjo, so I don't know if the thing is full round, or if it's cut and buts up against the heel, or goes through it. Come on FedEx you bastards :D

Jun 15, 2018 - 11:16:39 AM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Lew H

Two things. You may need to snug up the clamp on the dowel stick that presses the heel against the pot. OR, I had this problem with a banjo with a dowel stick--the heel had just pulled away from the pot. I cut veneer to fit between the tension band and the end of the neck. If you think of this in terms of leverage, you can see that an open space at the tension band can allow a weak joint there to bend. This made the neck more stable--less retuning the strings when I change tunings. I can't hear any change in tone after I did this easy fix.


Open the OP image in a new tab and zoom in,  The heel is fit tight to the rim.  Tightening the "yoke" (as it is sometimes called) will do nothing.

And, doing nothing is all I would do to this banjo if I had bought it except change the strings and bridge.

Jun 15, 2018 - 11:19:18 AM

4053 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by BobHenry

Yeah I'm no good with text man. I'd have to see it to understand what you mean. I thought about putting a band of binding (black, or tortise) around the underside of the bracket band, but I'd have to glue it and I assume the bracket band comes out from the bottom. I've never had a bracket band banjo, so I don't know if the thing is full round, or if it's cut and buts up against the heel, or goes through it. Come on FedEx you bastards :D


Circle with a notch and slips off from the bottom.

Jun 15, 2018 - 11:36:36 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Lew H

Two things. You may need to snug up the clamp on the dowel stick that presses the heel against the pot. OR, I had this problem with a banjo with a dowel stick--the heel had just pulled away from the pot. I cut veneer to fit between the tension band and the end of the neck. If you think of this in terms of leverage, you can see that an open space at the tension band can allow a weak joint there to bend. This made the neck more stable--less retuning the strings when I change tunings. I can't hear any change in tone after I did this easy fix.


Open the OP image in a new tab and zoom in,  The heel is fit tight to the rim.  Tightening the "yoke" (as it is sometimes called) will do nothing.

And, doing nothing is all I would do to this banjo if I had bought it except change the strings and bridge.

 


Yes, the problem with the banjo I'm getting is that the heel cap was not properly done. Piss poor craftsmanship if you ask me. But hopefully it wont bother me. 

Edited by - Jake Halfron on 06/15/2018 11:38:45

Jun 15, 2018 - 11:38 AM

140 posts since 6/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by BobHenry

Yeah I'm no good with text man. I'd have to see it to understand what you mean. I thought about putting a band of binding (black, or tortise) around the underside of the bracket band, but I'd have to glue it and I assume the bracket band comes out from the bottom. I've never had a bracket band banjo, so I don't know if the thing is full round, or if it's cut and buts up against the heel, or goes through it. Come on FedEx you bastards :D


Circle with a notch and slips off from the bottom.

 


Cool, thanks for the pic. I'm assuming the top of the bracket band hits a portion of the wood rim that is prodruding? 

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