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Jul 12, 2018 - 10:55:52 AM
97 posts since 7/29/2011

I am looking for a banjo building kit, where most of the luthier work is done and I get to assemble everything and put on some finishing touches.

I’ve found the easily searchable ones online but they arent good quality banjos.

I recently came across this post, (banjohangout.org/archive/184250), where a builder sold exactly what I am looking for, but this is almost 10 years ago. Does anyone know of anything similar?

Or perhaps a list of products I would need and a place I can buy them all separately?

Thanks for any help!

Dan

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:36:22 AM
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3286 posts since 5/12/2010

I suggest you check with Bill Rickard, he is an active BHO member, and may still offer such a kit. Everything I have seen from his outfit has been top notch in quality.

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:36:49 AM

6816 posts since 1/7/2005

I don't know if Bill Rickard still sells "kits" like you show in your post, but I'm pretty sure he sells all of the same parts. I'd guess he would be willing to put the same or similar kit together if you give him a call.

DD

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:43:15 AM
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3286 posts since 5/12/2010

About the only other "kits" I know of are the Saga "bottle cap" banjos, and the Gold Tone MM 150 kit.

I wouldn't fool with the Saga, but back before I started building banjos I did build one of the Gold Tone kits. I didn't want the flat top tone ring the kit is listed with, but all it took was contacting the owner of Gold Tone and they gladly substituted a WL tone ring for mine. That made a nice enough banjo for the price, and was very easy to put together and finish.

But, if you can get one from Rickard, it will be far and away the best choice.

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:46:17 AM
Players Union Member

greggwm

USA

30 posts since 6/8/2018

Not sure if this is too low-quality for you, but these ones always catch my eye - http://carverbanjos.com/product-category/diy-banjo-kits/

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:47:44 AM

97 posts since 7/29/2011

Thanks guys. I’ve seen the gold tone and saga kits and wasn’t interested. I just sent Mr. Rickard a message here. Hopefully he responds.

Thanks!

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:48:58 AM

97 posts since 7/29/2011

Oh and I noticed Dan is from Santa Cruz. My name is Dan and I used to live in Santa Cruz.

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:51:52 AM

97 posts since 7/29/2011

I’ve also seen the Carver banjos. I am looking for something a little more traditional.
I also listened to the video and didn’t care for the sound.

Jul 12, 2018 - 11:59:47 AM

Walker

USA

308 posts since 10/28/2003

I bought one of the Saga kits on ebay and am very happy with it. Sounds okay (not great) and plays very well. Also very light so its great to take on trips and places where I don't want to chance something happening to my real banjos.

Jul 12, 2018 - 12:40:07 PM
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48971 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Walker

I bought one of the Saga kits on ebay and am very happy with it. Sounds okay (not great) and plays very well. Also very light so its great to take on trips and places where I don't want to chance something happening to my real banjos.


Oh, for SHAME!

ALL banjos are real banjos, just as all birds are real birds.

Penguins don't fly, ostriches don't sing, hummingbirds  are pretty (even if they don't know the WORDS!), and condors taste even worse than bald eagles, cheeky   but they ARE all birds!

Of COURSE my Squared Eel doesn't sound as good as my Stelling Golden Cross, but it plays the same songs!

Jul 12, 2018 - 1:10:45 PM

Walker

USA

308 posts since 10/28/2003

point taken. Make that expensive banjos.

Jul 12, 2018 - 1:35:31 PM

3286 posts since 5/12/2010

Lee Hammons got by pretty well with a $60 Harmony banjo.

Like Mike said, if they will play the tunes, they are all "real banjos".

Be interested in finding out in Bill RIckard still offers a kit, so please post back any information you get on that.

I often encounter youngsters who want to learn how to build a banjo, I try to teach them what I know, but a nice kit would be the best way to start on that road. Those Rickard kits certainly looked to be top of the line, so I hope he still does offer them.

Jul 12, 2018 - 2:11:25 PM

CG

England

186 posts since 11/25/2006

I would like to build my own banjo too but my woodworking skills are zero so such a kit would suit me fine. The sad thing is that my late brother who passed away 6 years ago was a skilled woodworker and his workshop is still there just as he left it, full of quality machinery and hand tools. The only difference in his workshop is that I have cleaned up sawdust etc. . I have tried to dispose of some of the machinery on behalf of his surviving partner, which include a Jobsmith lathe with numerous fittings, a bandsaw, router, press drill, morticer and many more, but got no interest. Local joiners say it is cheaper to buy ready-made spindles etc than to turn your own. So the workshop is still as Alan left it but minus sawdust and I allow no cobwebs. I would rather give it all away to a good cause than see it waste away.

Edited by - CG on 07/12/2018 14:13:16

Jul 12, 2018 - 3:11:33 PM
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heavy5

USA

476 posts since 11/3/2016

Maybe for those disliking any available kits , you can pick a banjo you like & the seller can send it to you disassembled

Jul 12, 2018 - 4:28:53 PM

6816 posts since 1/7/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Patanjali

Oh and I noticed Dan is from Santa Cruz. My name is Dan and I used to live in Santa Cruz.


I can't imagine why anyone would move away from Santa Cruz. Probably some silly reason like finding a job. :->

DD

Jul 12, 2018 - 4:32:59 PM
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6816 posts since 1/7/2005

Actually, the Saga kit banjos I've had the chance to pick have not been bad banjos. They do have aluminum pots, but they have a tone ring and sound and play pretty good--for the price.

DD

Jul 12, 2018 - 6:25:05 PM

97 posts since 7/29/2011

I actually left a great job there as music teacher in the public schools. Can’t imagine why I left there either.... ??

Jul 13, 2018 - 5:54:47 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

11306 posts since 8/30/2006

If you can't find a kit, a pawn shop will have something, maybe a "find." I just bought the parts for my first banjo.

For Mr. Halls, be encouraged, that shop contains more than love and history. In England, there are more banjo parts just laying around because of Clifford and other builders. Look for a derelict banjo and take it apart and see what makes it work.

The shop should be donated to a University or trade school and stipulate that the whole rig stay together. If you don't have the skills, teach a child.

I'm sorry, the Saga kits have low spec. aluminum, no tone ring, the strings are rusty, and I just had too much trouble locating parts from them since they fell out along the way, not really the customer experience that I give my customers.

Jul 13, 2018 - 6:12:36 AM

9131 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

Look at this kit soon to be available from Don Kawalek.

You need to shape the neck. It’s the kit he uses in his banjo building camp.

Jul 13, 2018 - 6:48:13 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

2355 posts since 6/30/2015
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My understanding is that Bill Rickard no longer sells kits because he got tired of doing all the phone support from people who didn't understand that even with a kit there was some required knowledge and skill.

Jul 14, 2018 - 6:49:16 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

11306 posts since 8/30/2006

Old Hickory, that's a nice looking kit.

Jul 14, 2018 - 7:19:54 AM

233 posts since 12/28/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Patanjali

I’ve also seen the Carver banjos. I am looking for something a little more traditional.
I also listened to the video and didn’t care for the sound.


I don’t know how you can get anymore traditional than a mountain banjo ??.

i make gourd banjo kits on request (probably not your Flavor) and there’s a large number of active builders on here. I’m sure at least one of them would be willing to rough out a rim and neck for you to put together and varnish yourself. Try Zackary Hoyt he’s a charmer and does good work. He made me a neck I’m sure he would be willing to make a rim to go with it and resist the urge to ship it all in one piece

Jul 14, 2018 - 7:56:23 AM

97 posts since 7/29/2011

Yes I used the wrong word there. I meant traditional in the sense of a modern banjo, which is hardly traditional....

Thank you for your suggestions!

Jul 14, 2018 - 7:57:21 AM

97 posts since 7/29/2011

Bill Rickard no longer sells kits, but I will keep my eye on Don Kawalek’s site!

Jul 14, 2018 - 9:19:43 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

12744 posts since 3/27/2004
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Patanjali

Bill Rickard no longer sells kits, but I will keep my eye on Don Kawalek’s site!


Since you already own more expensive banjos it doesn't sound like saving money is the primary motivation.

Contact Patrick Heavner and sign up for the Pisgah "Build A Banjo" workshop:

https://www.pisgahbanjos.com/about/banjo-building-workshops/

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