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Found a great old JB Schall fully spun!

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Nov 8, 2018 - 6:17:50 PM
3 posts since 11/1/2018

Hi everyone. First post. I am a Scruggs picker. I really want to learn claw. This old banjo has "Ivoriod" friction tuners, would like modern gears. Needs a new head too. I understand this one may be somewhat valuable. Don't want to mess it up. What may I do to it without affecting the value? Something tells me I can't ream the peghead out without hurting the value. Other than the 5th peg missing and a few hooks its all there and in great shape. 11" head medium crown on it now. No truss rod but this one seems strong enough for steel if I wanted. Please advise. Thanks!

Nov 8, 2018 - 7:22:51 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

12984 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by PeteLeoni

Hi everyone. First post. I am a Scruggs picker. I really want to learn claw. This old banjo has "Ivoriod" friction tuners, would like modern gears. Needs a new head too. I understand this one may be somewhat valuable. Don't want to mess it up. What may I do to it without affecting the value? Something tells me I can't ream the peghead out without hurting the value. Other than the 5th peg missing and a few hooks its all there and in great shape. 11" head medium crown on it now. No truss rod but this one seems strong enough for steel if I wanted. Please advise. Thanks!


Post some photos!

What you end up doing is going to be based on if you want a wall hanger or a functional and playable instrument.

I'm not suggesting what to do, but I have a friend who has a couple of Shalls that were fitted with Pegheds (planetary tuners that look exactly like violin pegs) and have Nylguts installed.  They are loud, have a great tone, and the neck is stable with the synthetic strings.  I don't remember if they have hide heads or were retrofitted with Renaissance heads.

Nov 8, 2018 - 7:49:18 PM

3 posts since 11/1/2018

Hey thanks for replying. I have it apart but I will try to post some photos of it as it is now. The finger board is really nice ebony, no fret wear to speak of. I think Mr. Spekula will have the hooks. I certainly do want it to a player as I am a full timer. I really love the sound of the old clawhammer technique. Quite different from Scruggs. The double spun pot may actually be strong enough for bluegrass. The neck is the dowel thing not adjustable but seems very very strong. Dowel is marked H.C. Nelson but is clearly a Schall (has the "S" engraved in the heel plate) No fancy engraving but nice simple quality craftsmanship. Pot is very strong no welds. If you didn't see the wood in the place where the dowel goes through you would almost think it was solid German silver.

Nov 9, 2018 - 7:32:11 AM

52 posts since 9/30/2009

If you feel you must put geared tuners on it, get the Small Shaft ABM tuners from Bob Smakula, or try to find a historic set of planet tuners with the small shaft. These will require the least modification of the peghead. I would highly recommend using nylon strings on an old Schall as I think it will sound better than light gauge steel will. If you do use Nylguts, you could even try a set of friction pegs like Grover Champions that should require no change to the banjo. You may find that tuning the nylon with straight friction tuners is easier than you'd think. Do post pictures as these are special banjos. I have one labeled John Wesley.
Good luck!

Nov 9, 2018 - 7:54:23 AM

1475 posts since 12/26/2007
Online Now

Hi Pete -  is the dowel marking similar to this?


 

Nov 9, 2018 - 9:40:40 AM

3 posts since 11/1/2018

Yep, but it says H.C. Nelson Chicago

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