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Apr 25, 2019 - 10:51:08 AM
105 posts since 10/30/2017

I've decided to replace a no-knot tailpiece with a Windsor tailpiece on my Windsor banjo.

I used a hook I had lying around to attach the tailpiece to the rim and when I brought the steel strings up to tension the hook bent.

I've seen photos of banjos with this tailpiece and they're all attached with a hook. Am I doing something wrong here or is there a better way to attach it?


Apr 25, 2019 - 11:48:34 AM
likes this

4600 posts since 5/9/2007

Looks like your tailpiece shoe is too tall and/or you need a hook made from a harder piece of steel.

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 04/25/2019 11:49:11

Apr 25, 2019 - 12:17:25 PM

1632 posts since 1/16/2010

Maybe gut strings instead of steel?

Apr 25, 2019 - 12:23:03 PM

161 posts since 1/28/2011

Either that tailpiece is not made for that banjo, or it is installed incorrectly. There is no way the mounting screw is designed to prevent the tailpiece from being pulled forward by the string tension.  It looks like it is even pulling the eye bolt loose from the rim.  It should be a straight line from the eye bolt hole to the tailpiece hole, with something else holding the tailpiece from being pulled forward.

Edited by - latigo1 on 04/25/2019 12:31:00

Apr 25, 2019 - 1:29:12 PM

105 posts since 10/30/2017

Thanks for all the advice.

The hook is just over 4mm diameter so it being this long with the steel strings pulling it means it's bending. As Dave says, there is nothing on the tailpiece to hold it against the tension hoop so the tension of steel strings is pulling it forward.

I'd like to keep this banjo steel strung as my wife had a bloke fix it up and he put a truss rod in the neck so it can take steel strings. My other banjo can only be nylon strung so I want to stick with steel on this one.

I guess my options are to make up something to keep the strings from pulling the hook into the tension hoop or just use a different tailpiece altogether.

Thanks folks!

Apr 25, 2019 - 1:44:43 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10621 posts since 6/29/2003

The hook has been installed incorrectly. The hook has to go into the hole in the TP from the back outside, not the way you have done it. That will align the hook straighter.

Apr 25, 2019 - 4:38:26 PM

161 posts since 1/28/2011

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

The hook has been installed incorrectly. The hook has to go into the hole in the TP from the back outside, not the way you have done it. That will align the hook straighter.


No, that will make it even worse because the shaft of the hook will be entirely behind the tailpiece, allowing the tailpiece to be pulled even farther forward than it is now.  The hook will still bend until it butts up against the tension hoop.  That hook, or even the proper screw designed for a tailpiece will not hold the tension of the strings no matter how you install it.  something has to hold the tailpiece back or it will just keep pulling forward, bending the screw, until it hits the tension hoop.  Take a look at an old SS Stewart common sense tailpiece.  There is a protrusion on the underneath side that butts up against the hoop, keeping it from pulling forward.  That keeps the screw hole in the tailpiece aligned with the screw hole in the endbolt.

Apr 25, 2019 - 4:50:27 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10621 posts since 6/29/2003

You are incorrect. I have worked on a number of banjos with this TP. The trick is not to tension down the hook hardso it angles the TP up. The string tensions keeps the TP straight. You need to have just the right amount of tension on the hook so it keeps the TP in place. Once the balance is reached, everything should be fine.

Apr 25, 2019 - 5:43:52 PM

105 posts since 10/30/2017

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

You are incorrect. I have worked on a number of banjos with this TP. The trick is not to tension down the hook hardso it angles the TP up. The string tensions keeps the TP straight. You need to have just the right amount of tension on the hook so it keeps the TP in place. Once the balance is reached, everything should be fine.


Have you done this with steel strings? 

Apr 25, 2019 - 6:00:40 PM

161 posts since 1/28/2011

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

You are incorrect. I have worked on a number of banjos with this TP. The trick is not to tension down the hook hardso it angles the TP up. The string tensions keeps the TP straight. You need to have just the right amount of tension on the hook so it keeps the TP in place. Once the balance is reached, everything should be fine.


You are telling him to put the hook end into the tailpiece hole instead of the shaft.  The tailpiece was supposed to have a screw, not a banjo hook, and the screw would go through the hole in the tailpiece, just like he has it, so why are you telling him he installed it wrong?  So are you saying you have to tighten the screw so tight that it actually angles the forward end of the tailpiece up, toward the bridge and pulls the back down below the level of the tension hoop??  I guess that would help keep the tailpiece from sliding forward, but seems like a really poor design to me.

Apr 25, 2019 - 7:37:38 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10621 posts since 6/29/2003

Booby, to answer your question, No! This TP is designed for gut strings. I have seen them strung with steel. Those instruments were not designed for steel strings.

Apr 25, 2019 - 7:45:32 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10621 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by latigo1
quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

The hook has been installed incorrectly. The hook has to go into the hole in the TP from the back outside, not the way you have done it. That will align the hook straighter.


No, that will make it even worse because the shaft of the hook will be entirely behind the tailpiece, allowing the tailpiece to be pulled even farther forward than it is now.  The hook will still bend until it butts up against the tension hoop.  That hook, or even the proper screw designed for a tailpiece will not hold the tension of the strings no matter how you install it.  something has to hold the tailpiece back or it will just keep pulling forward, bending the screw, until it hits the tension hoop.  Take a look at an old SS Stewart common sense tailpiece.  There is a protrusion on the underneath side that butts up against the hoop, keeping it from pulling forward.  That keeps the screw hole in the tailpiece aligned with the screw hole in the endbolt.


That is correct. The hook is behind the TP.  However there appears to be tool sorts. One with a tab to prevent it sliding forward and one without. I am uncertain what bolt would hold the one that doesn't have the tab. It has been a while since I saw one but it did have the hook, and it worked.

Apr 27, 2019 - 11:56:31 PM

105 posts since 10/30/2017

I've bunged on nylgut strings as Wayne suggested and yeah, banjo sounds 1000x better thanks :)

I tried hooking the tailpiece the way you said Wayne, but I think the hooks I've got are cut too short because it just lifts the front of the tailpiece in the air so the strings are higher than the bridge.

Not really sure what to do to use this tailpiece now so I bunged on the old no-knot which is fine. I'd like to use the Windsor tailpiece as it is a Windsor banjo so I'm not giving up on it yet!

Apr 28, 2019 - 4:38:52 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10621 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by bobscene

I've bunged on nylgut strings as Wayne suggested and yeah, banjo sounds 1000x better thanks :)

I tried hooking the tailpiece the way you said Wayne, but I think the hooks I've got are cut too short because it just lifts the front of the tailpiece in the air so the strings are higher than the bridge.

Not really sure what to do to use this tailpiece now so I bunged on the old no-knot which is fine. I'd like to use the Windsor tailpiece as it is a Windsor banjo so I'm not giving up on it yet!


You may need to find a machine screw that will fit your TP and add a nut under where it meets the bottom of it. That will ensure the TP sits correctly. It probably wasn't the way it was originally designed but it may work. As I said earlier, I don't think you need to ratchet the hook down but its only there to hold the TP in play and level once the strings are up to tension. As I also said, the only TP like this I have seen had hooks attching them. My 2c worth.

Apr 29, 2019 - 2:04:30 AM

105 posts since 10/30/2017

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz
quote:
Originally posted by bobscene

I've bunged on nylgut strings as Wayne suggested and yeah, banjo sounds 1000x better thanks :)

I tried hooking the tailpiece the way you said Wayne, but I think the hooks I've got are cut too short because it just lifts the front of the tailpiece in the air so the strings are higher than the bridge.

Not really sure what to do to use this tailpiece now so I bunged on the old no-knot which is fine. I'd like to use the Windsor tailpiece as it is a Windsor banjo so I'm not giving up on it yet!


You may need to find a machine screw that will fit your TP and add a nut under where it meets the bottom of it. That will ensure the TP sits correctly. It probably wasn't the way it was originally designed but it may work. As I said earlier, I don't think you need to ratchet the hook down but its only there to hold the TP in play and level once the strings are up to tension. As I also said, the only TP like this I have seen had hooks attching them. My 2c worth.


Funny you should say that Wayne, because that's the very first thing I did and it still bent!

The biggest pin that will fit in the eye bolt is 4mm and it's too thin. I was considering using a high-tensile bolt but they need tension (i. e. to be stretched) and it will probably deform the tp if I put too much tension on it.

I'm thinking either I ream the current eye bolt and tp to 5mm and stick a 5mm pin in it or I find a hook that will do the job.

You don't happen to have any photos of such a tailpiece attached to a banjo with a hook, do you? I looked online and can't find a pic with that detail on it. 

Apr 29, 2019 - 6:11:19 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

13885 posts since 3/27/2004

It might be optical illusion, but it looks like your dowel stick end bolt ball & flange nut is much longer than "standard" hardware.  The flange base to ball hole center distance should be something like 9/16" (approximately 14 mm), if the measured distance is greater than that you might consider picking up a shorter ball & flange nut.

Ball & Flange Nut (UK)

Ball & Flange nut (US)

You often see the actual tailpiece bolt bent in an "S" shape so the offset distance between the ball & flange nut hole center and the tailpiece mounting hole can be effectively dealt with.  MANY banjos with simple system tailpieces are assembled in that manner.

Do that and you'll eliminate all the torquing of the end bolt nut.  I'm surprised it hasn't already snapped off or caused permanent damage to the rim cladding.

The other option is to use a standard mounting nut and an "L" bracket to position the tailpiece mounting bolt center where it will be in line with the tailpiece mounting hole.

Edited by - rudy on 04/29/2019 06:16:59

Apr 29, 2019 - 6:40:13 AM

105 posts since 10/30/2017

You know what Rudy, that L bracket may be just what I need. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll make one at work today if I have time!

Apr 29, 2019 - 1:37:46 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10621 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

It might be optical illusion, but it looks like your dowel stick end bolt ball & flange nut is much longer than "standard" hardware.  The flange base to ball hole center distance should be something like 9/16" (approximately 14 mm), if the measured distance is greater than that you might consider picking up a shorter ball & flange nut.

Ball & Flange Nut (UK)

Ball & Flange nut (US)

You often see the actual tailpiece bolt bent in an "S" shape so the offset distance between the ball & flange nut hole center and the tailpiece mounting hole can be effectively dealt with.  MANY banjos with simple system tailpieces are assembled in that manner.

Do that and you'll eliminate all the torquing of the end bolt nut.  I'm surprised it hasn't already snapped off or caused permanent damage to the rim cladding.

The other option is to use a standard mounting nut and an "L" bracket to position the tailpiece mounting bolt center where it will be in line with the tailpiece mounting hole.


I also looked at that end pin and thought it might be the wrong one for that banjo. I have seen a TP mounting bolt actually with a couple of gentle bends in it to fit somehting like this. It maybe that someone has encountered this issue and reformed a bolt. Who knows

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