Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

156
Banjo Lovers Online


FIVE pin tailpiece on FOUR string banjo: How "Wrong" is it?

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jun 10, 2019 - 7:57:34 AM
51734 posts since 12/14/2005

One of my many MANY sisters recently acquired a banjo uke.

I got to play it, on a recent visit.

Sounds good, looks good, and is well worth the pittance she paid for it.

She says an acquaintance of hers told her that because it has a FIVE pin tailpiece, to which the strings are tied, the strings cannot line up properly along the neck.

I didn't have any problem with it, as is, but I'm not going to drive 772 miles down there to show her what I mean.

And a "No-Knot" 4 string tailpiece, at a bit over $30, seems like an awfully expensive upgrade.

So I'm asking all y'all:

As long as it has a proper 4-string bridge, does the tailpiece matter all THAT much?

Jun 10, 2019 - 8:03:22 AM
like this

1229 posts since 4/13/2009

Back in the days when tenor banjos were replacing 5 strings, manufacturers often used 5 string tail pieces because they had them in stock. In order to reduce any concern about alignment, leave the middle pin empty - then the strings will be balanced in their pressure on the bridge.

Jun 10, 2019 - 8:11:19 AM
like this

106 posts since 4/11/2019

From an aesthetic perspective maybe, but functionally I don't think so. Unless its some crazy high end banjo, I certainly wouldn't worry about it.

Reminds me of the time I was selling a numbers matching all original 1968 Chevy Malibu. This was about 1998 and I was at a big car show. A guy asked me if he could see inside the glove box. He showed me that the little rubber stoppers that kept the metal door from slamming the dash had tiny dimples right in the center. Then he showed me some reproduction ones that didn't have the dimples.

See the difference? He says. I've been looking forever to get the original ones! Could I buy yours?

I told him sure, but he would have to buy the rest of the car with them.

Jun 10, 2019 - 8:24:12 AM

1812 posts since 4/7/2010

I am a firm believer in using a $10 5 string No-Knot on a banjo uke and not using the center string lug. And for folks that it really bugs them visually, I offer the Rickard 4-string No-Knot interpretation at a little more than 3 times the price of the Chinese made No-Knot.

Bob Smakula

Jun 10, 2019 - 9:01:48 AM
likes this

51734 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Knows Picker

From an aesthetic perspective maybe, but functionally I don't think so. Unless its some crazy high end banjo, I certainly wouldn't worry about it.

Reminds me of the time I was selling a numbers matching all original 1968 Chevy Malibu. This was about 1998 and I was at a big car show. A guy asked me if he could see inside the glove box. He showed me that the little rubber stoppers that kept the metal door from slamming the dash had tiny dimples right in the center. Then he showed me some reproduction ones that didn't have the dimples.

See the difference? He says. I've been looking forever to get the original ones! Could I buy yours?

I told him sure, but he would have to buy the rest of the car with them.


Let's all grab our banjo/ukes and SING!

======================

Tiny dimples, in the glove box,

In the bumpers, which prevent knocks

Tiny dimples, which the repros lack,

Puts my whole existence

Plumb out of whack!

So here's to the golden moon, and here's to the deep blue sea,

But mostly, here's a toast

To one obsessive compulsive S-O- BEE!!

(etc)

====================

Why  would someone not simply  heat up a piece of wire, and MELT some dimples in, if it's THAT important?

Edited by - mike gregory on 06/10/2019 09:03:45

Jun 10, 2019 - 9:08:50 AM

51734 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

I am a firm believer in using a $10 5 string No-Knot on a banjo uke and not using the center string lug. And for folks that it really bugs them visually, I offer the Rickard 4-string No-Knot interpretation at a little more than 3 times the price of the Chinese made No-Knot.

Bob Smakula


Now i KNOW that Bob Smakula is  one of the Good Guys.

I specifically directed her to HIS website, if she really REALLY wanted to get an authentic 4-string tailpiece, and here he is, publicly advising against her sending him the money.

Jun 10, 2019 - 9:14:58 AM

2182 posts since 3/30/2008

M, I have a number of banjo ukes & tenors w/ original 5 string tailpieces. It's no problem whatsoever, & the very slight difference in string spacing , w/ the middle hole unused, makes no difference for strumming or fingerpicking.

Jun 10, 2019 - 10:10:30 AM

493 posts since 2/19/2012

quote:
Originally posted by tdennis

M, I have a number of banjo ukes & tenors w/ original 5 string tailpieces. It's no problem whatsoever, & the very slight difference in string spacing , w/ the middle hole unused, makes no difference for strumming or fingerpicking.


Really doesn't change string spacing...that's set by the bridge.  For what it's worth, Deering installs their standard five string tailpieces on their Goodtime tenors.  

Jun 10, 2019 - 10:34:39 AM
likes this

873 posts since 4/13/2017

My teacher's 1949 RB-100 has the original tailpiece on it, which is a 6 string tailpiece. He experimented with other tailpieces, but went back to the original.

Jun 10, 2019 - 11:29:40 AM

beegee

USA

21255 posts since 7/6/2005

I have been using the original 4-string tailpiece on my 28 Granada for 45 years. I don't see that as any different as using a 5-string tailpiece on a 4 string.

Jun 10, 2019 - 11:31:10 AM

51734 posts since 12/14/2005

So far, all y'all have managed to save her $32 on a hunk of hardware, and save ME a 1,444 mile round trip.

I shall post my gratitude here, and that ought to cover at least one item on Figmo's post about Mr. Kwik's suggestion  . https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/354590

Jun 10, 2019 - 11:33:52 AM

1812 posts since 4/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory
quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

I am a firm believer in using a $10 5 string No-Knot on a banjo uke and not using the center string lug. And for folks that it really bugs them visually, I offer the Rickard 4-string No-Knot interpretation at a little more than 3 times the price of the Chinese made No-Knot.

Bob Smakula


Now i KNOW that Bob Smakula is  one of the Good Guys.

I specifically directed her to HIS website, if she really REALLY wanted to get an authentic 4-string tailpiece, and here he is, publicly advising against her sending him the money.


Dang. Now I won't be able to afford that Operation I've been needing. You know, that one where you take out wrenched ankle, remove funnybone, and the hard one, writer's cramp.

 

Bob Smakula

Jun 10, 2019 - 1:22:24 PM

Fathand

Canada

11339 posts since 2/7/2008

I have a boxful of Goodtime 5 string tailpieces that I have been using on budget banjos and baritone ukes. They work just fine.
As long as the tailpiece is on straight, the bridge does most of the aligning.

Jun 10, 2019 - 3:46:37 PM

51734 posts since 12/14/2005

I also sent her a couple pictures of antique FORKS bent up to serve as a tailpiece.


Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.2670898