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Jul 11, 2019 - 1:15:47 PM

DavidLowe

England

20 posts since 2/11/2019

Hi folks.
I'm thinking about putting nylon strings on a bottlecap banjo. I know some people have done it on here as I've searched some old posts but I'm wondering if I'll need to change the tailpiece. I cant find anything specifically relating to this in older posts. It has a cheap tailpiece at the moment but wondered what tailpiece I'd need. Would I need to fit a wooden one? The banjo is a cheap Chinese produced one and about 20-25 years old. To be fair it doesn't sound to bad I just thought I'd have a go experimenting with it.
Cheers fellers.
Dave

Jul 11, 2019 - 1:30:41 PM
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1269 posts since 4/13/2009

Probably don't need to change the tailpiece, but nylon strings are often too large for the nut slots, so you might need to enlarge them or replace the nut.

Jul 11, 2019 - 1:50:35 PM
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52355 posts since 12/14/2005

I concur with Dr. Stexas.

Replacing the nut is super easy.
Put a wood block against it, and smack it with a hammer.
(Traditionally, a Pete Seeger hammer, in the morning, in the evening, and all over the land.)

Make a new one out of hardwood or beef bone. Use the old one as a pattern.

Jul 11, 2019 - 1:52:38 PM
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52355 posts since 12/14/2005

OR, as he said, just enlarge the slots.
And IF you want to make them narrow again, to go back to steel strings, instant glue and baking soda to fill 'em up, and cut 'em skinny again.

Jul 11, 2019 - 2:05:12 PM
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12159 posts since 6/29/2005
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quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

I concur with Dr. Stexas.

Replacing the nut is super easy.
Put a wood block against it, and smack it with a hammer.
(Traditionally, a Pete Seeger hammer
, in the morning, in the evening, and all over the land.)

Make a new one out of hardwood or beef bone. Use the old one as a pattern.


Is that what Pete Seeger was talking about?

Seriously, you can widen the nut slots enough for nylon strings with a nail file.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 07/11/2019 14:05:48

Jul 11, 2019 - 3:07:02 PM

DavidLowe

England

20 posts since 2/11/2019

Cheers fellers. So I can use the metal tailpiece without it tearing up the nylon strings. I didn't know how to attach a wooden tailpiece to be honest I've seen a few on Google images that look like they are wired or strung on. I think I might change the nut anyway for what its worth

Jul 11, 2019 - 5:25:41 PM
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3671 posts since 10/13/2005

For nylon strings I sure favor the Fielding tailpiece at Elderly music. banjered

Jul 11, 2019 - 6:52:45 PM
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134 posts since 10/30/2017

If it's the usual cheapo tailpiece I'd recommend getting a no-knot tailpiece.
The way I tie nylon strings meant the loop was too long to thread the strings through the holes to go under the plate. To get around this I chain drilled and filed a slot near the end of the plate and ignored the holes made for the strings. I then pulled the strings on top of the plate and through the slot.
Though this could all probably be avoided if you tie strings a different way to me.


Jul 12, 2019 - 7:30:10 AM
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6118 posts since 8/28/2013

Check for any sharp edges on your existing tailpiece and smooth them out.

Widening the nut slots will probably be necessary, but also check the bridge slots. You may find that an entirely different bridge, one without an ebony top, might aid the tone.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 07/12/2019 07:33:52

Jul 12, 2019 - 7:41:49 AM
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4681 posts since 9/21/2007

There are strings made of nylon and string made of polyester.

With nylon, like those sold by Labella, they are somewhat abrasion resistant and don't stretch that much (but still stretch).

The polyester compound sold as "nylgut" tend to be compromised very easily by any slightly sharp or rough edge.  They also stretch excessively.

I have found that with nylon any tailpiece can be made to work.  A simple taut line hitch directly to the post (with a small overhand stopper knot) would have prevented the loops from stretching open.  I typically use a figure 8 on a bight for my loops.  It is easy to control the loop size and they are super fast to tie.

I would not get into changing parts on a bottle cap-- even a $10 no knot would be too much.  There are plenty of classic era banjos that may be had for cheap right now (which were all designed to be strung with gut).

Jul 12, 2019 - 2:12:55 PM
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Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

447 posts since 4/17/2019

A bottle cap is a perfect candidate for loosening the head and getting more bass out of it
Use a tongue depressor under a bridge to raise it a little
Thanks Joel hooks for guiding away from problems

Jul 14, 2019 - 4:05:18 PM
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4 posts since 4/23/2011

About nylon strings, Pete Seeger wrote in "How to play the 5-string banjo" (pagina 51) : They have a soft, sweet tone. Paul Cadwell tells me he prefers to go to a sporting goods store and get nylon fishing leader. The 1st and 5th strings use the kind guaranteed for a 10 lb fish. The 2nd a 15 lb fish, the 3rd a 20 lb fish.

Jul 14, 2019 - 6:17:07 PM

4728 posts since 5/14/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

I concur with Dr. Stexas.

Replacing the nut is super easy.
Put a wood block against it, and smack it with a hammer.
(Traditionally, a Pete Seeger hammer
, in the morning, in the evening, and all over the land.)

Make a new one out of hardwood or beef bone. Use the old one as a pattern.


Is that what Pete Seeger was talking about?

Seriously, you can widen the nut slots enough for nylon strings with a nail file.


Nah, you got John Henry's hammer there, not Pete's!

And it looks great! I love the way you have the shadows shaded in. 

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