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Have this old banjo that was my great uncle's want to learn to play

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Jul 15, 2019 - 4:42:28 PM
4 posts since 7/15/2019

Okay so got this old banjo that was my great uncle's I want to learn to play first I have to get some strings and put this thing back together if it'll let me I'm going to post some pictures

Jul 15, 2019 - 4:54:07 PM

beegee

USA

21277 posts since 7/6/2005

Patiently waiting....

Jul 15, 2019 - 4:58:32 PM
likes this

7302 posts since 1/7/2005

What information do you $eek? 
In any case, photos will be needed.  New strings are the very last step in getting an old banjo playable. 

DD

Jul 15, 2019 - 5:08:31 PM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

331 posts since 4/17/2019

Arcooper0825 First post. Then welcome to the Banjo hangout first
Then some photos would be nice

Get ready for disassembly, cleaning parts, finding antique parts
A skin head is usually ripped from neglect
New ones are available
Or a newer plastic head with right crown height and so on
Tell us how handy you are with tools and machines
If you have to send it to someone you can

If someone suggests you make a wall hanging, don’t listen
A great uncle with a Banjo is hard to find
Take some pictures and follow instructions to post
Then we can see. Ok?

Edited by - Helix1 on 07/15/2019 17:10:21

Jul 15, 2019 - 5:12:40 PM

51962 posts since 12/14/2005

"According to this picture, what this banjo needs is... OH HOLY FECES! There ARE NO PICTURES!"

-S. Holmes-

"Oh, relax, Sherlock! While we wait to see close-ups of the front, neck-to body joint, inside, peghead, and other features, let's just relax with a big cup of whis...ummm TEA! Yes, TEA!!"

-J. Watson, M.D.-

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Welcome to the HangOut

-M. Gregory-

Jul 15, 2019 - 5:24:40 PM

51962 posts since 12/14/2005

Hey! I found three pictures on your home page.

That's a start.

Now, the face and the inside and the side of the outside.

You can bring them to THIS page by clicking  "Default Album" lower left, where it says
Attachments
      PHOTO
             Default Album

Jul 15, 2019 - 6:01:36 PM

1848 posts since 5/2/2012

Ventura brand name is a clue. 70's era banjo, sold under different names, it appears. Follow this link Asian Banjos for a little more information There are a couple of threads here on the HO (go to the little magnifying glass on the left side of the page and do a search) and it appears that they are pretty decent banjos.

Jul 15, 2019 - 8:56:45 PM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

331 posts since 4/17/2019

It’s an early Ventura, I wonder what era

Edited by - Helix1 on 07/15/2019 21:03:38

Jul 15, 2019 - 9:41:13 PM

PaulRF

Australia

3022 posts since 2/1/2012

Not sure how good their banjos were but someone on another forum just purchased one of their guitars and is very pleased with it.

Here is a little more info for you:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventura_(Japanese_guitars)

As Dan stated it will probably need more than just strings to be playable.  Beegee and Desert Rose can give you a lot more info as well if you can get some more photos posted.  I will show the ones from your home page now.

Edited by - PaulRF on 07/15/2019 21:46:59

Jul 15, 2019 - 11:16:48 PM

rcc56

USA

2171 posts since 2/20/2016

A banjo is not very hard to put back together if it is in good structural condition and you have moderate mechanical skills. A wealth of information is available on the forum.

You will need strings, a bridge, and a tailpiece [if not present] and appropriate mounting hardware for the tailpiece. If the banjo head is in one piece, it can be used as is. If it seems very loose, search the forum for info on adjusting the head tension.

Older Ventura instruments were passable Asian imports. I worked in a busy band from 1979 to 1981-- the lead guitarist for the group used a Ventura for hundreds of jobs until he upgraded to a Stratocaster shortly before I left the band.

Jul 16, 2019 - 3:30:47 AM
like this

1430 posts since 6/2/2010

I wonder if that is a Ventura neck mounted to an older US made pot? The way the resonator is mounted makes me wonder. Did any Asian banjos mount resonators like that? More pictures will help decide if that is the case.

Jul 16, 2019 - 6:21:29 AM

beegee

USA

21277 posts since 7/6/2005

Without better pictures, it's a guess. Ventura was a brand name used on imported Japanese banjos, usually made by Kasuga. But, this resonator resembles those used by Stromberg-Voisinet from the 20's/ Without seeing the entire banjo, my best guess is that someone grafted a Japanese neck to an S-V(Kay)pot.

Jul 16, 2019 - 6:50:45 AM

10325 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by maneckep

I wonder if that is a Ventura neck mounted to an older US made pot? The way the resonator is mounted makes me wonder. Did any Asian banjos mount resonators like that? More pictures will help decide if that is the case.


Yes. Remove that center bolt and let uw see what's inside!

Jul 30, 2019 - 12:29:25 PM

4 posts since 7/15/2019

So I got strings on it been struggling to get it in tune I did half the fix the tailpiece they can't quite get the same in tune with the tuner I've downloaded on my phone not even sure 100% if I have the strings in the right order

Jul 30, 2019 - 12:31:51 PM

4 posts since 7/15/2019

Just uploaded pictures of the banjo with the strings on it


Jul 30, 2019 - 2:29:23 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

4896 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Arcooper0825

So I got strings on it been struggling to get it in tune I did half the fix the tailpiece they can't quite get the same in tune with the tuner I've downloaded on my phone not even sure 100% if I have the strings in the right order


You should have asked before stringing it up, not after.

Can't tell much about the strings from your last photo.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Top to bottom in the photo below: g, D, G, B, and D / String "numbers": 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1

Strings 5 and 1 will be the smallest gauge/diameter (and normally the same gauge/diameter)

Strings 1, 2, 3, and 5 will be plain steel.

4th string will be wound, that is, wrapped with bronze or nickel or stainless steel.


Edited by - RioStat on 07/30/2019 14:35:47

Jul 30, 2019 - 2:36:38 PM

4 posts since 7/15/2019

Thank you for that information that means the chart I was following had it wrong that's what I thought I'll fix it later but I still have issues with getting it in tune

Jul 30, 2019 - 3:38:35 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

4896 posts since 10/12/2009

No point trying to tune it, until you get it strung up correctly.

Jul 30, 2019 - 4:38:05 PM

77 posts since 6/22/2012

Check out the directory of locations for banjo setup. If you like it, invest a little cash to have it set up professionally.

Do not go to a guitar shop however. They say they can do setup, but trust only to change the strings.

Jul 30, 2019 - 5:17:38 PM

2196 posts since 3/30/2008

The "Ventura" made by Kasuga was a very decent masterclone. The OP's banjo has a different peghead & construction, & is probably from a different era & maker. ( However, it is still well worth restoring to playability).

Aug 1, 2019 - 8:19:12 AM

5960 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

Without better pictures, it's a guess. Ventura was a brand name used on imported Japanese banjos, usually made by Kasuga. But, this resonator resembles those used by Stromberg-Voisinet from the 20's/ Without seeing the entire banjo, my best guess is that someone grafted a Japanese neck to an S-V(Kay)pot.


From the latest picture, I'd say you are correct. That flange certainly looks like S-V or Kay.

As far as stringing and tuning, definitely get the strings in the proper order before tuning. Then, after tuning, be aware that those strings will stretch a lot, so you'll need to retune a number of times before you can actually play.

Aug 1, 2019 - 2:52:23 PM

2311 posts since 4/16/2003

OP:

I wouldn't put too much money into this.
Certainly not more than $50-75.
It's never going to be worth much, other than for sentimental value.

If you REALLY want to learn to play the banjo, there are plenty of beginner-midlevel instruments that will serve you as well as or better than this.

If strings, a bridge, getting the head properly tightened and the tailpiece fitted "can get it going", then by all means do so.

But then again, it might very well make a better "sentimental wall hanger" than a good "learning instrument".

That's my opinion and I'm stickin' to it!

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