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Sep 12, 2019 - 5:21:05 PM
83 posts since 11/3/2006

The Kershner tailpiece on my five keeps traveling to the left, I tighten the rim bolt snug as I can and still get keep the height I desire, but after a couple days it’s slanted and scoots to the left, any ideas or cures would be appreciated.

Sep 12, 2019 - 5:44:49 PM
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Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14466 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by banjer23

The Kershner tailpiece on my five keeps traveling to the left, I tighten the rim bolt snug as I can and still get keep the height I desire, but after a couple days it’s slanted and scoots to the left, any ideas or cures would be appreciated.


Often this is the result of the heel cut being less than ideal.  Check this out by placing your banjo with the tip of the peghead resting on a soft rug (or the top of your shoe...) and sighting down the third string path.  It should form a straight line from the third string nut slot, over the center of the neck heel, over the center of the bridge, and to the center of your tailpiece.  If you have to push the tailpiece or the bridge over and try to lock the tailpiece to this location it means the heel cut isn't ideal.

Understanding Banjo Neck Skew Angle

Edited by - rudy on 09/12/2019 17:49:26

Sep 12, 2019 - 5:51:02 PM

83 posts since 11/3/2006

I thought of of the heel cut being of, makes sense , I may contact the builder and see what he thinks

Sep 12, 2019 - 6:19:17 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14466 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by banjer23

I thought of of the heel cut being of, makes sense , I may contact the builder and see what he thinks


The heel cut is a VERY difficult thing to get right.  I've worked on a few by some of the top makers that had the problem as sold.  It's almost an excusable error, but if you're the player and have the "my bridge won't stay put" blues it's not as easy to dismiss.

Edited by - rudy on 09/12/2019 18:20:03

Sep 12, 2019 - 6:25:13 PM

83 posts since 11/3/2006

When I received this banjo , the neck lag bolts were loose, and the fretboard was against the tension hoop, hard to believe it left the shop that way.

Sep 12, 2019 - 8:32:22 PM

12170 posts since 10/30/2008

If it's a Kerschner, it should have two adjusting screws on either side of the hinge plate. Those two screws help adjust for this very problem.

Often folks have removed these two screws, figuring "I don't need them, they don't do anything anyway".

Prestos and other banjos will "walk" around the tension hoop. It doesn't have to be a misaligned neck, it could be an imbalance in string tension from one side to another also. The tailpiece will "walk" to relieve as much tension imbalance as possible.

It can be ticklish to adjust tailpiece hanger bolt tension and tailpiece height off the tension hoop just right (if you don't have the 2 side adjusting screws) but eventually you can zero it in, usually, and get the tailpiece to hold still. Once you accomplish this, change strings one-at-a-time!

Good luck.

Sep 13, 2019 - 5:06:01 AM
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Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14466 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

If it's a Kerschner, it should have two adjusting screws on either side of the hinge plate. Those two screws help adjust for this very problem.

Often folks have removed these two screws, figuring "I don't need them, they don't do anything anyway".

Prestos and other banjos will "walk" around the tension hoop. It doesn't have to be a misaligned neck, it could be an imbalance in string tension from one side to another also. The tailpiece will "walk" to relieve as much tension imbalance as possible.

It can be ticklish to adjust tailpiece hanger bolt tension and tailpiece height off the tension hoop just right (if you don't have the 2 side adjusting screws) but eventually you can zero it in, usually, and get the tailpiece to hold still. Once you accomplish this, change strings one-at-a-time!

Good luck.


True.

Using the technique of sighting down the third string centerline will usually reveal the difference between a misaligned neck and a simple canted tailpiece.

Sep 13, 2019 - 8:35:22 AM

10109 posts since 6/2/2008

Another way to identify a mis-cut heel is to look at the base of the heel where it meets the rim -- removing the resonator if it's not an open back.  Is the arc of the heel cut centered or skewed?

On my main player, the arc is off-center. Something I had always seen but never thought about. Then ten or so years ago I noticed that the bridge kept getting pulled toward the fifth string side of the head. My first compensation for this was to install a Fults tailpiece with XYZ mount specifically designed to allow left-right positioning of the tailpiece. It worked, but I didn't like the weight and complexity. So I replaced that with a Kershner.  I use the left screw to angle the tailpiece right. This works.

I've also thought of shimming the heel on the fifth string side with very thin material -- I have .01 and .02 fiber veneer sheets from LMI.  It's possible I've done this and have forgot.


Sep 13, 2019 - 9:07:30 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14466 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

Another way to identify a mis-cut heel is to look at the base of the heel where it meets the rim -- removing the resonator if it's not an open back.  Is the arc of the heel cut centered or skewed?

On my main player, the arc is off-center. Something I had always seen but never thought about. Then ten or so years ago I noticed that the bridge kept getting pulled toward the fifth string side of the head. My first compensation for this was to install a Fults tailpiece with XYZ mount specifically designed to allow left-right positioning of the tailpiece. It worked, but I didn't like the weight and complexity. So I replaced that with a Kershner.  I use the left screw to angle the tailpiece right. This works.

I've also thought of shimming the heel on the fifth string side with very thin material -- I have .01 and .02 fiber veneer sheets from LMI.  It's possible I've done this and have forgot.


Interesting heel cut.

The heel should be cut so the neck angles in the OTHER direction, but not THAT much!  The heel cut is in most cases so discrete that you can't tell from visually looking at it.

Sep 13, 2019 - 10:42:23 AM

10109 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rudy
Interesting heel cut.

The heel should be cut so the neck angles in the OTHER direction, but not THAT much!  The heel cut is in most cases so discrete that you can't tell from visually looking at it.


My banjo was made by John (Jean) Janzegers in 1973. I don't know if this was intentional or an accident. I never noticed it and never experienced the string tension (from the skew) pulling the bridge to the 5th string side until 10 years ago. I thought of having someone fix the cut -- and do more extensive surgery such as shortening the heel and reprofiling the neck above the fifth fret. But that ends up being money I don't need to spend for the number of years I have left to play this banjo vs the 46 years I've already spent with it the way it is.

Sep 13, 2019 - 11:46:32 AM

3552 posts since 5/12/2010

Yes, getting that compound angle just right can be a real challenge and that is likely the cause here, but the tail bolt hole, or coordinator hole can also be mis-aligned.

As said above, the Kershner has screws on each side to make adjustments for this very thing, but I never liked the look of a cockeyed tailpiece.

Also as said above, shims can be used.

Here is another idea.

If the banjo has a coordinator rod setup instead of a dowel stick, I have made adjustments for such misalignment issues by offsetting the tailpiece bracket. Doesn't need to move much and usually just cutting a little with a small round file, such as a chainsaw file, to remove some metal to allow the bracket to be offset in the direction of the pull will help.

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