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Sep 19, 2019 - 12:14:17 PM
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15 posts since 5/17/2019

This came in the case of a Vega tenor banjo I recently got. It says Jo-Jazz Patent Pending......it is spring loaded type of appliance thing-y. Does anyone know what it is used for???


Sep 19, 2019 - 12:21:47 PM
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2223 posts since 3/30/2008

..Perhaps a sound effects device to simulate a snare drum sound ? I've seen the fanned snare wire inside types of drums , & also inside some music machines. to strike a head.

Sep 19, 2019 - 12:24:38 PM
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GMB

USA

326 posts since 5/29/2009

Sep 19, 2019 - 12:53:02 PM

4675 posts since 9/21/2007

... awesome.  That is what it is.

I have a soft spot in my heart for "useless" banjo accessories-- it is the one thing that I admit to collecting.  Stuff like this tends to have no value, but I am amazed by the devices that were invented to separate people from their money.

 

BTW-- if you are ever looking to send it to a new home let me know.

Sep 19, 2019 - 2:12:16 PM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

It makes me wonder whether the inventor/designer was actually a player. In 1918, it was typical for 4-string players in jazz bands to play in a very raucous manner. That device would surely get in the way of strumming. But I do like it as well, Joel. That early jazz era fascinates me.

Sep 19, 2019 - 2:26:58 PM

503 posts since 5/19/2018

Well here it goes...I actually once had a banjo that had one of those inside of it.

When activated, it gives the banjo a sort of snare drum effect. Those little steel “fingers” tickle the skin head in sympathy to the strumming and the strings and give out a heck of a sound. Even to my then 17 years young ears, it was unbearable, as probably was my playing back then. All the same, I removed that item and promptly lost it to the ages. It’s most likely in some toolbox of my long passed father.

I’m with Joel Hooks on this one , I have since for some odd reason a soft spot for useless banjo accoutrements. Lights, strange pick guards, finger rests and the like all wind up with my banjos for no reason other than I like the strange, arcane and sometimes useful lost inventions of times past.

This one item is truly better off lost....

Sep 19, 2019 - 2:30:56 PM

Omeboy

USA

2093 posts since 6/27/2013

Only speculating here, but I know some cigar box guitar makes will install suspended springs inside the sound chamber to add reverberation to the sustained notes. More than likely, this is a device used for that same idea of adding artificial reverberation. Most likely it was suspended inside the pot under the head to lend reverberation with the stretched springs.

Sep 19, 2019 - 3:06:47 PM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

From the illustration in the ad that GMB shared, it looks like it was intended to be mounted on the outside. Inside mounting makes more sense.

Sep 20, 2019 - 6:50:08 AM

6117 posts since 8/28/2013

A snare attachment for a banjo might be a sort-of decent idea, if a person likes a lot of noise. But the design of this particular contraption is nothing short of absolutely horrible. It would be way too easy for a player to scrape his knuckles, or suffer puncture wounds when he strums downward and accidentally whacks his hand on this monster. I would hope they gave free tetanus shots with every purchase.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 09/20/2019 06:51:20

Sep 20, 2019 - 9:13:47 AM
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10702 posts since 4/23/2004

Oh man! I need one of those for my Bacon Blue Ribbon tenor...I've been hanging period gadgets on it for some time.

If I could just find the train whistle thingy that clamps to the headstock... ;-)

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:56:19 PM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2291 posts since 3/10/2008

Dang! I'd like to try out one of these Jo-Jazz things. I tried to make a snare banjo by putting a spring inside the pot against the head. It didn't work unless I leaned the banjo away from my body so that the spring rested against the bottom side of the head.

Sep 21, 2019 - 10:12:34 AM

503 posts since 5/19/2018

You can get the same effect by having really lousy action, a few loose brackets and a warped bridge.

Or you can learn to play Sitar...

Sep 21, 2019 - 5:19:56 PM

4675 posts since 9/21/2007

So here is a bit of fun...

This contraption was invented, manufactured and marketed by William J. Smith who was a music publisher.  Of note, he published a collection of Fred Van Eps arrangements that he recorded on best selling records.

In the "E Z Method for the Banjo" (published by Wm. Smith) on page 21 there is a piece by Thomas Armstrong (who wrote the book) titled "Jo-Jazz Rag."

https://archive.org/details/ezmethodhowtoplaythebanjocnotationarmstrong/page/n19

Coincidence?

Sep 21, 2019 - 5:40:46 PM

4675 posts since 9/21/2007

I just read through the piece and it now makes sense!

In the first strain you drum on the head in four places-- the perfect opportunity to use your Jo-Jazz device!

BTW-- it is a cute piece but I think it is more ragtime than Jazz.

Edited by - Joel Hooks on 09/21/2019 17:40:57

Sep 21, 2019 - 6:23:19 PM

4675 posts since 9/21/2007

So here is a VERY crude sight reading of the piece (complete with mistakes and a blown final D.S.)

The banjo is stuffed with a towel and there is all kinds of background noise.  It was recorded with my phone on the desk sitting.  BUT... you can hear what the piece sounds like with the drum strikes (but no Jo-Jazz accessory in use 'cause I don't got one).


Sep 22, 2019 - 7:12:31 AM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

Very cool, Joel. Bravo!

It is a rag, because Armstrong said it was. The device is Jazzy... I like a lot of Armstrong's stuff. Reeks of the 19th cent.

Actually, they were having trouble with classifications (always a problem in music) and for some time, Jazz = ragtime. Some still think ragtime is a subset of jazz...and most early jazz was simply ragtime played too fast and loose. laugh

Sep 22, 2019 - 9:10:35 AM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

And...

Here's tab of "Jo-Jazz Rag" for them that wants it!

https://www.banjohangout.org/tab/browse.asp?m=detail&v=23900
 

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 09/22/2019 09:17:20

Sep 23, 2019 - 8:12:07 AM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

447 posts since 4/17/2019

Caution safety cones approaching, threshhold between street musicians and orchestra pit is blurred, hazy, historical.

The first thing I thought was a snare Joel Hooks thanks for taking the time, good work.

My opinion is "spatting" is a good thing. Michael Cooney knew about this and used little bells and doodads hung from the 1st strings of his 12-string to give a little buzz. Banjo is also an instrument. I have a saturation knob on my amp, the street didn't have scrambled eggs and pignoses.

To me spatting is like a little cornstarch on the floor for dancers, a tamborine on the foot and so for forth.

Mean Mary used two foot devices for her concert last night at Fiddlers Dream in Phoenix. A thick wooden plate with a pickup on it for a bass drum, and a tamborine, no toe strap, just tilted by her bare foot. Simple.

Sep 23, 2019 - 10:04:52 AM

4675 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

Very cool, Joel. Bravo!

It is a rag, because Armstrong said it was. The device is Jazzy... I like a lot of Armstrong's stuff. Reeks of the 19th cent.

Actually, they were having trouble with classifications (always a problem in music) and for some time, Jazz = ragtime. Some still think ragtime is a subset of jazz...and most early jazz was simply ragtime played too fast and loose. laugh


Oh yeah-- right over my head.  Yes, the piece was written in honor of the Jo-Jazz doohickey,

Sometimes they are more obvious in their cross marketing "Use the new Jo-Jazz attachment (pat pend) for the drum taps in this piece-- turn you banjo into a Jazz Band!.. for sale where Wm. Smith Music is sold."

Sep 23, 2019 - 10:37:45 AM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

Very cool, Joel. Bravo!

It is a rag, because Armstrong said it was. The device is Jazzy... I like a lot of Armstrong's stuff. Reeks of the 19th cent.

Actually, they were having trouble with classifications (always a problem in music) and for some time, Jazz = ragtime. Some still think ragtime is a subset of jazz...and most early jazz was simply ragtime played too fast and loose. laugh


Oh yeah-- right over my head.  Yes, the piece was written in honor of the Jo-Jazz doohickey,

Sometimes they are more obvious in their cross marketing "Use the new Jo-Jazz attachment (pat pend) for the drum taps in this piece-- turn you banjo into a Jazz Band!.. for sale where Wm. Smith Music is sold."


LOL. Back then (~1920), Jazz bands were simple and "noisy" was their forte. If you look at how they were treated in cartoons (both film and print), they were the antithesis of the "society orchestra". Vaudeville style antics, animal noises, etc., were part of the show. By the late 20s and early 30s, jazz matured into a different direction.

Record producers discovered in the 1920s that 'low-brow' sold more records than 'high-brow'. Sound effects were crude but a band that sounded like they were having fun simply sold more records. Even FVE had to run down that path with the barnyard sounds, drums, etc. The Hoosier Hot Shots were famously restricted from playing 'clean', often having their worst efforts make it to disc (and selling lots of records).

This is part and parcel of how the banjo survived the 30s and 40s. Banjo players somehow took over the comedic portion of the program. They might be brilliant virtuoso players...but the band got more gigs if they were funny too.

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