Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

527
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Dec 12, 2019 - 3:22 PM
106 posts since 7/12/2010

I just had a GREAT deal of success refitting the tone ring on a '78 RB-250 I just traded for, but I have a question for doing the same on a thin rim 250.

On the banjo I just did, the ring was sitting on the skirt rather than on the inside lip, so I cut down the bead on the rim so the tone ring would sit lower and make contact with the top of the rim. But what would I do with a thin rim? The inside lip of the ring isn't ever going to touch anything, so how *should* it sit?

I attached a crudely made diagram, the last 2 pictures are the two options I can see working, which one is best? Or is there a better way?

Thanks,
Jon


Dec 12, 2019 - 3:36:57 PM

Jbo1

USA

861 posts since 5/19/2007

I'm far from an expert on this, but would another option be to add a lip on the inside that the ring could sit on?

Dec 12, 2019 - 3:41:41 PM

106 posts since 7/12/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Jbo1

I'm far from an expert on this, but would another option be to add a lip on the inside that the ring could sit on?


I wondered about that, but it seems like it would be impossible to make that sort of piece fit well enough to avoid killing vibrations.  But likewise, not an expert here.  

Dec 12, 2019 - 3:50:34 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22721 posts since 6/25/2005

The third option is similar to the way one iteration of the B&D Silver Bell and the Ome SilverSpun rings sit. So there’s that. Those rings lack holes, though, and I presume yours has them, so the air space under the ring connects to the outside no matter wihich way you choose to fit it. You might try version 3, and if it sucks, take off more wood for a version two fit with the extra contact.

Dec 12, 2019 - 3:59:30 PM

106 posts since 7/12/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

The third option is similar to the way one iteration of the B&D Silver Bell and the Ome SilverSpun rings sit. So there’s that. Those rings lack holes, though, and I presume yours has them, so the air space under the ring connects to the outside no matter wihich way you choose to fit it. You might try version 3, and if it sucks, take off more wood for a version two fit with the extra contact.


Bill, I'm not familiar with how those particular rings fit. Where did they make contact? 

Edited by - thejd123 on 12/12/2019 16:01:33

Dec 12, 2019 - 4:36:02 PM
likes this

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22721 posts since 6/25/2005

On the outer edge, similar to your drawing. Couldn’t find great pix, but here’s a couple:

https://www.purebanjo.com/1930-bacon-day-senorita-with-rickard-silver-bell-tone-ring/

https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/products/1928-tenor--bacon-and-day-banjo-silver-bell-3-montana-special-51124

These rings have a metal rod inside, which contacts both the ring and the shell. (I think).  You’ll have to poke around to find the exact pix.  Neither site let me break them out.


 

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 12/12/2019 16:38:20

Dec 12, 2019 - 5:08:48 PM

10366 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

Your open space option is a bit like Bill Palmer's Tone Bell Tone Ring System.

I guess option 4 would be adding a ply of maple inside to bring the rim up to full thickness.

Dec 12, 2019 - 5:24:43 PM
likes this
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14828 posts since 3/27/2004

If you examine your drawings you'll see that option #2 requires you to seat the ring lower than the original height.  This changes the geometry that crates the proper break angle over the bridge and changes the height of the strings over the upper portion of the neck.

When ever you contemplate doing any major modifications you should carefully consider what other factors you may inadvertently change.

Dec 12, 2019 - 5:35:35 PM

Brett

USA

1993 posts since 11/29/2005

Buy a thin flathead ring from Arthur Hatfield or Huber or Bill blalock. They’re harder to find and cost a little more, but they have made some in the past. You might also check with Chris cioffi to see if he can locate you one.

Dec 12, 2019 - 8:31:06 PM

106 posts since 7/12/2010

So is there no "good" way to have a tone ring seated on a thin rim? The banjo I'm specifically talking about is currently set up like the diagram on the far right, but it sounds very much like my '78 did before I cut the rim to give a better fit between the lip of the ring and the top of the rim. How did Gibson usually fit the tone rings when they used thin rims for so many years?

Thanks for the advice on the thin flathead rings, I didn't know those existed. I won't be buying one right away because I'm not really planning to modify this banjo (it's not even mine, actually). I just recently had it apart and saw how the tone ring wasn't making any sort of contact where I thought it should, and I wondered how that could be fixed. I say "fixed" because this particular banjo currently sounds (and plays) like an electric banjo if that makes sense... You can't feel vibrations through the whole instrument and it has a sound that I can only describe as Bobby Thompson tone on steroids.

Dec 13, 2019 - 1:31:20 PM

12491 posts since 6/29/2005

 

The "good way" would be to laminate a wood strip inside the rim, thick enough to support the tone ring.  I think others before me have said that. Anyway, that's the way I would do it—just how far down it would go is up to you—I would go about an inch and probably rabbet the inside top of the rim where the extension gets glued just a hair to assure a strong glue joint.

 

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 12/13/2019 13:38:26

Dec 13, 2019 - 2:28:49 PM

Jbo1

USA

861 posts since 5/19/2007

Ken LeVan rabbet/hair, rabbit/hare. Love it.

Dec 13, 2019 - 4:09:13 PM

4416 posts since 11/20/2004

I don't think Gibson fitted rings to thin rims. They just set them on and whatever hung over just hung there. Adding an inner ply is the only way to get a place for the inside lip to seat. Eric Sullivan can do that for you if the rim was worth it.

Dec 13, 2019 - 5:12:23 PM

12491 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Jbo1

Ken LeVan rabbet/hair, rabbit/hare. Love it.


Great word—we call it a "rabbet", the Brits call it a "rebate"

A rabbet or rebate is a recess or groove cut into the edge of a piece of machinable material, usually wood. When viewed in cross-section, a rabbet is two-sided and open to the edge or end of the surface into which it is cut.
Dec 14, 2019 - 8:50:27 AM

106 posts since 7/12/2010

Thanks for that reply, I suppose that would be the only good way to go. The banjo wouldn't be worth that kind of work anyway, but I know for next time I come across an otherwise valuable thin rim banjo!

Dec 14, 2019 - 9:33:41 AM

10366 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by thejd123

I just had a GREAT deal of success refitting the tone ring on a '78 RB-250 I just traded for . . . the ring was sitting on the skirt rather than on the inside lip, so I cut down the bead on the rim so the tone ring would sit lower and make contact with the top of the rim.


Belated comment on this off-topic portion of your original post:

The tube-and-plate 70s RB-250s are the least respected Mastertones Gibson ever produced and are frequently criticized for problems of fit or durability (bead delamination and binding disintegration, for example).

But this is the first I've ever read of this specific problem: tone ring sitting off the rim because the tube bead was too tall.

Good that you were able to fix that. But, what if the problem was the top of the rim was too low?

How did action change after you lowered the top of the bead?  And didn't you then need to plug and redrill the lag holes?

If action and neck angle were good before, maybe an acceptable fix would have been adding some wood at the top of the rim for the ring to bear on. Even just a thin strip around the top inner edge, not the entire top surface.

Dec 14, 2019 - 2:41:28 PM

106 posts since 7/12/2010

Action didn't change enough to be noticeable, it was easy to get it set up how I wanted it when I got it all back together. I had to ream out the lag holes a little (they're slightly oblong shaped now) to get the neck to fit back on, but the banjo now plays and sounds fantastic, a complete 180 from before. 

I actually had never considered adding more wood to the top of the rim, I just assumed that would've been difficult to do without creating a barrier for vibrations and killing tone. Maybe next time I'd try that first, then shave it back off and do what I did if it didn't work. But in the end, what I did worked great.

Dec 14, 2019 - 2:46:01 PM

106 posts since 7/12/2010

Also keep in mind that when I say the ring wasn't making contact with the top of the rim, it was only 1/16-1/8" off. Lowering the tone ring by that much isn't something that you aren't going to be able to counteract with a regular old setup, maybe a taller bridge, etc.

Dec 14, 2019 - 4:55:37 PM

10366 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by thejd123

Also keep in mind that when I say the ring wasn't making contact with the top of the rim, it was only 1/16-1/8" off. Lowering the tone ring by that much isn't something that you aren't going to be able to counteract with a regular old setup, maybe a taller bridge, etc.


This may be true, but it's also true that a change of 1/16 to 1/8 inch in the relationship of the head to the fretboard is huge and Gibson banjos shipped from the factory capable of providing playable action with a 5/8-inch bridge. Of course many players prefer taller or shorter bridges and many banjos need a bridge other than 5/8 (or maybe a shim) to deliver even a typical action of 1/8-inch at 12 or 22. 

Adding wood to the top of the rim for the ring to bear on would not have killed any vibrations. It would have been the setup that exists on nearly all banjos with flathead tone rings: firm seating of the ring's inner bottom edge on the top of the rim. 

Anyway, something was definitely wrong with your banjo and it's great that you got it fixed in a way that you can play it.

Dec 16, 2019 - 7:15:59 AM
likes this

10207 posts since 7/4/2004

When Gibson first came out with the brown thin-rimmed Bowties, they had a ring that was made specifically for the rim. The inside bottom of the ring tucked in on itself, so it actually made contact with the top inside of the rim.

Dec 16, 2019 - 7:33:17 AM
likes this

12491 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by El Dobro

When Gibson first came out with the brown thin-rimmed Bowties, they had a ring that was made specifically for the rim. The inside bottom of the ring tucked in on itself, so it actually made contact with the top inside of the rim.


That makes perfectly good sense, and frankly, I'm surprised someone else hasn't done that.

Dec 16, 2019 - 9:17:58 AM
likes this

10207 posts since 7/4/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by El Dobro

When Gibson first came out with the brown thin-rimmed Bowties, they had a ring that was made specifically for the rim. The inside bottom of the ring tucked in on itself, so it actually made contact with the top inside of the rim.


That makes perfectly good sense, and frankly, I'm surprised someone else hasn't done that.


What got me was that it seems when Gibson started painting the thin rims black, the special ring disappeared and they started using standard rings again and they just hung over the rim.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.25