About 16 years ago, I was giving banjo lessons to a guy I worked for part-time and attended church with. He is quite wealthy and wanted to play banjo. I sold him a Kasuga masterclone, but I thought he should have a better banjo. We went to Zepp's in Wendell and bought him a used 2002 RB-3 Wreath. I did nothing more at the time than a rudimentary set up.
This past week he brought both banjos to me to be cleaned, adjusted, whatever...
The RB-3 nickel plating was mossy and corroded. With Wenol and a buffing wheel, I managed to remove the mossy film and was able to clean up the corrosion, but the plating was damaged and pitted in several places. I'm pretty sure he never wiped it down. Although the metal is now shiny, it has some discoloratiom that looks like shadows on the surface. I saw a youtube of a 2002 RB-3 that had the same type of corrosion and film There must have been some plating quality-control problems in that period.
I considered having it replated, but the cost is prohibitive. I thought about replacing the flange and tension hoop, about ½ the cost of plating. Finally, I just buffed it and put it back together with a new AMB Remo head. It had a Grover bridge which I will replace with a better bridge and add some AMB Cryo strings. The neck needs a truss-rod adjustment, as well.
This banjo was made in June 2002. It has a Kulesh ring. I am kinda surprised that the ring has some fairly large voids on the inside of the casting.
I'm glad to have this banjo back in my hands. I hope I can convince the owner to bring it back annually for a cleaning/adjustment. Living in the humid SE probably dosn't help
How'd that banjo sound when you got it back together, Bob?
I bought a "parts" banjo a few years back, had a Kulesh ring with the same casting voids up in it, like that one. Good sounding banjo after i tweaked it, however, i ended up taking it apart, kept the neck and resonator, sold the pot.
I am still working on it. It may be tomorrow before I get it back together. It has never really been set up, and as good as I recall it sounding 16 years ago, it sounded pretty weak when I got it back. I hoping I can work the magic on it.
I posted the numbers in case anybody is compiling a database of these banjos.
Edited by - beegee on 02/15/2020 12:12:35
'2004 Gibson ESS' 2 hrs
'Cold and Frosty Morn' 3 hrs